Taking stock of the former travel routes

THE travelling stock routes might bring to mind an earlier era when farmers would take to the road with their stock during hard times – especially in the wake of drought, flood and fire.

Stock would be able to feed on vegetation as they went. These stock routes still exist all through NSW and they are still used in some areas.

Because they were left alone – set aside for the common good – these TSRs have now gained a new significance as corridors of biodiversity in a much-cleared and altered landscape.

New legislation proposed by the state government could damage these corridors and have other adverse impacts on increasingly fragmented ecosystems.

While many farmers support the new legislation, there are also many who support protections for our environment to ensure that it is healthy and productive for generations to come.

The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and Local Land Services Amendment ACT 2016 are now open for public comment. The Office of Environment and Heritage is taking submissions until June 21, 2017.

According to the Nature Conservation Council, there are two key issues to consider:

1. Broadscale land clearing is set to increase with the proposed legislation. The equity code in the proposed legislation will enable broad scale tree clearing (up to 625ha in any three- year period). Habitat loss due to excessive tree clearing is a key threat to many plant and wildlife species, as well as a driver of climate change through the release of greenhouse gas emissions. 

2. Endangered ecological communities are set to come under further threat due to the proposed legislation. The legislation allows for Vulnerable and Endangered Ecological Communities to be cleared with very little or no oversight from ecologists or Government. According to the NCC, this “makes a mockery of listing them for protection in the first place”.

For more information go to www.nature.org.au/.

Tracy Sorensen is president of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network (BCCAN). Visit www.bccan.org.au