Gutting of Koala SEPP, Changes To The NSW Local Land Services (LLS) Act, Update From NEFA

From NEFA [North East Forest Alliance]:

The changes to the LLS Act passed by the NSW Lower House will go to the Upper House in November. So there is still time to lobby Upper House MPs to vote it down – such as Catherine Cusack, Ben Franklin (who seems to have already sold his soul), and Fred Nile.

It is still worth holding Lower House MPs such a Geoff Provest and Leslie Williams to account.

For those in Bellingen, it is extraordinary that of the 6 LGAs with 6900 ha of core Koala Habitat identified as Environmentally Sensitive Land, only Bellingen’s 900ha is to be stripped of its protection.

If passed the Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020 will:

  • stop core Koala habitat identified in draft and future council Koala Plans of Management from being included as Sensitive Regulated Land, and thereby require approval for broadscale clearing, as well as removing prohibition on logging.
  • allow up to 6,000 ha of core Koala habitat identified as Sensitive Regulated Land in the Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Lismore and Port Stephens LGAs to remain, though remove 900 ha of core Koala habitat identified in the Bellingen LGA
  • stop Councils being able to include core Koala habitat in environmental protection zones: ”e-zones will not be created in relation to any koala plans of management” Ben Franklin
  • create the concept of ‘allowable activity land’, which is land that at some time has been rezoned from rural zoning to environmental zoning, and permits clearing for ‘allowable activities’ (including buffers) without approval in these E zones (i.e. allowable activities include construction timber, farm forestry, gravel pits, grazing, powerlines, water and gas pipelines, fire breaks, fences, roads, tracks, sheds, tanks, dams, stockyards, bores, pumps, water points or windmills).
  • prevent local environment plans from requiring development consent for Private Native Forestry (PNF)
  • double the duration allowed for PNF plans from 15 years to 30 years.

The EDO have an excellent assessment of the changes:

The Koala SEPP has already been changed:

  • The Koala Development Application Map has been removed. This is the pink map the Nationals focused on and misrepresented, despite the Government deciding to remove it months ago* –as the Nationals knew.
  • The definition of Core Koala Habitat has been altered to only apply to “highly suitable koala habitat”  where Koalas have been recorded within  the past 18 years, removing  “an area of land where koalas are present”.
  • Councils  are now required to consult with the Chief Executive Officer of Local Land Services when developing a Koala PoM

The Koala Habitat Protection Guideline has been changed:

  • landholders can ‘stop the clock’ to request an additional 60 days to object to proposed core koala habitat on their land, which has to be reassessed at Council’s expense.