Szabo & Associates News & Updates
Environmental Harm: NSW Cotton Farmer Fined $300,000
The family-run company Swansbel (Pastoral) Pty Ltd has recently (May 2019) been fined by the NSW Land and Environment Court for clearing 300 hectares of native vegetation in 2013 near Narrabri, NSW, and planting cotton in its place: Office of Environment & Heritage v Swansbel (Pastoral) Pty Ltd (2019) NSWLEC 69. It was also noted that one of the family directors, who lives on the property, knew the company needed approval if it was going to remove the vegetation but deliberately did not do so.
The company pleaded guilty to the charge of clearing native vegetation contrary to s12 (1) Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NSW). Under that Act, all land clearing was prohibited unless approved under a Property Vegetation Plan (PVP) or development consent subject to certain specified exceptions. The 2003 Act was repealed in August 2017 but replaced by separate legislation covering rural land and urban areas along with land zoned for environmental protection. Native vegetation is considered crucial to supporting agricultural productivity and biodiversity.
The fine was net of a discount (but before costs) for an early guilty plea and their previous good character.
Contact our Land and Environment Court Solicitors, Sydney, NSW
Szabo & Associates Solicitors, are experienced practitioners in Land & Environment Court matters. If you require advice or assistance concerning such issues, please call us on (02) 9281 5088 for a free 10-minute consultation or fill in our online contact form.
You have nothing to lose, only something to gain, by speaking with one of our experienced lawyers.