Act summaries

Acts Administered by the Office of Environment and Heritage

Other Acts Administered by the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Heritage

Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area Act 2005

Full Text

This Act transfers forested land in the Brigalow and Nandewar area to the national park estate in order to create a Community Conservation Area. The purpose of the Community Conservation Area is to reserve land for permanent conservation of land, protection of areas of natural and cultural heritage significance to Aboriginal people, sustainable forestry and mining and other appropriate uses. This Act gives local communities a strong involvement in the management of the Community Conservation Area through the establishment of a Community Conservation Council.

Find out more about the Brigalow Nandewar Community Conservation Area Agreement made under the Act.

Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust Act 1983

Full Text

This Act makes provisions to constitute the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust and define its functions. The Act vests certain land and other property in that Trust.

Coastal Protection Act 1979

Full Text

This Act makes provisions relating to the use and occupation of the coastal region in order to preserve and protect these areas whilst encouraging sustainable use of the areas. The Act also facilitates the carrying out of certain coastal protection works. The Act also establishes the NSW Coastal Panel to advise the Minister and local councils and exercise functions conferred on it by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Energy and Utilities Administration Act 1987 

Full Text

Note: OEH only administers Part 6A of this Act, section 40(1A) of the Act, and section 45 in so far as it relates to Part 6A.

Part 6A establishes the Climate Change Fund which is used to promote water and energy savings and reduce the impact of climate change associated with water and energy activities. This Part also requires the development of energy savings action plans by State agencies and water savings action plans by all local governments in the Sydney Water Corporation operation area and by the local governments of Gosford and Wyong.

Environmental Trust Act 1998

Full Text l More about Trust grants

This Act sets up the Environmental Trust with the objects of:

  • Encouraging and supporting restoration and rehabilitation projects in the public and private sectors which will, or are likely to, reduce pollution, the waste-stream or environmental degradation; Promoting research into environmental problems in both the public and private sectors;
  • Promoting environmental education projects in the public and private sectors, and public awareness of environmental issues;
  • Funding the acquisition of land for the national parks estate and other categories of dedicated and reserved land;
  • Funding the declaration of areas for marine parks and related purposes;
  • Promoting waste-avoidance, resource recovery and waste management;
  • Funding environmental community groups;
  • Funding the purchase of water entitlements for the purpose of increasing environmental flows for the State’s rivers and restoring or rehabilitating major wetlands.

The Trust may make grants to any person, including to any individual, corporation or organisation. Each financial year a grants program is published in a newspaper circulated state-wide detailing the priorities of funding for projects and the amounts available for different program areas and individual grants.

The Trust must make grants up to an annual total minimum amount in the areas of restoration and rehabilitation ($1 million), research ($500,000) and environmental education ($500,000). The Trust may also expend an annual maximum of $500,000 on emergency pollution clean-up costs and clean-up costs of abandoned or 'orphan' waste materials.

Filming Approval Act 2004

Full Text

This Act enables approvals to be granted to carry out filming in national parks, marine parks and other areas regulated under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Marine Parks Act 1997, provided certain criteria are met. The granting of such approval is limited in respect of wilderness areas to filming for educational, research or tourism purposes.

Forestry Restructuring and Nature Conservation Act 1995

Full Text

This Act provides for the expenditure of funds from the Environmental Trust on forestry industry restructuring and assistance schemes in the Brigalow and Nandewar area as well as the Riverina area. The total payment amount from the Trust made in respect of the Riverina area is limited to $45.813 million and no payments may be made after 30 June 2015.

Forestry Revocation and National Parks Reservation Act 1996

Full Text

This Act makes changes to the national parks estate including:

  • Revocation of the dedication of certain land as flora reserves (within State forests) and as State forest;
  • Reservation or dedication of that land to create nine national parks (including South East Forest National Park and Chaelundi National Park), one nature reserve and to make additions to 15 existing national parks;
  • Revocation of certain land as national park, and re-reservation as other national park;
  • Alteration of names of certain national parks.

