Protected Areas & Public Land Management - EDO NSW

Protected Areas & Public Land Management

EDO NSW has produced a number of resources on protected areas and public land management

EDO NSW undertakes law reform work relevant to protected areas and public land management. Read our submissions below.

EDO NSW represents individuals and community groups in public interest litigation to protect the environment. Read about our past cases on protected areas and public land management.

Our Fact Sheets on this topic include protected areas.

See current opportunities for law reform in this area at Have Your Say about decisions relevant to protected areas and public land management.

Major review of biodiversity laws by NSW Government

The NSW Parliament has passed two new bills that will significantly change the urban and rural development assessment and approval process once they commence. Read more on our feature page.


Draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018 - EDO NSW submission

13 April 2018 - Download

During the consultation period for this Bill, EDO NSW has been hearing from and visiting Aboriginal communities and clients in regional NSW, from the Northern Rivers to the Far West, to brief them on the draft and hear their aspirations for cultural heritage protection. Our submission also draws on decades of legal expertise and assistance to Aboriginal people and communities in heritage, planning and environmental law matters.

We strongly support standalone legislation with new Aboriginal institutions and decision-making. In particular we support the broader recognition of Aboriginal cultural heritage, including intangible heritage;  a new information system for mapping, monitoring and reporting; greater Aboriginal responsibility for heritage management and oversight, compliance and enforcement; and associated opportunities for empowerment, capacity-building, employment and self-determination.

However, we make recommendations to address concerns regarding: excessive ministerial powers and open-ended discretions, such as for ‘declaring’ ACH; the lack of any public information or discussion of major resourcing questions, in particular how (and whether) the ACH Authority and Local Panels will be fully resourced to fulfil their functions and invest in Aboriginal capacity-building; limited explanation to communities about how new definitions will be implemented in practice, protections for declared ACH, or the practicalities of registering intangible ACH; the exclusion of major projects from standard assessment pathways and harm offences; the need for clarity around which activities will need to follow the assessment pathway; and the clear imbalance in review and appeal rights that favours developers over Aboriginal people whose heritage is affected, contrary to the aims of the reforms and draft Bill.

See: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reforms: 6 things you need to know

Make your submission

Submission on draft Community Engagement Strategy under Crown Land Management Act 2016 - EDO NSW submission

December 2017 - Download submission

In this submission EDO NSW calls for a reorientation of the draft Strategy from a narrow concern with present “use and enjoyment” to focus instead on the recognised importance of the long-term values and significance of Crown lands.

We also recommend a more open and inclusive approach to engagement that recognises its many benefits, especially for informed decision-making. This reflects the new Act, its objects and the management principles and reflects contemporary expectations of community engagement regarding long-term interests and diverse public lands.

We make 6 key recommendations to strengthen the draft Community Engagement Strategy:

  1. Replace proposed “current use and enjoyment” trigger with a broader test that recognises the long-term values and significance of Crown lands
  2. Community engagement and other criteria should inform impact assessment by Crown land managers
  3. Significantly reduce exceptions and exemptions from community engagement
  4. Engagement principles – Crown land managers should be Accountable and Responsive
  5. The Strategy and the Regulation must require land managers to consider public submissions in decision-making
  6. Format of the Strategy must be clear and enforceable.

This is the latest in a series of submissions on the Crown land reforms.

Review of Environmental and Planning Assessment Regulation 2000 (Issues paper) - EDO NSW submission

November 2017 - Download submission

This submission makes comments and recommendations on the NSW Planning Regulation and the Department’s Issues Paper. 

The Regulation is important as it underpins the day-to-day operation of the NSW planning system. The Regulation guides the processes, plans, public consultation, impact assessment and decisions made by local councils, the Department of Planning and others.

Part A of our submission suggests some guiding principles to inform the Review and development of a draft revised Planning Regulation:

  1. Achieving the aims of the Act and government policy objectives:
  2. Transparent information and effective engagement on planning matters:
  3. Development categories – ensure the greatest impacts receive the greatest scrutiny
  4. Specific consultation needed on giving effect to the Planning Bill 2017.

Part B examines:

-       ‘Existing provisions and known issues’ noted in the Issues Paper that are relevant to the public interest; and

-  ‘Other issues’ that EDO NSW sees as important for the Review to address in any redrafted Regulation.

Link to this submission page.

Draft Crown Land Regulation 2017 - EDO NSW submission

September 2017 - Download our submission

NSW communities value their Crown lands in many different ways – culturally, environmentally, socially and economically. This submission comments on draft Regulations to underpin the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (NSW). Together the Act and Regulations will regulate the future management, use and potential transfer or sale of a diverse range of publicly owned land in NSW.

Part A of this submission makes high-level comments on:

  • what is and is not addressed in the draft Regulation
  • how key concepts could be applied and strengthened (such as community engagement strategies and Crown land rules and principles) and
  • how the reform package fits together and interacts with other in-progress reforms.

Part B comments on the details of the draft Regulation including:

  • the use, management and transfer of ownership (vesting) of Crown lands, and
  • improvements to governance, transparency and environmental protection.

Link to this submission's page.

