The 2016-17 financial year has seen OEH successfully deliver a large number of significant programs and strategies.
- One of the most important of these achievements was the establishment of a new legislative and policy framework for the conservation of biodiversity in NSW. A major milestone in this process was achieved in November 2016 with the NSW Parliament passing the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Local Land Services Amendment Act 2016.
- The release of the NSW Climate Change Policy Framework and draft Strategic Plan marked another key program success for OEH. Assisted by a $500 million environmental funding package designed to support a range of innovative environmental programs, the framework outlines our long-term objectives to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and to make New South Wales more resilient to a changing climate.
- In addition, this year we commenced the NSW Koala Strategy to secure and increase koala numbers in the state. The strategy responds to the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer’s recommendations and will complement the koala conservation work already being undertaken in the NSW Government’s flagship $100 million Saving our Species program.
- The start of the Heritage Near Me incentives program, which runs from 2016 to 2019, provides new and significant funding opportunities and support for owners and managers of local heritage items. The $16 million available under the program supplements our other state heritage programs.
The last 12 months has also featured some great accomplishments for OEH.
- Visitation to NSW national parks has reached an all-time record of 52 million visits, with a 31 per cent increase in the estimated number of domestic visits since the last survey in 2014, showing that NSW national parks are more popular than ever.
- 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). From its establishment in 1967, NPWS has grown to now manage more than 870 reserves covering over seven million hectares or approximately eight per cent of the state.
- The first stage of the Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) online portal was launched at the end of 2016, offering public access to NSW’s valuable environmental data. This portal is the first of its kind in Australia and is an important initiative developed in response to community requests for reliable and readily available information about the environment in New South Wales.