In 1992, an article (Adam 1992) appeared in a little-known journal dedicated to nature conservation in New South Wales. Although local in scope, this article touched on issues of global significance that are even more important in 2000. Among its major points were four that are explored further here in a wider context. First, the main approach to nature conservation in New South Wales has been strict reservation. Second, pre­ existing public land, because it involves no acquisition costs to the Government, has been overwhelmingly important as a source of new reserves. Third, a result of this “conservation on the cheap” is a very imbalanced pattern of conservation, not only geographically but in relation to particular vegetation types and species. Fourth, redressing this imbalance will require new ways of doing business in conservation, not only because the supply of cheap public land is finite but because many of the highest priorities for conservation are elsewhere. This new approach will need much more money for nature conservation on private land (whether the land is acquired outright or managed cooperatively with the present owners), much better data on biodiversity (and more money to pay for the necessary surveys and analyses), and resolution of several important ethical issues about the use of public funds, oversight of management of private land, and the responsibilities of individual landholders in achieving goals set not always by themselves but often by other members of society.