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New South Wales State of the Environment
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Foreword

The state of the NSW environment affects us all: in our quality of life, our jobs, our neighbourhoods and our recreation. Understanding the state of the environment is fundamental to a sustainable future.

This latest NSW State of the Environment is a comprehensive report back to the custodians and beneficiaries of our environment: the people of NSW. It brings together the best information that is available, across the broadest range of environmental issues. It has been prepared by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, with guidance from the State of the Environment Advisory Council comprising independent experts and stakeholder representatives.

The report shows that the nature of the environmental challenge is changing. Thirty years ago, the dominant issues were visible for all to see: sewage pollution on our beaches and smoking factory chimneys in our cities. We have made excellent progress in fixing these problems, as this report demonstrates with its information on cleaner beaches and cleaner air.

The future challenges to be faced may be far less visible to most people, but in many ways they will pose an equal or even greater threat to our long-term wellbeing. Protecting our unique biodiversity, improving river health, reducing the spread of salinity and doing our part to respond to global climate change are all problems that the Government and the NSW community must continue to address.

The NSW Government has initiated vigorous reforms to improve the way we manage our natural resources and the environment and to make the agencies responsible for implementing our laws and policies more accountable for their performance.

Industry and the broader community also have critical roles to play. The Government is committed to building new and innovative approaches and partnerships and is keen to actively collaborate with the community, landholders, industry, independent experts and other stakeholders. Working together will help us meet the diffuse and complex environmental challenges before us.

To be effective, our actions must be based on sound evidence, and NSW State of the Environment 2003 will be a key reference for all who care about the environment of this State.

Bob Debus

Minister for the Environment

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