30% by 2030 - Expanding the protected area network
The natural world is under siege from resource exploitation, unsustainable agricultural practices and reckless over-development. We are now in an extinction crisis which is worsening under the climate crisis. We need to do more to protect remaining natural areas and increase the amount of land that is protected in NSW.
Australia has committed to reaching the High Ambition Coalition goal to conserve 30% of land and water by 2030. In NSW, less than 10% of the land area is currently included in the protected area network and we have the worst extinction rate in the Country. Here in NSW we need to step up our efforts and protect at least 30% of our state by 2030.
We must expand the NSW protected area network to a minimum of 30% of land and water by 2030 to meet international obligations and protect our precious native species
Over the past decade the NSW Government has failed to meaningfully expand our protected area network. Only around 58,000 ha has been added. To reach the 30% goal by 2030, we need to protect around 14 million hectares - this is 2 million hectares per year.
The protected area network must be actively managed and regenerated for conservation outcomes, landscape resilience Native Title claims and First Nations management should be prioritised across all Crown Lands.
The Greens will:
- Expand the protected area network in NSW to 30% of the state by 2030
- Accelerate Native Title claims over Crown Land areas and resource First Nations land management programs
- End inappropriate development and infrastructure in or adjacent to national parks and the protected area network
- Significantly increase funding for management, regeneration and invasive species control in National Parks and the protected area network
A strong, interconnected and well managed protected area network will conserve ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems sustain human life, biodiversity and natural habitats. Our food and water, our agricultural industries and much of our infrastructure all rely on healthy functioning ecosystems.
A well-planned and well-managed protected area network will help safeguard the health, wellbeing and livelihoods and reduce the impacts of natural disasters across NSW. Natural spaces support urban and regional communities through recreational, educational, cultural and economic amenities.
Expand the protected area network in NSW to 30% of the state by 2030
We must, at a minimum, protect 30% of NSW and ensure that the protected area network is representative of and protects biodiversity across the state. Priority protection should be given to at-risk environments that are threatened by human activity and climate change.
Public protected land and in-perpetuity stewardship agreements over private land are both necessary pathways to increase the protected area network.
- Logging of state forests should be stopped immediately and they should be included in the protected area network.
- Isolated areas of the protected area network should be reconnected with the other protected areas to increase the health and resilience of the overall system.
- Local and regional areas of outstanding biodiversity value should be identified and protected from development with a focus on expanding and connecting isolated areas.
Accelerate Native Title claims over Crown Land areas and resource First Nations land management programs
42% of NSW is part of the crown lands reserve and much of that area is subject to Native Title claims that are not being progressed by the Government. Existing land rights claims should be resolved as quickly as possible and the Government should prioritise and facilitate new claims by First Nations claimants.
We must facilitate First Nations ownership and increase First Nations led joint management programs that foster traditional management to improve conservation outcomes and optimise economic benefits for Aboriginal communities.
Additional and ongoing funding streams should be established to assist in the restoration of First Nations land that has been degraded by centuries of exploitative management and resource extraction.
End inappropriate development and infrastructure in or adjacent to national parks and the protected area network
There are many threats to the protected area network from new and existing development and infrastructure projects.
There should be no new high-impact developments or infrastructure allowed in National Parks and all existing developments should be reassessed to ensure that they are not threatening the natural values of the park area.
Priority projects that should be halted or reassessed are:
- Stop construction of illegal mountain bike tracks in conservation reserves.
- Reassess cycling strategy focussing all bike track development away from high cultural and conservation value and areas.
- Stop the intensification of resort development in Kosciuszko National Park.
- Rule out exclusive huts in Ben Boyd National Park and the overdevelopment of the Dorrigo Plateau
- Abandon the adventure theme park planned for the Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area.
- Halt the Warragamba Dam wall raising project to protect the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area.
- Shutdown the Peabody Metropolitan Colliery that is currently operating adjacent to the Royal National Park.
- Prohibit utilities infrastructure (powerlines, etc.) in protected areas.
Significantly increase funding for management, regeneration and invasive species control in National Parks and the protected area network
To preserve the conservation values of the protected area network, there must be a significant and ongoing increase in the funding dedicated to the management of the protected area network.
As we build the protected area network, some areas will require regeneration. We will increase sustainable jobs in the regeneration and management of this important public asset.
Two significant threats to our protected area network are invasive species and fire.
At a minimum, we must fund 300 new full-time equivalent frontline positions in weed and pest management. We will commit $37.5 million per year to fund these positions and ensure that there are dedicated jobs for First Nations people. We will introduce an independent NSW First Nations Commissioner for Country who would advise on the management of invasive species and their impact on First Nations Culture and Country and any other matter pertaining to the protected area network they see fit.
The Greens will repeal the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018 and commit to a towards-zero strategy for feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.
We are committed to creating a $30 million deer and feral pig plan that will target isolated populations in regional areas to ensure that they cannot grow or spread.
We will increase the active management of the protected area network to protect it from fire. We will significantly increase the fire fighting and response capacity guided by the overarching principle of protecting the conservation and cultural values.