Frequently asked questions
Do you have a question about the review of the Native Vegetation Regulation or its related supporting documents? Chances are we have the answer waiting for you here …
The NSW Government is reviewing the Regulation with an aim to reduce the regulatory burden and deliver improved services to the farming community, while maintaining the protection of the natural resources and environment upon which sustainable agriculture and forestry are based.
The review is examining the Native Vegetation Regulation 2005, the Environmental Outcomes Assessment Methodology (EOAM) and the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice (PNF Code).
The review is focussed on:
empowering the farming community to protect the environment and manage farms sustainably
cutting red tape
improving service delivery
clarifying and removing ambiguity
maintaining the environmental standard set by the Native Vegetation Act 2003.
Why are you only reviewing the Regulation and not the entire Native Vegetation Act?
Getting the regulations right is the logical first step towards ensuring that we have the best system in place.
The review will be open to feedback on all areas for improvement in the regulation of native vegetation management. Feedback that goes beyond the Regulation will be collated and presented to government.
All submissions made during the public exhibition period have been published on the OEH web site, where permission was granted.
A series of over forty consultation sessions were held throughout NSW during the public exhibition period to explain the proposed changes and provide an opportunity for the community to give feedback. More than 1,200 people attended the sessions. Details of the public information sessions including the comments made by attendees can be found here.
A native vegetation survey was conducted to give the public an alternative way of providing input to the review. The survey asked questions aimed at gathering opinions of, and experiences with, the way the Government regulates native vegetation.
Over 400 people completed the survey, which was open from 10 November 2011 to 30 March 2012. The results of the survey were analysed by an independent expert and will be used to inform the review of the Native Vegetation Regulation. The results of the survey can be found in the survey analysis report.
The draft Regulation increases the range of activities that farmers can undertake without needing approval from the local CMA. For more information see fact sheet 3 and fact sheet 4.
A faster assessment process has also been proposed for some common types of clearing proposals, such as clearing individual paddock trees, allowing CMAs to make a decision on the proposal more quickly. For more information see fact sheet 5.
These changes will mean CMA staff will spend less time assessing clearing proposals, which will give them more time to provide landholders with the information and support they need.
The Government is committed to a credible, fair and balanced compliance approach that lets landholders get on with the business of managing their land while protecting the natural resources and environment upon which sustainable agriculture and forestry are based.
The focus of the new approach is on equipping farmers to work within the rules. Occasionally, farmers make honest mistakes. In such cases, the emphasis is placed on working with the farmer to ensure that their legislative responsibilities are understood and any environmental harm mitigated. For those few who deliberately and or repeatedly act outside the law and cause significant harm, we will use the law in a sensible way to protect and restore the environment and the natural resources that underpin agricultural production. For more information, see fact sheet 6.
‘Broadscale clearing’, ‘groundcover’ and ‘regrowth’, including regrowth dates, are defined in the Native Vegetation Act. These definitions are therefore outside of the scope of this review of the Native Vegetation Regulation.
However, the review will be open to feedback on all areas for improvement in the regulation of native vegetation management. Feedback that goes beyond the Regulation will be collated and presented to government.
The EOAM sets out an objective and repeatable scientific method to assess the environmental impact of clearing proposals. It is used by CMAs to:
calculate the impact of a clearing proposal on salinity, land degradation, water quality and habitat for native plants and animals
calculate the offsets required to compensate for the impact of clearing (an offset involves undertaking agreed management actions on an area of land) and
determine if a clearing proposal will improve or maintain environmental outcomes (if a clearing proposal does not meet this standard it cannot be approved).
If you would like to know more about the current EOAM and how it works contact your local CMA.
For more information on proposed changes to the EOAM, see fact sheet 5.
The proposed EOAM uses new science in a number of chapters. This has required some chapters to be substantially rewritten and new ones added. The EOAM has also been restructured into a more logical order. The new order better represents the flow of an assessment, making it easier to follow.
For more information see fact sheet 5.
No. The proposed Regulation package, including the EOAM, meets the existing standard of improving or maintaining environmental outcomes.
Information on the review of the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice is available here.
The Regulation recognises that native vegetation provides a range of social and economic benefits for farmers and the wider population. These benefits include clean air, clean water, healthy soils and productive land. Protecting native vegetation through the Native Vegetation Act and the Regulation ensures these benefits are available for both current and future generations.
The Regulation also recognises the social and economic benefits of farming activity. The Regulation seeks to allow farming activity to continue without unnecessary restrictions. To this end, the Regulation identifies a range of activities which can be done without approval under the Native Vegetation Act. The draft Regulation adds additional activities to this list. For more information see fact sheet 3 and fact sheet 4.
The new Regulation will be made by 1 September but there are a number of matters that need to be finalised before all changes become fully operational. Implementation of the new Regulation will take place in stages, with stages 1 and 2 forming the bulk of the regulatory changes.
Stage 1: This stage involves making the Regulation.
This will be completed by 1 September 2013. A number of existing and new provisions, including new exemptions for local councils, dwellings and telecommunication facilities, will come into effect as the new Regulation is made.
Stage 2: This stage involves making the self-assessable codes. The codes will take the legal form of orders made by the Minister for the Environment and will take effect in the first quarter of 2014, following public exhibition.
Priority is being given to making codes for managing invasive native species, clearing isolated paddock trees, thinning native vegetation, managing feral native species (including certain grassland species), environmental works for revegetation activities, and soil conservation works in western NSW. These changes will mean that landholders will be able to undertake these activities without the need for approval as long as they comply by a code. Landholders will need to give their local catchment management authority notification before commencing any clearing under a code but this requirement will be designed to be simple and not onerous.
Stage 3: This stage involves making the revised EOAM.
This final stage will implement Mr Lane’s recommendation to create faster and simpler assessment of property vegetation plans, as well as improve a number of other aspects of the PVP clearing assessment system including the adoption of:
The revised EOAM will take effect by mid 2014, following public exhibition of the draft EOAM. The current EOAM will continue to have effect until the new arrangements are in place.
Page last updated: 14 June 2013