New native vegetation codes refined and released

Environment Minister Rob Stokes today released three self-assessable native vegetation codes which place trust in landholders to manage their land sustainably while protecting the environment.

Trees, cattle, farmland in Kangaroo Valley

Mr Stokes said the NSW Government is continuing to reform native vegetation management and these codes are an important part of that process.

“The codes will help to make life easier for farmers to produce the food and fibre the state relies upon, and at the same time include environmental protections,” Mr Stokes said.

“After an extensive process which included public exhibition, careful consideration of submissions, and expert advice, I am satisfied in making these codes under the Native Vegetation Act and the Threatened Species Conservation Act.”

The three new self-assessable codes, which been tested on ground with rural landholders, are:

  • Invasive native scrub – this code relates to native plants that have regenerated thickly or invaded vegetation communities where they did not previously occur. The code allows for management of these species by clearing of dense infestations, including by using heavy earth moving equipment. The goal is to create a ‘mosaic’ of native vegetation and allow the regeneration of a range of native plants, including native pastures.
  • Isolated paddock trees in cropped areas – this code allows a paddock tree (or a group of three paddock trees) in a cropped area that is smaller than 80 centimetres in diameter and further than 50 metres away from another tree to be removed without any approval being required.
  • Thinning of native vegetation – this code allows for the removal of trees and shrubs of thick native vegetation. A number of trees and shrubs are protected as part of the process. Thinning may also encourage native pasture and allow for stock to be grazed.

Minister for Natural Resources, Land and Water Kevin Humphries said the codes will cut red tape for farmers and allow landholders to get on with managing their farms without the need to wait for government assessment and approval.

“These codes are a vital step in the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to deliver a sensible set of changes that strike the right balance between conservation and efficient agricultural management,” Mr Humphries said.

“They are an important interim step that will deliver improved outcomes for landholders in the short-term while the NSW Government continues to move towards substantial and long-term reform through its review of the biodiversity legislation.

“The codes will be accompanied by online tools that step landholders through the process of determining if, and how, they can use the codes on their properties.

“If landholders are in any doubt about the operation of the codes and the management of native vegetation on their property then LLS staff will still be there to help.

“Landholders who wish to undertake clearing that is not permitted under the codes will still have the option of applying to the LLS for a property vegetation plan.”

The codes, report on submissions and submissions are available on the OEH website at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/vegetation/.