Rescue our environment


Our environment sustains all life. It should be enjoyed and protected. We need to hand over a healthy planet for future generations.

For decades, the major parties have weakened environmental laws while allowing logging, agro-business and fossil fuel industries to wreck our natural environments.

The NSW Greens have a plan to strengthen environmental protections and invest in recovery plans for threatened habitats. We will:

Protect native forests. Stop logging of native forests by scrapping Regional Forest Agreements, and reinstate laws to protect native habitats from private land clearing. More »

Preserve pristine wilderness areas. Create a Great Koala National Park in northern NSW and stop plans to flood the Blue Mountains World Heritage-listed wilderness. More »

Restore rivers to health. Call a Royal Commission into management of the Murray Darling River system, while enacting plans to restore river catchments throughout NSW and ensuring strict management of water flows. More »

Solve the waste crisis. Overhaul our waste management system and develop initiatives to encourage a circular economy that reuses and recycles materials instead of sending them to landfill. More »

Protect marine environments. Create a marine park in Sydney and a strong network of marine protected areas along the NSW coast. Get rid of shark nets and stop seismic testing for offshore gas. More »

Restore national parks. Return funding and increase staff for national parks throughout NSW, which have been subject to severe cutbacks. More »

Our plan for the environment

Protect native forests

Protect native forests and habitats


Successive NSW governments have allowed massive tracts of native forests to be decimated under Regional Forest Agreements. These agreements enable logging corporations to continue practices that are unsustainable, and which destroy precious native ecosystems. The current Liberal-National Government has further threatened native habitats by removing biodiversity protections that once prevented land clearing.

The Greens are committed to protecting native forests and habitats in NSW. We will:        

  • End logging of native forests by scrapping Regional Forest Agreements.

  • Reinstate biodiversity protections to prevent the destruction of native habitats on private land.  

  • Provide funding to recovery projects for threatened species, support biodiversity conservation, and tackle invasive species.

  • Severely limit the practice of allowing developers (whether government or private) to use biodiversity offsets to greenlight developments with negative environmental impacts.

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Preserve pristine wilderness areas

Preserve pristine wilderness areas

Create a Great Koala National Park

Koalas are a national icon, recognised around the world as an important part of Australia's environmental and cultural landscape. But the actions of successive NSW governments have placed this beloved animal at risk, by allowing continued logging of native forests and excessive urban expansion. Over the past 20 years, koala populations have halved on the NSW North Coast.

Establishing a Great Koala National Park near Coffs Harbour will help ensure the survival of one of our state’s most important koala populations. 

The Great Koala National Park would see 175,000ha of state forest added to existing protected areas to form a 315,000ha reserve in the Coffs Harbour region. The Great Koala National Park will protect hundreds of forest species and preserve extensive areas of tall eucalypt forest from destructive logging in an area where 20% (about 4,500) of NSW’s wild koalas live.

Protect the Blue Mountains wilderness

The Kowmung River in the Blue Mountains is one of the most pristine wilderness areas in Australia – a World Heritage site people are not even allowed to visit because of its importance to Sydney’s water catchment and ecological significance.


The current NSW Government wants to flood this area by raising the Warragamba Dam wall 14 metres, to mitigate the risk of flooding in Western Sydney.

The resulting inundations of the Kowmung and surrounding rivers would destabilise river banks, introduce weeds, cause sedimentation and erosion, and threaten the survival of 48 endangered plant and animal species. It would deposit silt in Sydney’s drinking water and destroy hundreds of sacred Aboriginal sites, including rock paintings.

Fortunately, there are other solutions. The Greens will:

  • Protect the Blue Mountains wilderness by leaving the Warragamba Dam wall at its current height.

  • Lower the full supply level of the dam in order to provide the extra capacity required for flood events.

  • Ensure Sydney’s water security by activating the desalination plant, improving water efficiency, recycling water and reducing leaks.

These are the alternatives to protect people and their homes from flood events, but there is no alternative to protecting the Blue Mountains World Heritage wilderness.

