March 28th marks the mid-point in the four-year election cycle and NSW Environment Groups have reviewed progress based on the Our Environment, Our Future - Policies for the 2015 NSW Election and Beyond report. This document set out 25 key policy asks across eight broad environment themes and it is on this 2015 report that the NSW Government's performance has been bench marked.
Across the eight key themes, the government has performed badly in five of the key areas: National Parks and Wildlife; Forests, Woodlands and Wildlife; Marine Conservation; Rivers and Wetlands; and Coal and Gas. In particular, the gutting of important native vegetation laws, failure to make any substantial additions to the National Parks estate, undermining of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and ongoing support for destructive coal and gas mining projects show a clear failure from Government to prioritse the health and wellbeing of natural places and our communities.
The government has made some progress in the areas of Climate and Energy, including investing in energy efficiency programs and committing to a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, and Planning and Development, by strengthening penalty provisions and making minor changes to assessment processes. However substantial additional action is needed if we are going to do our fair share tackling climate change, or deliver positive outcomes for the environment and communities through the planning system.