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Constraints on private conservation of biodiversity

Commission research paper

This paper was released on 18 July 2001. Conserving biodiversity is essential to maintain ecosystems to support life. It is also important for a range of economic, social and cultural reasons. However, biodiversity is under threat from a range of sources - some localised, others more pervasive.

The paper identifies and examines constraints which inhibit the role of the private sector in biodiversity conservation. It reviews some key institutional constraints to private conservation of biodiversity where it is the primary landuse activity.

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  • Media release
  • Contents

The private sector is being constrained from undertaking conservation of biodiversity by a range of institutional factors, according to a report released today by the Productivity Commission.

The Commission Research Paper Constraints on Private Conservation of Biodiversity found that a number of Commonwealth and State and Territory institutional and regulatory arrangements — particularly relating to land tenure, competitive neutrality, native wildlife regulation and taxation frameworks — can impede otherwise desirable private conservation activities.

Commissioner Neil Byron said 'These arrangements are characterised by extensive and often complex legislation and regulation. Native wildlife regulatory frameworks, for example, vary between jurisdictions and can be overly complex. Property rights to native wildlife are often not well defined or consistent'.

The report found that the constraints can increase the relative costs and risks of private conservation activities compared to other viable land uses. Dr Byron said 'this may ultimately influence investment decisions and can lead to less efficient and effective conservation outcomes'.

The report finds that removing or reducing regulatory and other impediments could have positive biodiversity benefits, although further analysis is needed to assess specific policy responses.

Cover, Copyright, Contents, Foreword, Acknowledgements, Abbreviations, Key Messages, Overview

1 Biodiversity and the private sector
1.1 Threats to biodiversity
1.2 The private sector can play a role
1.3 Factors affecting conservation of biodiversity

2 Land tenure issues
2.1 Private land tenure
2.2 Private conservation on pastoral leasehold land
2.3 Voluntary conservation agreements and land tenure
2.4 Summary

3 Competitive neutrality
3.1 Competition policy and the conservation sector
3.2 Applying competitive neutrality principles
3.3 Competitive neutrality complaints mechanism
3.4 Contestability issues
3.5 Summary

4 Native wildlife regulatory frameworks
4.1 The overarching framework
4.2 Native wildlife and property rights
4.3 Licensing arrangements for native wildlife
4.4 International trade in native fauna
4.5 Summary

5 Taxation and biodiversity conservation
5.1 Tax arrangements - underlying principles
5.2 The treatment of deductions for donations
5.3 Special exemptions and deductions for certain landholders
5.4 The capital gains treatment of conservation covenants
5.5 Summary

6 Conclusion

A Private conservation groups

B Native wildlife


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