NSW Travelling Stock Reserves Review 2017 - EDO NSW submission

July 2017 - Download submission

The Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) network is a unique public asset that connects rural economies, biodiversity and cultural heritage. In this submission, we make 13 key recommendations about how the management of NSW’s TSRs can be improved.

We welcome the NSW Government’s aim to improve the evidence base on Travelling Stock Reserves uses and values. In our view, the natural environment should be protected and enhanced for the ‘ecosystem services’ that the landscape provides to our culture, lives and livelihoods, and also for its intrinsic value.

Link to this submission’s page.

NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Crown Land 2016 - EDO NSW submission

July 2016 – Download PDF

We support the Government’s aims to clarify and harmonise the complex laws on managing Crown lands to ensure the environmental and cultural values of Crown lands are recognised and protected.

In our submission, we reiterate recommendations made in previous submissions: our 10 principles for Crown lands management from our 2014 submission on Crown lands; and our Travelling Stock Reserves submission (December 2015).

We also make recommendations about the best process for changing the laws. We recommend public consultation on an exposure draft Crown Lands Bill prior to introduction to Parliament. This would improve the legislation and strengthen community confidence in the process and outcomes of any reforms. 

EDO NSW submission on the NSW Travelling Stock Reserves State Planning Framework 2016-19

3 December 2015 - Download PDF

We recommend the draft Framework be developed and clarified for the following issues:

  • Integration with other legislative, planning and biodiversity frameworks
  • Assessing environmental benefits, cumulative impacts and future threats
  • Primary use classification – methodology, criteria and implications
  • Community engagement, respect and dialogue about TSR roles in the future
  • Recognition of diverse indigenous interests in TSR management
  • Adequate resources and capacity
  • Identifying, monitoring and reporting outcomes
  • Piloting ecosystem services assessment and accounting
  • Legislative change must address community concerns about the wider Crown Lands Review.

EDO NSW submission on Local Land Services Draft State and Local Strategic Plans

20 November 2015 - Download PDF

Our submission makes three key recommendations

  1. Local Land Services (LLS) Strategic Plans should not be finalised until the full suite of LLS responsibilities has been clarified, given the significant changes that have been foreshadowed in relation to native vegetation and biodiversity legislation in NSW. Alternatively, the Strategic Plans should build in a formal review process when a new Biodiversity Conservation Act is passed.

  2. Strategies and performance indicators should be made ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).

  3. The Strategic Plans should better articulate the clear role of LLS in ensuring compliance with environmental and natural resource management legislation.

Submission to the OEH public consultation on national parks establishment

13 April 2015 - Download PDF

Submission on Inquiry into the Commonwealth’s treaty-making process

27 February 2015 - Download PDF 

Submission on Draft Report - Active and adaptive management of cypress forests in the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas

8 August 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on the NSW Crown Lands Management Review

June 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on Draft NSW - Commonwealth Bilateral Approval Agreement

June 2014 - Download PDF

Senate Inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2014

June 2014 - Download PDF

ANEDO submission to Federal parliamentary inquiry into environmental regulation

April 2014 - Download PDF

Draft Terms of Reference for a Threatened Species Commissioner (Commonwealth)

April 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on A New Local Government Act for NSW Final Report

4 April 2014 - Download

Review of the Weed Management in NSW – Draft Report

4 April 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on amendments to the NSW threatened species Priorities Action Statement

21 February 2014 - Download PDF

Submission on Draft NSW-Commonwealth Bilateral Assessment Agreement

December 2013 - Download PDF

Submission to the Inquiry into the Management of Public Lands in NSW 

31 August 2012 - Download PDF

Submission on Marine Parks Audit Report

30 June 2012 - Download PDF

ANEDO Submission on the Coral Sea Commonwealth marine reserve proposal

27 February 2012 - Download PDF

Draft National Wildlife Corridors Plan

20 April 2012 - Download PDF

ANEDO Submission on the Commonwealth marine reserves network proposal and draft Marine Bioregional Plan for the Temperate East Marine Region

21 Feb 2012 - Download PDF

Submission to Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks in NSW

7 October 2011 - Download PDF

Submission on the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment Bill 2009

13 July 2009 - Download PDF

ANEDO Submission on NRS Draft Strategy

19 January 2009 - Download PDF

Proposed National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009

27 March 2009 - Download PDF

Submission to the Taskforce for Tourism and National Parks 

29 August 2008 - Download PDF

Inquiry into Australia 's national parks, conservation reserves and marine protected areas

1 March 2006 - Download PDF

Submission on the Land Protection Proposal 2004

1 July 2004 - Download PDF

briefing notes

AOBVs - or Areas of Outstanding Biodiversity Value - are special areas containing irreplaceable biodiversity values important to the whole of NSW, Australia or the globe. 

In June 2019 our Law Reform team met with the NSW Energy and Environment Minister to discuss the opportunity to fix the gaps in the current scheme and importantly, implement the AOBV mechanism to protect our most precious places and species. The meeting went well and the Minister has asked for the Department to progress work towards implementing AOBVs, including further meetings with the EDO. 

We know that this - if implemented - will protect critically endangered plants and animals.

Read the briefing note >>


Link to this page >>

ANEDO - Objections to the proposal for an environmental ‘one stop shop’

December 2013 - Download PDF

discussion papers