Programs legislation and framework

Find out about the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and how it protects threatened species in NSW.

The key piece of legislation that identifies and protects threatened species, populations and ecological communities in NSW is the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act).The TSC Act also identifies habitat critical to their survival.

The Office of Environment and Heritage administers the TSC Act.

The Department of Primary Industries is responsible for protecting threatened fish and marine vegetation.

Other relevant legislation

The TSC Act is one of several laws that aim to conserve biodiversity and promote ecologically sustainable development.

These include:

The Act aims to:

  • conserve biological diversity and promote ecologically sustainable development
  • prevent the extinction and promote the recovery of threatened species, populations and ecological communities
  • protect habitat critical to the survival of endangered species, populations and ecological communities
  • eliminate or manage certain key threatening processes that threaten the survival or evolution of threatened species, populations and ecological communities
  • ensure the impact of any action affecting threatened species, populations and ecological communities is properly assessed
  • encourage the conservation of threatened species, populations and ecological communities through cooperative management.

Consultation and cooperation with landholders, conservation groups, agencies, local councils and the community are essential for threatened species to recover. Provisions for consultation and cooperation are therefore key elements of the Act.

The Act provides for:

  • broad protection of threatened species and their habitats by listing every threatened animal, plant, invertebrate, population and ecological community
  • a strong commitment to the recovery of specific species and reduction of threats to those species
  • a market-based mechanism that encourages private sector involvement in conservation and offsets the impact of development
  • awareness and consideration of biodiversity in the early planning stages of land-use and combining this with processes that limit the impact of development on biodiversity
  • licensing and enforcement of threatened species protection.

The Act, through Part 8A of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 prohibits the harming, picking, possessing, buying or selling of threatened species.

The Act prohibits damage to the habitat of threatened species and protects endangered populations and threatened ecological communities.

The Act recognises that habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are the most significant causes of species loss and that protecting the habitat of threatened species is fundamental to their conservation.

The Act identifies habitat that is critical to the survival of an endangered species, population or ecological community (critical habitat).

Find out more about protecting critical habitat.

An environmental impact assessment may be needed for a proposed development or activity before development consent is granted under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The assessment considers whether a development is likely to have a significant effect on threatened species, populations or ecological communities, or their habitats.

If a significant impact is likely, a more detailed species impact statement may be required, as outlined in Division 2 of the TSC Act.

Find out more about assessing the significance of impacts.

If a project is authorised under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, a separate licence under the TSC Act is not required.