NSW Nature Positive Advisory Panel

In response to the Australian Government’s commitment to being ‘nature positive’ by 2030, New South Wales is establishing a panel of eminent Australians to provide advice on how the state can contribute to this national commitment.

The Australian Government has committed to new national and global targets for Australia to:

  • reverse biodiversity loss and be ‘nature positive’ by 2030
  • protect 30% of Australia’s land and seas by 2030.

At the national meeting of environment ministers on 21 October 2022, New South Wales and all other jurisdictions agreed to work collectively to support these new national commitments.


The NSW Nature Positive Advisory Panel (the panel) will advise the NSW Government on how New South Wales can contribute to new national biodiversity commitments in a manner that:

  • is equitable, science-based and cost effective
  • optimises environmental, social, and economic benefits for New South Wales.

The panel will be chaired by Mr John Pierce AO. Mr Pierce was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to public administration; he is a former Secretary of the NSW Treasury and Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and served as Chairman of the Australian Energy Market Commission from 2010 to 2020 and is a member of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference outline the requirements and scope of the panel’s work.

Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP15) on 19 December 2022.

The Australian Government has made a series of specific national commitments that reflect Australia’s international obligations under the CBD. These include the following 2030 targets:

  • reversing biodiversity loss (becoming nature positive) by 2030
  • conserving 30% of Australia’s land areas and 30% of Australia’s sea areas by 2030.

At the national meeting of environment ministers on 21 October 2022, all jurisdictions including New South Wales agreed to work collectively to support these new national commitments.

Nature provides critical ecosystems services that support the NSW economy. The World Economic Forum has estimated more than half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product is moderately or highly dependent on nature. The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has estimated Australia's natural capital value at $6.4 trillion. In New South Wales each year, national parks generate $18 billion in economic activity and support 74,000 jobs.

The NSW Biodiversity Outlook Report and recent Australian and NSW State of the Environment reports highlight that biodiversity is declining. Without targeted action, biodiversity (natural capital) in New South Wales will continue to decline. This represents a significant risk to the NSW economy and to the health and well-being of the community.

The panel is to provide written advice to the NSW Government on how NSW can contribute to the Australian Government’s international commitments – specifically, becoming nature positive by 2030 and conserving 30 percent of Australia’s land by 2030 (‘30 by 30’) – in a manner that is equitable, science-based and cost effective, and optimises environmental, social and economic benefits for New South Wales.

In effect, the panel is to make recommendations on a roadmap for NSW’s contribution to Australia becoming nature positive by 2030, including the role of areas managed for conservation in a manner that seeks to optimise environmental, economic and social outcomes.

The advice is to be provided by November 2023. The advice will be provided in the form of a report with findings and recommendations.
The report should address the following questions:

  1. How should NSW identify the highest priority areas for protection and conservation when contributing to the 30 by 30 target?
    1. What is the role of national park additions, Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements, private land conservation agreements and other effective area-based conservation measures in contributing to this target?
    2. How do we ensure these areas are effectively managed and, where necessary, restored?
    3. How do we optimise environmental, social and economic outcomes from NSW contributions to the 30 by 30 target?
  2. What other measures – i.e., apart from the contribution to 30 by 30 – are needed to ensure that New South Wales is contributing to a nature positive outcome for Australia by 2030?
    1. How should we measure NSW’s contribution to becoming nature positive?
    2. What measures are available to optimise the NSW contribution? E.g., to ensure NSW itself is nature positive in a manner that also promotes social, economic and cultural outcomes.
  3. What measures can be implemented to help mobilise public and private finance in support of NSW’s contribution to Australia becoming nature positive by 2030?
  4. What are the economic opportunities and risks in transitioning to becoming nature positive by 2030? What are the likely economic risks for New South Wales of not becoming nature positive?

Members of the panel will be appointed by the Coordinator-General of the Environment and Heritage Group within the Department of Planning and Environment in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Regional NSW.

The panel will be chaired by Mr John Pierce AO and consist of up to eight members, who are recognised as experts in at least one of the following disciplines:

  • natural resource management
  • ecology (including ecological restoration)
  • Indigenous ecological knowledge
  • economics
  • regional development
  • natural capital markets
  • primary industries
  • social sciences.

The panel must include at least two Aboriginal members.

Secretariat support

The Department of Planning and Environment, Environment and Heritage Group will provide secretariat support.

Relationship to statutory Act reviews and panels

The panel is required to consider advice from the independent review panels reviewing the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the native vegetation provisions of the Local Land Services Act 2013. The panel is also required to consider advice from the Biodiversity Conservation Advisory Panel and the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee.

Stakeholder consultation

The panel is expected to consult with key stakeholders in developing its advice. The secretariat will support the panel in identifying and engaging with stakeholders.