I am pleased to present New South Wales State of the Environment 2012. The report has been prepared by the Environment Protection Authority using information from a wide range of government agencies and authorities with input also provided from independent experts as part of a review process and oversight from the joint EPA and Office of Environment and Heritage State of the Environment Executive Committee.
NSW State of the Environment 2012 is the eighth such report for NSW and continues the series as a comprehensive document that considers the status and condition of the major environmental resources of NSW and examines the associated environmental trends, including the implications for the environment and human health. Key pressures on the condition of our environmental resources are identified and discussed, and programs and activities, including policies and legislation, that assist with improving environmental outcomes are outlined.
There have been a number of improvements to environmental outcomes since the last SoE report in 2009. With most of the state experiencing above-average rainfall over the last three years, the impact on the overall condition of NSW wetlands has been positive, along with an increase in waterbird populations. Our rivers have also benefited with an improvement in hydrological condition and a dramatic increase in the water supply held in storage.
Since SoE 2009, the reserve system has also been enhanced with the establishment of Dharawal and Berowra Valley national parks. Dharawal National Park reserves more than 6000 hectares in south-western Sydney and recognises the important Aboriginal cultural values of the area, while Berowra Valley National Park ensures the protection of the outstanding conservation values of this area in northern Sydney. These and many other positive outcomes are discussed in detail in the five chapters of SoE 2012.
However there are also areas that provide ongoing challenges. Energy use, particle pollution, invasive species, and the distribution of native animals and number of threatened species in NSW are all areas that require continued management to arrest further declines in status.
These challenges also provide opportunities. I am confident that the reinvigorated Environment Protection Authority will work with industry to improve its environmental performance. In addition, the Government has recently released its draft Renewable Energy Action Plan that outlines actions to help NSW meet the 20% renewable energy target by 2020.
The NSW Government is committed to working with communities, industry and other stakeholders in ensuring better outcomes for the environment.
Robyn Parker MP
Minister for the Environment