A New Model for Landscape Conservation in NSW
Soon after the release of the Blueprint for a Living Continent, the then NSW Premier, Bob Carr, approached the Wentworth Group to seek advice on resolving the decade long problem of land management in NSW.
In response, the Wentworth Group proposed a radically new way of managing native vegetation in New South Wales. A new model for landscape conservation in NSW sought not only to resolve the existing conflict over land clearing in a fair and equitable way, it also looked at the bigger picture of an urgent need for a major investment in revegetation of overcleared landscapes.
The model had five interdependent components:
- strengthening and simplifying native vegetation regulations, ending the broadscale clearing of remnant vegetation and protected regrowth;
- setting environmental standards and clarifying responsibilities for native vegetation management;
- using property management plans to provide investment security, management flexibility and financial support for farmers;
- providing significant levels of public funding to farmers to help meet new environmental standards and support on-ground conservation; and
- restructuring institutions by improving scientific input into policy setting, improving information systems, and regionalising administration.
The model was founded on simplicity and flexibility, balancing investment security with high environmental standards, and replacing perverse incentives to clear native vegetation with economic incentives to produce better environmental results.