McCabes hosts seminar on biodiversity law reform

Sydney, 30 May 2016: McCabes hosted a lunchtime seminar today with its pro bono partner, the NSW Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), in respect of the NSW Government’s proposed biodiversity legislative and policy package.

This legislative and policy package is designed to replace the Native Vegetation Act, Threatened Species Conservation Act, the Nature Conservation Trust Act and parts of the National Parks & Wildlife Act. The seminar explained what the Biodiversity Conservation Bill proposes and analysed important components and changes.

McCabes’ planning and environment principal Paul Vergotis says while the draft Bill is a positive step by the NSW Government to give decision-making powers back to the farmers and landowners of NSW, there may still be room for improvement in striking a better balance between commercial practice and biodiversity principles.

“It’s a tough job to take in to account the needs of all stakeholders affected by the Bill and by facilitating this lunch; we hope that all parties can continue to work together towards biodiversity outcomes that are achievable and financially efficient,” said Mr Vergotis.

The draft Bill released on 3 May 2016 comes at a sensitive time as the media spotlight turns its attention to the current trial of farmer Ian Turnbull, who shot and killed an Office of Environment and Heritage compliance officer in 2014 over a land clearing dispute. The incident highlighted tensions between the NSW Government and commercial landowners who claimed that biodiversity laws are unnecessarily restrictive of land use, and out of touch.

The Biodiversity Conservation Bill, Local Land Services Amendment Bill, and information about proposed land clearing codes will be open for public comment until Tuesday 28 June 2016.

For more information, contact Paul Vergotis, principal, planning and environment at McCabes on t: +61 2 9265 3207 or e:

(Pictured left to right, Rachel Walmsley, Policy and Law Reform Director at EDO, Paul Vergotis, Principal at McCabes and Sue Higginson, CEO and Principal Solicitor at EDO).