NSW refuses to accept that population is key driver in biodiversity loss

Population size and growth are the key drivers in NSW biodiversity decline and continues to be ignored by those responsible for the protection of our environment, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

SPA national president Peter Strachan says the NSW Environment Minister, Penny Sharpe, should pay heed to the 2022-23 NSW State of Environment report (SoE) that states ‘population growth can be a significant driver of environmental impacts’.

Yesterday Minister Sharpe released the government’s initial response to a major review by former Secretary of Treasury Ken Henry of the state’s nature laws. The Henry 2023 review had warned that half of the species under threat in NSW were on course to become extinct within the next 100 years.

“The SoE notes a rising population accompanied by growing urbanisation has led to greater demand for housing, land, energy, water, consumer products and transport services,” says Mr Strachan, and this has had an immediate, direct and significant environmental impact.

“The NSW population grew by around 110,000 annually (1.4%) in the five years to 2020. This rate of growth is now much greater with the ABS reporting that NSW’s population reached 8,434,800 at the end of last year after growing 185,500, or 2.2%, in one year.

“The primary cause of biodiversity decline is habitat loss. Land-clearing for various human enterprises, not least agriculture, has been significant consequence of this growth.

“Today The Age reported that forests converted to farms in NSW reached its peak in 2018 (29,400 hectares) after land-clearing rules were loosened in 2016. In 2021, however, there were still 15,800h being cleared. NSW continues its doublespeak on native-forest logging.

“We note the NSW government is planning to develop a new nature strategy that would include landscape restoration, species recovery and addressing threats to nature.

“It means little, when the Environment Minister refuses to recognise that the key threat to nature is population growth. We have to stabilise population numbers if we are to preserve nature.

“This can be done in NSW if we reduce levels of overseas migration. The states do not determine immigration numbers – the federal government does.

“Therefore, SPA recommends that Minister Sharpe, as well as reforming the state’s nature conservation laws, also leans on her federal colleagues to rein in net overseas migration, otherwise she is merely managing the state’s environmental decline”.


, Media Releases 2024

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Author: ibm1

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