MOREE and Tenterfield branches led the charge on one of the hottest topics of the NSW Farmers annual conference last week.
Native vegetation management was the subject of several motions on issues such as fairer prosecutions, penalties and mapping.
NSW Farmers’ native vegetation working group chairman Mitchell Clapham said a five-part motion from Moree had sought several amendments to new native vegetation laws.
“The changes mostly relate to extending the commonly accepted principles of natural justice to the compliance process set out in the legislation,” Mr Clapham said.
“For example, the burden of proof should rest with the prosecutor as it does in criminal law.
“The Moree branch also called for landholders alleged to have committed a clearing offence to be afforded the right to remain silent and protections against self-incrimination.”
Moree delegates also wanted penalties to better reflect the size of the entity involved, difference between corporate and family farms, and environmental impact.
“The Tenterfield branch also sought to remove impractical, overreaching retention requirements for invasive native species and increase the threshold on which land management activities can be performed on sloped land,” Mr Clapham said.
“All these motions were passed.
“There was another motion passed from the Tenterfield branch that calls upon the association to oppose the release of the NSW government’s native vegetation regulatory maps unless accuracy is guaranteed …
“Members involved in an early pilot found their maps to be quite inaccurate.
“The motion seeks to ensure that no mapping obtains regulatory force until it has been certified correct by the landholder.”