19 March, 2022
MPs comment on 2016 biodiversity legislation
By Natasha May
Following the article about biodiversity offset legislation
which appeared in the March 1 issue of The
Gilgandra Weekly, the NSW minister for agriculture,
Dugald Saunders, as well as the local state member for
Barwon, Roy Butler, have said they too believe the legislation
is preventing development in western NSW.
Mr Butler told Gilgandra Newspapers the current
legislation in regional areas hampers development.
seen the current biodiversity offset requirements stop
developments in parts of Barwon. At a time when we’re
trying to grow our population and attract people we
need to remove any barriers we can to people spending
money and building things.”
Mr Butler said development is vital for good public
amenity for people who already live here as well as for
Mr Saunders agreed “private and government development
is vital to the ongoing success of communities
in western NSW and we need to ensure we keep growing
our communities by providing jobs, infrastructure
and ongoing investment”.
He said “I am working very
closely with stakeholders to amend what we know is not
an effective system when it comes to biodiversity offsets
and the impact they are having on future development”.
Mr Saunders said Narromine and Gilgandra were
part of a large number of councils, who have been
engaged in those discussions and are part of providing
feedback to improve the situation.
“I’m very supportive
of this cause and I’m working with the department of
regional NSW to find a solution however, it needs to be
acknowledged that it’s a matter that will take some time
to fix,” Mr Saunders said.
Mr Butler said he had discussions with the former
minister for the environment Matt Kean, who had been
turning much farmland in western NSW into national
parks. Mr Butler had discussed with Mr Kean “if we
can’t get the benefit of the farming activity, maybe we
can get the benefit of using the national park for a biodiversity
offset, which does not impact on the national
Despite the change in James Griffin replacing Mr
Kean as NSW minister for the environment, Mr Butler
said he doesn’t want the issue to drop off the radar just
because we’ve had a change of ministers.
“We want these developments in regional NSW to
go ahead but when the developer is required to provide
biodiversity offsets it can become unviable for them to
Mr Butler said it was important to note that using
national parks as an offset, would only be for a public
good development, which benefit large portions of the
community, whether through providing more jobs or
good public amenity.
Mr Butler gave the example of the Bourke abbatoir, which was built but not transport yards on the site because the development couldn’t muster the necessary funds for the biodiversity offsets for the transport yards.