The Act also excludes certain land and access roads from reservation as national parks estate but vests the land in the Minister on behalf of the Crown for the purposes of Part 11 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Forestry Revocation and National Parks Reservation Act 1984

Full Text

This Act revokes certain dedications of State forests and part of a timber reserve and reserves or dedicates these lands, and certain other Crown lands as:

  • Additions to four existing national parks (including Werrikimbe National Park and Barrington Tops National Park);
  • Addition to one existing nature reserve (Mount Seaview Nature Reserve) and one new nature reserve.

Forestry Revocation and National Parks Reservation Act 1983

Full Text

This Act revokes certain dedications of State forests, parts of State forests (including part of a national forest) and the status of certain lands as flora reserves, and reserves these lands as national parks (including Washpool National Park) or parts of national parks. 

Heritage Act 1977

Full Text l More about heritage

This Act makes provisions to conserve the State’s environmental heritage. It provides for the identification and registration of items of State heritage significance, provides for the interim protection of items of State heritage significance, constitutes the Heritage Council of New South Wales and confers on it functions relating to the State's heritage.

Historic Houses Act 1980

Full Text

This Act provides for the care, control and management of certain historic buildings and places of  historic importance. It constitutes the Historic Houses Trust, whose primary object is to control, manage, maintain and conserve historic buildings or places, having regard to the historic, social and architectural interest and significance of those buildings and places.

Lane Cove National Park (Sugarloaf Point Additions) Act 1996,

Full Text

This Act reserves the land known as Sugarloaf Point and certain other land as part of the Lane Cove National Park. 

Local Government Act 1993

Full Text

 

Note: OEH only administers Part 2A of Chapter 6 of the Act.

Part 2A of Chapter 6 of this Act allows councils to enter into environmental upgrade agreements with owners of certain buildings and finance providers as a way of funding works to improve the energy, water or environmental efficiency of those buildings. The Act also makes provision for the Minister to prepare, adopt or vary guidelines relating to environmental upgrade agreements and the functions of councils under the Act, with the concurrence of the Minister for Local Government

Marine Estates Management Act 2014

Full Text

Note: This Act is jointly administered by the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries.

This Act provides for the protection and management of the marine estate. The Act allows the Governor to declare marine parks which can include the sea and tidal waters and land adjacent to, or periodically covered by, such waters. Declaration of a marine park cannot be revoked, except by an Act of Parliament. The Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries may also declare areas to be aquatic reserves by notice to be published in the Gazette. 

Once a marine park or an aquatic reserve has been declared, the Act establishes that various activities occurring within or affecting the park or reserve are to be regulated or prohibited. The Act has an effect on aquaculture, mining and development under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in marine parks and aquatic reserves.

The Act provides for the creation of a Marine Estate Management Authority to undertake assessments of threats and risks to the marine estate, to prepare the marine estate management strategy and to advise the relevant Ministers on the management of the marine estate. The Act also establishes the Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel to provide advice to the Authority on any matter referred to it by the Authority.

National Park Estate (Land Transfers) Act 1998

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests and other Crown land as part of the national park estate;
  • the setting apart of certain land within State forests as flora reserves;
  • the dedication of certain former State forest as Crown reserves;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the transfer of certain lands to the relevant Aboriginal Land Council.

The Act was formerly known as the Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998.

National Park Estate (Lower Hunter Region Reservations) Act 2006

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests and other Crown land as part of the national park estate;
  • the setting apart of certain land within State forests as flora reserves;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the reallocation of land already within the national park estate between parks and reserves.

National Park Estate (Reservations) Act 2002

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests, other Crown land and freehold land as part of the national park estate;
  • the declaration of certain areas of State forests as special management zones;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the transfer of certain lands to the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council;
  • the revocation of certain flora reserves.

The Act creates 52 new national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas and adds to 41 existing parks and reserves.

National Park Estate (Reservations) Act 2003

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests as part of the national park estate;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the declaration of certain areas of State forests as special management zones;

National Park Estate (Reservations) Act 2005

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests and other Crown land as part of the national park estate;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the application of the Crown Lands Act 1989 to certain former State forests;
  • the declaration of certain areas of State forests as special management zones.

