This week in committees, a new committee is established to inquire into animal cruelty laws, and we report on upcoming hearings into a proposal to lift the ban on uranium mining in NSW and regulations governing aspects of the clearing of native vegetation. As always, you can find out more about our committees and inquiries on our website.

New committee to inquire into animal cruelty laws

On 8 August 2019, the Select Committee on Animal Cruelty Laws in New South Wales was established.

The committee will inquire into the effectiveness of arrangements in place to administer and enforce legislation that protects animals from cruelty. In particular, the inquiry will examine the effectiveness of charitable organisations in meeting the objectives of current animal cruelty laws. The committee will also consider whether it is appropriate that such organisations be granted investigative and enforcement powers under these laws or whether the Government should establish a specialist unit to undertake this role.

The inquiry will commence in the week of 21 October 2019 with the call for submissions.

Hearing to consider proposal to lift ban on uranium mining

Next week, the Standing Committee on State Development will be holding a public hearing for its inquiry into the Uranium Mining Repeal Bill. The committee will hear evidence from NuScale Power, a technology development company based in Oregon, USA, which is investing in new nuclear power generation technologies. The Uranium Mining Repeal Bill is a private members bill seeking to lift the ban on uranium mining in NSW which has been in place since the enactment of the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act 1986.

Next week’s public hearing follows on from the committee’s recent visit to the Beverly Uranium Mine (South Australia) in August, providing important insights into uranium mining in an operational setting.

The hearing will be held on 26 September in the Macquarie Room from 1.30 pm – 2.30pm.

Native vegetation clearing – new regulations under review

Next Friday 27 September, the Regulation Committee will hold a hearing for its inquiry into the Local Land Services Amendment (Critically Endangered Ecological Communities) Regulation 2019 and Local Land Services Amendment (Allowable Activities) Regulation 2019.

Both regulations concern the clearing of native vegetation. The first allows some clearing of native vegetation on two areas of land which contain critically endangered ecological communities under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, namely the Monaro Tableland Cool Temperate Grassy Woodland in the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion, and the Werriwa Tablelands Cool Temperate Grassy Woodland in the South Eastern Highlands and South East Corner Bioregions. These woodlands generally occur between Crookwell and the Victorian border, between the Snowy Mountains and the ACT in the West and the edge of the high plains to the East. The second regulation, which applies to regulated land more generally, allows for the clearing of native vegetation in order to maintain water, gas and telecommunications infrastructure and to collect firewood. The hearing next Friday will allow key stakeholders to discuss the impact of the regulations.

The committee is due to report back to Parliament by 24 October 2019.

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