How the new PADACS program and assessment tools operate
The new PADACS (PVPs, agreements, data and customer service) uses a customer relationship management software tool called IRIS (Integrated Resource Information System) to capture information relating to either PVPs (property vegetation plans) or DAs (development applications).
The new native vegetation assessment tools are web-based, decision support programs. They help Local Land Services(LLS) deliver incentive payments to landholders to conserve and enhance native vegetation on their properties and to assess whether clearing proposals meet the requirements of the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (the Act). The tools are run to determine what impact the clearing or conservation will have on biodiversity (including threatened species) and soils. They weigh up the positive and negative impacts of different management actions that the landholder can apply (such as strategic grazing, retaining dead timber etc), and help the LLS staff to make a decision based on the best scientific information and satellite imagery available. LLSs are able to apply their own discretion to make minor variations or override the NVAT tools where they have more detailed local data or expert advice.
- Biodiversity - the biodiversity assessment comprises of two tools being the BioMetric and the Threatened Species tools. BioMetric measures the impact (either positive or negative) that clearing or conservation will have to an area of land. In most circumstances it allows for offsets to balance the negative impacts of clearing. However, in some instances, if the vegetation type is extremely overcleared, or is of a very high importance then no offset could replace the loss and therefore the clearing would not be approved as it would be deemed not to improve or maintain environmental outcomes. The Threatened Species Tool allows for clearing where offsets would improve the habitat of specific threatened species to at least the same extent as the habitat values lost through the proposed clearing. The assessment does not allow clearing where impacts are unsustainable for a local population of a threatened species.
- Soils - the land and soils capability (LSC) tool uses information on slope, soil characteristics, drainage and landform to determine if the proposal is on sensitive terrain (sensitive terrain includes sand dunes, water and wind erosion, mass movement such as landslides, acid sulphate soils, shallow soils, rockiness, and soil structural issues). Based on this information, the LSC tool calculates a hazard risk number, and this number determines if the clearing will maintain or improve environmental outcomes, and therefore whether it will be approved.
An LLS office may also develop a policy to allow minor clearing that will improve the quality of native vegetation in the long term. Proposals under this sort of policy would not have to be assessed using NVAT, but a PVP would still be required. Policies must first be exhibited for public comment and approved by the Minister under clause 20 of the Native Vegetation Regulation 2013.
The area to be assessed is mapped using an ArcGIS tool called LMDB (Land Management Database).
This system of native vegetation management for NSW has been developed to accommodate changes to the rules as new or better information becomes available, and will continue to be refined as scientific knowledge improves.
If an LLS, a landholder or a community group have new information they believe should result in a change to NVAT, they can make a submission to OEH. The independent Natural Resources Commission evaluate submissions and make a recommendation to the Government.
Page last updated: 01 December 2015