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River health

Restore rivers to health

Aside from the vital Murray Darling River system, NSW is home to a many rivers and catchments that play a crucial role in healthy ecosystems throughout the state. These river systems are vital to local communities, which depend on them for agriculture and recreation. Many rivers also have important cultural value for Aboriginal communities.

Successive NSW governments have failed to protect our vital river systems. Mismanagement of water resources and over-allocation to unsustainable agro-businesses has exacerbated the effects of climate change, leading to extreme stress and catchment degradation. Mass fish deaths have been well publicised, but we have also witnessed the collapse of native bird populations, increased salinity and erosion.

It is vital to the future of our precious river systems, and the communities and industries that depend on them, that water is

managed fairly and sustainably. The Greens have a comprehensive plan to restore our river systems and catchment areas. We will:

  • Call a Royal Commission into management of the Murray Darling River system and allocation of water extraction licences to unsustainable industries.

  • Mandate environmental flows to ensure industry leaves enough water in river catchments to sustain the natural environments that depend on it.

  • Improve monitoring of water use to ensure all water taken from river systems is properly accounted for.

  • Stop the development of any new large-scale dams, which remove water from catchment areas - with the exception of Wilcannia Weir.

 

 

Solve the waste crisis

Solve the waste crisis


Our society must minimise the amount of waste it produces. Plastic, metal and electronic waste should be considered an opportunity, not a burden – because it provides the raw materials required by industry to manufacture new products.

Instead of a circular economy, where materials are recycled and reused, successive governments have created a massive waste crisis in NSW. China has stopped accepting co-mingled and contaminated waste imports from Australia, and waste is piling up. Microplastics and other pollutants threaten the health of our oceans and terrestrial environments, and rubbish litters many of our natural environments.

The Greens have a plan to reduce the amount of waste our society produces, while radically improving waste management systems in order to create a circular economy. We will:

  • Overhaul the waste management system in NSW by improving the separation and reprocessing of recyclable materials.

  • Provide incentives for industry to use recycled waste products in manufacturing.

  • Ban all waste-to-energy schemes, such as the proposed Western Sydney incinerator, and put a moratorium on new landfill sites.

  • Ban single-use plastic bags and enforce strict regulations to prevent over packaging.

  • Enforce strict penalties for releasing nurdles (plastic pellets used in manufacturing) into the environment.

  • Invest in campaigns to raise awareness about the harms of a wasteful society and the benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling unwanted products.  

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Protect marine environments

Protect marine environments


The ocean plays an important part in many people's’ lives, and marine environments are precious, fragile and under threat. Marine protection is vital if future generations are to continue enjoying the many benefits of a healthy ocean.

The current government has not done enough to protect our oceans. It has done nothing to protect marine habitats, while also placing shark nets on beaches. These do nothing to protect swimmers while indiscriminately killing marine creatures, including turtles and dolphins. The government has also allowed offshore mining practices that harm whales and other marine life.

The Greens have a plan to protect marine habitats. We will:

  • Strengthen our network of marine parks and sanctuaries;

 

  • Introduce a river-to-sea habitat restoration program;

  • Recognise cultural fishing rights;

  • Remove shark nets and adopt a non-lethal shark management program;

  • Support sustainable seafood and fisheries in NSW;

  • Ban offshore exploration and mining of fossil fuels;

  • Build ocean and beach resilience to climate disruption.

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National parks

Restore national parks in NSW


NSW national parks are important to the hundreds of thousands of people who visit them every year for holidays and recreation. They are also a priceless environmental resource, providing vital habitats for native plant and animal species, and should be completely protected from destructive activities.  

The current Liberal-National Government has slashed funding to national parks in NSW and presided over massive cuts to staff numbers and resourcing. The Greens will restore our network of NSW national parks. We will:

  • Increase the annual national parks budget by $50 million.

  • Expand our network of national parks to include a new Great Koala National Park in Northern NSW, and expand the Gardens of Stone National Park near Lithgow and Clyde River National Park.

  • Ban activities with high environmental impacts including hunting, grazing and high-impact development, which often require land clearing.

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See our full plan for NSW

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