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Industry voluntary conservation

National parks and reserves in New South Wales comprise more than eight per cent of the state's total land area. This means a large proportion of native wildlife and biodiversity, and places of cultural heritage significance, is on private and other public lands.

Industry landholders who manage land primarily for uses such as mining, utilities or agricultural production can play an important role in protecting and conserving Australia's unique natural and cultural heritage as part of managing a sustainable business.

The NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) forms long term partnerships with landholders through voluntary establishment of Conservation Agreements and Wildlife Refuges under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

The DECC Conservation Partners Program encourages and assists these landholders to protect and conserve native vegetation, wildlife habitat, geological features, Aboriginal cultural sites and places of cultural significance on their land.

What sort of land

Land which has native vegetation, wildlife habitats or cultural heritage with linkages to other natural areas is ideal for protection under these commitments.

Such land can be all or part of a larger property and could include:

  • Buffer areas of bushland which are required in order to protect neighbouring properties from dust, noise and other effects of activities
  • Areas of previous activity which have been restored to a standard where habitat and wildlife corridors are provided
  • Areas where activities such as underground mining, or installation of powerlines allow some of the conservation values found on the land to be retained.

Benefits for industry

Industries are increasingly dependent on biodiversity to ensure a sustainable future. Biodiversity conservation is essential for healthy, functioning ecosystems which provide valuable products and services for industry.

Forming voluntary conservation partnerships reflect growing interest and commitment in managing sustainable industries. Increasingly, businesses seek to demonstrate corporate environmental, social and economic responsibility.

The formal nature of commitments through conservation agreements and wildlife refuges provide a tangible and straightforward way to report against identified biodiversity, and flora and fauna management performance indicators used in:

  • Triple Bottom Line reporting
  • Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
  • ISO1400 -International Standards for Environmental Management
  • Ecolabelling or Certification
  • Investor indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index or the Australian SAM Sustainability Index (AuSSI).
The commitment of land for conservation provides opportunities to:
  • implement a 'beyond compliance' approach to environmental management
  • protect and conserve land which could be considered for future 'offsets'
  • demonstrate environmental stewardship which can contribute to product identity, market access or sales
  • provide opportunities for employees and communities to be involved in conservation works.
Community acceptance of an industry in the local area is vital. Credibility is increased by formal commitments for long term outcomes. Protecting land with high conservation values for the benefit of current and future generations provides a tangible way of demonstrating commitment to the community.

Print this and more information

For more detailed information

  • The booklet Conservation Partnerships - a guide for industry provides detailed information on Conservagtion Agreements and Wildlife Refuges. Download the handbook (PDF - 1.18MB)

Further information

The format and structure of this publication may have been adapted for web delivery.

Page last updated: 08 March 2011