Reviewers Recommendation 6
The Parties continue to ensure their current data release and publication strategies align with modern practice for the release of publicly held information.
Both Parties will continue to engage with environmental, community and industry groups and release data and information through electronic and published media.
Both Parties are committed to best practice for the release of publicly held information.
The Australian Government has in place a cyclical system of reporting on national indicators for Australia’s forests. This includes the five-yearly Australia’s State of the Forests Report and the annual Australia’s forests at a glance and the Plantation Inventory Up-Dates.
The NSW Government’s legislation for making data publicly available is under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. This Act is the New South Wales Government's approach to giving the community greater access to information. The New South Wales' Government has made a commitment to provide access to information held by the Government, unless on balance it is contrary to the public interest to provide that information.
The NSW Government regularly publishes information relevant to NSW forests covered by the three RFAs as a part of annual reporting under the NSW Forest Agreements.
Since 1994, the NSW Government has regularly published broader environmental information such as the three yearly ‘Who cares about the Environment’ series.
Reviewers Recommendation 7
The NSW Government continue to give priority to completion and publication of plans of management for various dedicated areas.
Joint Government Response
Both Parties agree that the plans of management for the various areas dedicated under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 should be finalised and made publicly available. Noting, as previously outlined in the Report on Progress that as more parks and reserves are added each year, the preparation of the plan of management for a new park maybe given priority over an existing park. Prioritisation for the preparation of management plans occurs on the basis of which parks are believed to have the highest threats to natural and cultural values.
The NSW Government, through the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Office of Environment and Heritage is committed to the completion of plans of management for all reserve tenures2 dedicated under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and has in place a regular monitoring program to ensure this occurs. The Office of Environment and Heritage website contains all draft and adopted management plans for parks and reserves in NSW.
As at June 2012, of the 548 management plans listed by the Office of Environment and Heritage in the three RFA regions, 75 per cent are finalised, that is the plans have been adopted and are being implemented or pending finalisation which indicates that they have been through public exhibition and are awaiting formal approval, 14 per cent are in the drafting process, i.e. draft plan in preparation or on public exhibition, and 11 per cent yet to be commenced.
Although plans of management are yet to be finalised for some parks, the NSW Government, through the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Office of Environment and Heritage has prepared fire, pest and visitation management strategies/plans for all parks and reserves/Regions/Branches (with the exception of very recent park additions). The preparation of these strategies/plans means that the key threats/impacts on the national park system have been considered. The Office of Environment and Heritage website provides information on these Plans and Strategies.
Reviewers Recommendation 8
In future reviews the Parties should provide more information about development of various threatened species recovery plans to allow an assessment of the adequacy of progress in the management of threatened species as it relates to Milestone 23.
Joint Government Response
Both Parties agree to the provision of relevant and current information on the development and implementation of various threatened species and ecological communities’ recovery plans and recovery actions.
In 2004, the NSW Government amended the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) to, inter alia, provide a strategic framework for prioritising actions for threatened species recovery and management, and remove mandatory requirements for the preparation of species recovery plans. The amendments formed part of a broader natural resource management reform package.
In 2007, the then Department of Environment, Climate Change released the Threatened Species Priorities Action Statement (PAS). PAS outline the broad strategies and detailed actions that can be taken to promote the recovery of each listed threatened species, populations and ecological communities. PAS was intended to be a shift away from developing formal recovery plans as the process of developing these was not keeping pace with the growing list of threatened species. PAS actions set out the recovery and threat abatement strategies to be adopted to promote the recovery of threatened species, populations and ecological communities to a position of viability in nature.
The NSW Government, through the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has reviewed the performance of the PAS during its first three years of operation (2007-2010).
OEH has designed a new threatened species management program. The program’s objective will be to:
Allocate species to one of six management streams based on the management needs of the species concerned, including those listed threatened species in RFA regions3. Details of these management streams are contained in
establish the relative priorities for implementation of recovery actions based on the benefit for the species, their likelihood of success and their total cost
In some cases establish performance indicators to enable reporting on and evaluation of the effectiveness of actions
secure investment in threatened species recovery
raise the profile of threatened species and increase opportunities for the community to participate in threatened species conservation.
For the purposes of this reporting process, all listed threatened species in RFA regions have been allocated into the most appropriate management stream, see Annex E. This list provides an overall indication of the management intentions of OEH in relation to these species. This allocation may be revised over time.
OEH will continue to develop and implement new recovery plans as required under the TSC Act where the process of developing the plan helps with engaging multiple stakeholders and outlining clear roles and responsibilities of project partners.
OEH will also continue to implement existing recovery plan actions as part of the threatened species program according to the overall priorities established by the new threatened species management program. Listed threatened species in RFA regions therefore will be managed in accordance with the new threatened species management program and in accordance with approved recovery plans.
As at December 2013, there are approximately 107 approved NSW Recovery Plans across the state.
The Australian government will also continue to lead the development of national recovery plans as required under the EPBC Act. This may include RFA species that are endemic to NSW or those RFA species that also occur outside of NSW. In developing these recovery plans the Australian government will, consistent with current arrangements, seek the cooperation and support of NSW government to participate in and contribute to that process.
Based on the 2007 amendments to the EPBC Act which removed the mandatory requirement to have a recovery plan for every listed species or ecological community, a conservation advice is now developed for these at the time of listing. Recovery plans may be developed for some of these species or ecological communities.
The Australian and New South Wales governments will continue to cooperate on the development of recovery plans including the sharing of technical information that may be sought by either party in developing, implementing and reviewing these plans. The Australian government will also work with NSW to ensure that management priorities identified for a listed species under both the PAS and recovery plan systems align in any given RFA region.