NSW Land Clearing data released

The latest data from the Department of Planning and Environment shows more than 379,000 hectares of native vegetation was cleared in the years following the previous government's biodiversity policy changes. That's an average of nearly 95,000 hectares a year.

Aerial photo of Bylong Valley, NSW

The 2021 woody land clearing data, compared to 2020, shows an overall 7% decrease in hectares of native vegetation clearing.

The data also shows clearing by activity type varied with some increasing and others decreasing:

  • 15% increase for agricultural
  • 35% decrease for native forestry harvesting
  • 21% decrease in clearing for infrastructure.

The clearing of native woody vegetation increased by 31% in the period 2018–21 compared to 2009–17.

This information will be taken into account when reforms are considered in response to the review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act. The review will be tabled in Parliament at the end of August.

This data comes from the Statewide Landcover and Tree Study Report which is now available.

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe:

"When changes were introduced by the Coalition government, Labor argued it would lead to more land clearing, and these numbers show our fears were well-founded.

"The NSW Labor Government made an election commitment to stop excess land clearing, and this data shows why reform is so important.

"The review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act will soon be tabled and the issues raised by this data will help inform the NSW Government response to this review."