Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC has welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton of $61.4 million in funding from the NSW Liberal National Government for farmers and landholders who want to protect environmentally valuable parts of their property.
“Farmers have been calling for environmental stewardship support for some time and I am pleased that the NSW Environment Minister has listened, consulted and come forward with a funding package. Biodiversity protection cannot be effective unless private landowners are engaged and assisted where possible,” Mr MacDonald said.
“This funding through the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) program is now available to Hunter landholders.”
“We are encouraging property owners with land that has potential for conservation to apply for funding to manage that land for the betterment of the local environment,” Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said.
“We want to work side by side with land owners to find the best way to preserve their local environment. It’s a win for the environment, a win for landholders, and it’s a win for the community,” she said.
“So far, more than 270,000 hectares of private land are being managed as conservation areas around the state. Keeping private land as private land but adding to the amount of high grade conservation land is a great outcome,” she said.
BCT Chairperson the Hon. Robert Hill AC said there had been hundreds of inquiries from landholders about the BCT’s first round of programs since March 2018.
“The BCT’s first four Conservation Tenders were heavily subscribed and strong interest in the BCT’s first rounds of Fixed Rate Offers and Conservation Partners Grants proves there is a real appetite for private land conservation right across NSW,” he said.
“The funding in 2018-19 is part of the NSW Government’s unprecedented investment of $240 million over five years to 2020-21, and $70 million per year ongoing, in a new private land conservation program, to be delivered by the BCT as part of the government’s land management and biodiversity conservation reforms.
For more information about the Biodiversity Conservation Trust visit https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/