National Park Estate (Riverina Red Gum Reservations) Act 2010

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests, other Crown land and Forestry Commission controlled land as part of the national park estate;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the application of the Crown Lands Act 1989 to certain former State forests;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests for the purpose of transferring those lands to Aboriginal ownership;
  • the reallocation of land already within the national park estate between parks and reserves including the renaming of lands;
  • the continuation of forestry operations on land that remains State forest and is not transferred to the national park estate or otherwise vested in the Minister.

National Park Estate (South-Western Cypress Reservations) Act 2010

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests, other Crown land and Joulni Station as part of the national park estate;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the application of the Crown Lands Act 1989 to certain former State forests;
  • the revocation of the reservation of land and its vesting in the Crown under the Crown Lands Act 1989;
  • the declaration of certain areas of State forests as special management zones;
  • the conduct of a joint review of certain lands in order to determine which classification of lands under the national park estate they should be added to;
  • the future transfer of lands that are subject to a pending land claim if that claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 is successful;
  • the continuation of forestry operations on land that remains State forest and is not transferred to the national park estate or otherwise vested in the Minister.

National Park Estate (Southern Region Reservations) Act 2000

Full Text

This Act provides for:

  • the reservation of certain State forests and other Crown land as part of the national park estate;
  • the setting apart of certain areas of State forests as flora reserves;
  • the dedication of former State forests as Crown reserves;
  • the vesting of certain lands in the Minister subject to certain existing interests;
  • the reallocation of land already within the national park estate between parks and reserves including the renaming of lands;

The Act has the effect of creating a continuous corridor of some 350 kilometres of reserve from Nowra to the Victorian border.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974

Full Text

The Act is a broad piece of legislation that covers a number of different areas including reserving lands, managing certain reserved lands, the protection of Aboriginal objects and places, the protection of fauna and the protection of native vegetation.

Reserved lands

The Act allows for the reservation of different types of land being:

  • National parks;
  • Historic sites;
  • State conservation areas;
  • Regional parks;
  • Karst conservation areas;
  • Nature reserves;
  • Aboriginal areas.

Each of the different types of reserved land must be governed according to a set of management principles in the Act. The Chief Executive of the OEH has responsibility for the care, control and management of all national parks and historic sites, unless there is a board of management for the park or site. The Chief Executive of the OEH is responsible for ensuring that all reserved lands under the Chief Executive’s care, control and management are covered by a Plan of Management as soon as practicable following reservation.

The Act makes special provision relating to the reservation, lease and management of Aboriginal lands and lands subject to native title claims.

Management of national parks

The purpose of reserving land as a national park is to identify, protect and conserve areas containing outstanding or representative ecosystems, natural or cultural features or landscapes or phenomena that provide opportunities for public appreciation and inspiration and sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment. A national park must be managed in accordance with the following principles:

  • the conservation of biodiversity, the maintenance of ecosystem function, the protection of geological and geomorphological features and natural phenomena and the maintenance of natural landscapes;
  • the conservation of places, objects, features and landscapes of cultural value;
  • the protection of the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations;
  • the promotion of public appreciation and understanding of the national park’s natural and cultural values;
  • provision for sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment that is compatible with the conservation of the national park’s natural and cultural values;
  • provision for the sustainable use (including adaptive reuse) of any buildings or structures or modified natural areas having regard to the conservation of the national park’s natural and cultural values;
  • provision for the carrying out of development in any part of a special area (within the meaning of the Hunter Water Act 1991) in the national park that is permitted under section 185A having regard to the conservation of the national park’s natural and cultural values;
  • provision for appropriate research and monitoring.

Find out more about park management.

Aboriginal objects and Aboriginal places

The Act also provides for the conservation of objects, places and features that are of significance to Aboriginal people. The Chief Executive of the OEH is the authority responsible for the protection of all Aboriginal objects and places in NSW, whether they are on national park estate or not.

The Act makes it an offence to harm or desecrate an Aboriginal object or place. The Chief Executive of the OEH can however issue an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP) that provides a defence to offences under the Act and allows the holder to harm an Aboriginal object or place in accordance with the conditions of the AHIP.

