NSW must move faster on protecting land and water within an interconnected actively managed protected area network across at least 30% of the state by 2030. Just over 10% of the land area in NSW is currently included in the protected area network and we have the worst extinction rate in the Country.
Since 2019, the NSW Government has only added 496,000 hectares to the protected area network. If we are to reach 30% by 2030, we need to add more than 2 millions hectares every year.
Our plan includes:
· 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
Greens MP Sue Higginson and spokesperson for the environment said: “The NSW Government’s announcement this week that they would protect an additional 440,000 hectares is too slow to achieve the necessary protections in NSW.
“Here in NSW, we are failing to protect enough of the environment to combat the extinction and climate crises. We need to rapidly expand the protected area network across the state with consideration to ensuring the network is representative of our vital biodiversity,
“We need to protect 30% of the NSW land and water, at a minimum, to ensure that our impact on the natural world does not destroy the environment that we all rely on.
“We need to be stopping native forest logging in state forests so they can be included in the protected area network but we also need to find opportunities to protect local and regional areas of outstanding biodiversity value so they can be included as well.
“First Nations led management of the protected area network should be prioritised and the NSW Government should engage with and facilitate native title claims over crown land. Additional and ongoing funding streams should be established to assist in the restoration of First Nations land.
“We need to ensure that the protected area network is not being put at risk from high impact and intensive development. Projects like Peabody’s Metropolitan Colliery should cease operations adjacent to the Royal National Park and the NSW Government should rule out raising the Warragamba Dam Wall that will flood the Blue Mountains.
“The protected area network needs active management against the risks posed by fire and invasive species. These management programs need to have dedicated positions for First Nations people from leadership roles through to frontline workers,
“NSW needs leadership when it comes to adequately protecting nature and the environment.
“The Greens are the only party who are ready to speak out against exploitative industries and fight for the protection of nature. Whoever forms Government after the election, we need to be more ambitious than ever when it comes to expanding and maintaining the protected area network,” Ms Higginson said.
Greens candidate for Heathcote, in which the Royal National Park is situated, Cooper Riach said:
"We know how vital the health of our environments are for the health of people and for the health of the planet.
"This is such an important initiative and it is fitting that we are launching this today in the Royal National Park, the oldest legislated national park in the world,” Cooper said.
30% by 2030 - Expanding the protected area network | Greens NSW