State government commits $35.9m to help farmers' conservation efforts

Environment Minister Matt Kean (left) during a recent trip to Walgett. Photo: Colin Elphick
Environment Minister Matt Kean (left) during a recent trip to Walgett. Photo: Colin Elphick

The state government has committed close to $36 million in funding to aid farmers' conservation efforts, with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) entering 38 new conservation agreements with landholders.

The BCT will set aside $35.9 million to support landholders in the Northern Tablelands, North West Plains, Murray, South West Slopes, Lachlan River and Lismore-Ballina.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the conservation agreements will protect more than 9,300 hectares of environmentally significant land, including koala habitat.

"These 38 new BCT agreements will help landowners protect new conservation areas, threatened species, and pristine landscapes," he said in a statement.

"These landholders will earn from $21 to $423 per hectare per year over the life of the agreements to manage parts of their property to help protect native and threatened species."

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Through the BCT, the NSW government has committed more than $350 million over the next five years to help protect and conserve the environment, plants and animals.

In just over a year since being established, the BCT has now conserved more than 29,000 hectares of land through 133 private land conservation agreements.

Some of the landscapes being conserved include Grey Box Woodland, Sandhill Pine Woodland, Coolibah-Black Box Woodland, and Brigalow and Myall Woodland. In the Lismore-Ballina area, regionally important koala habitat is being protected.

"The response from landholders to these conservation tenders is overwhelmingly positive," Mr Kean said.

"We have some of the most beautiful landscapes and pristine natural areas in the country. I want to make sure we are protecting our environment in NSW because I want to leave it in a better state than the one we inherited."

Conservation tenders are just one way the BCT encourages landholders to protect parts of their land for biodiversity conservation.

For more information about the BCT, visit www.bct.nsw.gov.au/