Find out more about Aboriginal objects, Aboriginal places or AHIPs.

Fauna

The Chief Executive of the OEH is the authority responsible for the protection and care of fauna. Under the Act it is an offence to harm protected fauna. It is also an offence to harm threatened interstate fauna. In addition, the Act regulates the trade – including buying, selling, possession, import and export – of protected fauna. Protected fauna includes all fauna other than locally unprotected fauna, interstate threatened species, endangered populations, or endangered ecological communities. Unprotected fauna and threatened interstate fauna are specified in schedules to the Act.

The Act allows for the issuing of licences to authorise a number of different activities relating to fauna. The holding of a valid licence and complying with the conditions of such a licence is a defence to prosecution under the Act.

Find out more about native animals, protected species or wildlife licences.

Native plants

The Chief Executive of the OEH is the authority responsible for the protection of native plants. It is an offence to pick or possess a protected native plant and it is also an offence to sell a protected native plant. A protected native plant is a plant listed in a schedule to the Act.

The Act allows for the issuing of licences to authorise a number of different activities relating to native plants. The holding of a valid licence and complying with the conditions of such a licence is a defence to prosecution under the Act.

Threatened species, endangered populations and endangered ecological communities

The Act creates offences relating to those species, populations and endangered ecological communities created under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Under the Act it is an offence to harm or pick a threatened species, endangered population or endangered ecological community. It is an offence to buy, possess or sell a threatened species or endangered population. It is also an offence to damage critical habitat or habitat of a threatened species, endangered population or endangered ecological community.

Licenses and certificates relating to threatened species, endangered populations and endangered ecological communities are administered under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

Find out more about threatened species and critical habitats.

Leasing and licensing under the Act

 The Act regulates the entering into of leases and licences over reserved lands, including any new or existing buildings or structures. With the exception of nature reserves, the purposes for which a lease or licence may be granted are set out in s.151A. Before granting a lease or licence, the Minister must be satisfied of certain matters set out in the Act, and includes: the compatibility of the proposal with natural and cultural values; the sustainable and efficient use of natural resources, energy and water; and the appropriate form and scale of any new buildings or structures, or modifications to existing facilities; and the sustainability assessment criteria adopted by the Chief Executive.  In addition, easements, rights of way and licences can be granted for public infrastructure purposes such as pipelines, electricity transmission and telecommunications.

National Parks and Wildlife (Adjustment of Areas) Act 2005

Full Text

This Act revokes reservation of certain land as national park or nature reserve and vests the land in the Minister administering the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 or the Crown. The Minister is not to transfer certain areas of the lands for certain purposes unless the Minister has made arrangements for transfer of other land into the national parks estate as compensation for loss of land formerly reserved. The areas of land are revoked from:

  • South East Forest National Park to correct error made in gazettal of roads used for commercial logging;
  • Botany Bay National Park to correct boundary error and access issues related to the neighbouring golf club;
  • Kosciuszko National Park to remove developments managed by Snowy Hydro Ltd;
  • Lake Innes Nature Reserve for the construction of a ring road.

National Trust of Australia (New South Wales) Act 1990

Full Text

This Act makes provisions with respect to the constitution, objects and functions of the National Trust of Australia.

The principal objects of the Trust are to acquire, control, maintain, protect, and preserve for the benefit of the public generally land, buildings, works, structures, and articles of beauty or of national, historical, antiquarian, scientific, artistic, architectural, or cultural interest (including Aboriginal relics, Aboriginal rock carvings, and Aboriginal rock paintings and archaeological sites), and to protect and preserve the natural features of, and to conserve the flora and fauna on, any land acquired by or under control of the Trust.

Native Vegetation Act 2003

Full Text | More about native vegetation

This Act regulates the clearing of native vegetation on all land in NSW, except for excluded land listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. The Act outlines what landowners can and cannot do in clearing native vegetation.

Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001

Full Text

This Act establishes the Nature Conservation Trust, a non-government body corporate that facilitates the conservation of natural heritage on private land through the negotiation and administration of Trust agreements.

