NSW State Govt doles out $37m to help farmers cope with new native vegetation laws


$436m in natural resources reform: The money came on top of the
$436m already provided by state and federal Governments to roll out
natural resources reform and establish the Catchment Management
Authorities (CMAs), and NSW had appealed to the Federal Government to
match the socio-economic package.

Up to $80,000 for landholders: Landholders could be eligible for
up to $80,000 (or half the cost) to develop new farming practices that
would benefit the environment and provide additional income. The
government could also buy properties made financially non-viable
because land clearing could not take place.

$12m in exit assistance: It had $12m set aside in the exit assistance component of the new package. Properties would be bought at pre-Native Vegetation Act 2003
prices and then sold under strict environmental management conditions
with the revenue generated from re-sale added to a revolving funding
pool. Under this part of the package farmers would be eligible for
funding to cover the cost of moving and advisory services.

Incentives to carry out environmental offsets: A further $10m
was earmarked for farmers who may be able to clear if they provided
conservation offsets, but could not afford to do the work. Under the
regulations, farmers would receive approval to clear if they agreed to
carry out environmental “offsets”, such as planting native vegetation
on another area.

Statewide offset pool: But if there was no opportunity for
on-farm offsets, or offsets on an adjoining property, and the CMA was
satisfied this would cause hardship (because farmers would not be able
to clear), they may apply for funding from a statewide offset pool.

The Land, 1/12/2005, p. 5

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