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10, May 2010

May 6 2010

The Australian Environment Foundation today backed the Senate Inquiry into Native Vegetation Laws recommendation to establish a “balance between maximising agricultural production and best practice conservation.”

The senate inquiry report released last week showed the unintended consequences of native vegetation laws in both Queensland and New South Wales, which meant landholders bear the full cost of native vegetation protection on their land on behalf of the whole community.

“Clearly, in the evidence before the inquiry landholders have suffered many inequities from the implementation of these laws” said Alex Stuart, chairman of the AEF.

“These laws in many cases have been disastrous for rural communities and the environment.”

“Government must work collaboratively with and reward landholders for protecting vegetation, rather than the present system that punishes through regulation.”

“As we said at the inquiry ‘There seems to be a disconnect between the intent of native vegetation laws and the clearly recognised need to assure confidence and security in food production and the management of private land to produce good environmental outcomes’.”

“These objectives should not be viewed as mutually exclusive.”

“Perverse outcomes have resulted from thickening of Invasive Native Species leading to less groundcover, less native flora and fauna and increased erosion” said Mr Stuart.

The senate committee recognised that “the need for action across all jurisdictions in relation to stewardship initiatives.  Toward this objective, it appreciates that a shift in the approach away from regulation to that of stewardship implies reorienting the focus of the relationship between landholder, land and government.”

“We call on the Queensland and NSW governments to act on the inquiry recommendations without delay and offer meaningful stewardship programs to landholders to garner their support for protecting remnant native vegetation” concluded Mr Stuart.

- ENDS -
Media Contact: Max Rheese 0428 621320

The Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) is a not-for-profit, membership-based environment organisation having no political affiliation.  The AEF is a different kind of environment group, caring for both Australia & Australians.  Many of our members are practical environmentalists – people who actively use and also care for the environment.  We accept that environmental protection and sustainable resource use are generally compatible. For more information about the AEF visit www.aefweb.info


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