Trust agreements are made under Part 3 of the Act and are entered into between the Nature Conservation Trust and landholders for the purpose of managing the land the subject of the agreement so as to protect natural heritage. A trust agreement may be registered and if registered, binds the landowner's successors.

The Act also provides that the Nature Conservation Trust is to operate a Revolving Fund Scheme under which the Nature Conservation Trust may buy or acquire land that is significant for the conservation of natural heritage, arrange for a covenant to be registered on the title to the land to protect that heritage, sell or lease the land subject to the covenant and use the proceeds for the further purchase of land that is significant for the conservation of natural heritage.

Parramatta Park (Old Government House) Act 1967

Full Text

This Act withdraws from Parramatta Park an area of land (being the site of the old Government House) to provide for the care, control and management of that land and appoints the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales) as the land's trustee.

Parramatta Park Trust Act 2001

Full Text

This Act constitutes the Parramatta Park Trust, defines its functions and vests certain lands at Parramatta in the Trust.

Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Act 1980

Full text

This Act constitutes the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and defines its powers, authorities, duties and functions and vests certain land in the Trust, referred to as Trust lands. Trust lands consist of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Domain and the Mt Tomah Annexe to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Trust has various powers and functions in relation to Trust lands, including the power to grant licenses, leases and easements in certain circumstances and the power to accept a lease or licence relating to certain land.

Soil Conservation Act 1938

Full Text

Note: Parts 2A, 3 and 4, and sections 15 and 30A in so far as they relate those Parts are jointly administered by  the Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, the Minister for Primary Industries, the Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water and the Minister for the Environment.

Parts 2A, 3 and 4of the Act provide for the management of land degradation and erosion, the management of areas of erosion hazard and management of the impact of erosion on waterways. Top of page

Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995

Full Text | More about threatened species

This is an Act to provide for the conservation of threatened species, populations and ecological communities of animals and plants (although the Act does not generally apply to fish). The Act sets out a number of specific objects relating to the conservation of biological diversity and the promotion of ecologically sustainable development.

The Act sets up a Scientific Committee, whose functions include:

  • identifying and classifying (as endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable) the species, populations and ecological communities with which it is concerned, and

  • identifying key threatening processes that may threaten the survival of those species, populations and ecological communities.

Identified species, populations, ecological communities and key threatening processes are listed in the Schedules to the Act. Provision is made for the preparation of recovery plans for listed threatened species, populations and ecological communities and threat abatement plans to manage key threatening processes.

The Act also provides for the declaration and mapping of habitats that are critical to the survival of those identified threatened species, populations and ecological communities that are classified as endangered (critical habitats).

Offences for breaches of this Act (for example, the harming of threatened species, populations or ecological communities (being animals); the picking of threatened species, populations and ecological communities (being plants); damaging critical habitat etc.) are contained in the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Biodiversity Certification

Part 7AA of the Act establishes a system for biodiversity certification. Biodiversity certification involves an assessment of the biodiversity values of land so that areas that are of high conservation value and areas appropriate for development can be identified and remove the need for site-by-site threatened species assessment.

For more information see:

Biodiversity Banking and Offsets

Part 7A of the Act establishes the Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme. The Scheme enables:

  • establishment of biodiversity banking sites;
  • creation of biodiversity credits;
  • trading of biodiversity credits; and
  • use of credits to offset development otherwise impacting on biodiversity values.

For more information see:

Western Sydney Parklands Act 2006

Full Text

This Act establishes the Western Sydney Parklands and constitutes the Western Sydney Parklands Trust with functions in relation to the management of the Parklands. It also provides for the addition of land to the Parklands and for the management of the Parklands.

Wilderness Act 1987

Full Text

Under the Wilderness Act, the OEH is responsible for the investigation, protection and management of wilderness in NSW. 

Zoological Parks Board Act 1973

Full Text

This Act constitutes the Zoological Parks Board of New South Wales and confers and imposes on that board powers, authorities, duties and functions relating to the establishment, maintenance and control of zoological parks.

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Page last updated: 11 December 2015