SYDNEY: The decision by the New South Wales government to adopt a radical new land management plan that will end broad scale land clearing throughout the state has established a global precedent for sustainable agriculture, says WWF Australia.
The plan, devised by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists in co-operation with NSW Farmers and environment groups, has been adopted by Premier Carr as the basis for government policy and will be implemented immediately after the State election.
The Premier announced the adoption of the Wentworth Group model earlier today at a farm near Wellington.
"We are witnessing conservation history in the making," said Dr David Butcher, WWF Australia CEO.
"The Wentworth Group model is setting world's best practice for agriculture. Everybody in New South Wales will benefit from this initiative which will deliver results for city and country people."
The announcement by the Premier is poised to end years of conflict between farmers and conservationists over the impact of land clearing on the state's rivers, landscapes and biodiversity and the need to ensure the viability of agricultural production.
Dr Butcher said the Wentworth Group model would deliver financial assistance to farmers to enable them to work with "the best available science to achieve outstanding land management results".
The Wentworth Group model for New South Wales land management advocates:
strengthening and simplifying native vegetation laws and ending 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 for farmers to help meet new environmental standards and support conservation results
restructuring institutions by improving scientific input into policy setting, improving information systems and regionalising administration