This paper focuses on the relationship between threatened species listing and command regulation designed to protect habitat on privately owned land. After outlining the historical development of threatened species regulation in NSW from its early origins in legislation designed to control hunting, it explores the role of approval processes and prosecution in the implementation of command regulation in the threatened species context. It examines the extent to which compensation is payable where land use restrictions are imposed, comparing the approach taken in other Australian states, and exploring the case for compensation in the context of the current debate about property rights, landholder duty of care and stewardship payments. Finally, the paper considers the potential of the NSW environmental planning system to protect threatened species habitat in targeted areas and, in particular, explores the relationship between environmental planning instruments and recovery plans. A case is made for a strategic approach to the use of command regulation, in which government takes the initiative rather than reacting on a piecemeal basis to individual project proposals. The Minister for the Environment, advised by what has recently become the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, should play a key role in the strategic planning process.