THEY ARE KILLING THE KOALAS OF WILTON!
MACARTHUR CAMDEN LAND RELEASE TO MORE THAN DOUBLE POPULATION
The South Creek West land release will more than double the LGA Population!
AS usual it does not stack up …. the Macarthur region has some of the worst infrastructure and almost zero public transport.
The Planning Minister talks of a mere 1,000 jobs how does that correlate with an additional 30,000 more homes to exceed the current 26,000 homes in Camden?
Begs the question who are the landowners? Is it Dahua, Poly Group, Chiwayland, Aqualand along with the local Mob from Urban Taskforce?
DOES the Planning Minister only have time for developers?
‘SCAM’: Developer to use parkland to offset koala habitat destruction
A major housing project on Sydney’s south-western fringe will remove koala habitat with the developer using an existing council parkland to compensate for the destruction.
Lendlease’s 216-hectare Gilead development will leave about 30 hectares of woodland, with the company permitted to offset vegetation removal by improving habitat on the adjoining Noorumba Reserve.
Conservationists, though, say the project will increase pressure on one of the state’s healthiest koala populations as colonies shrink statewide because of destruction of habitat and disease. Campbelltown City Council should be responsible for enhancing the reserve, they said.
“The Campbelltown koalas are a precious wild koala colony virtually on Sydney’s backdoor step,” Sharyn Cullis, secretary of the Georges River Environmental Alliance, said. “Their continued protection and welfare should be a matter of pride for the whole of Sydney.”
South-west Sydney’s koalas have low rates of chlamydia, a disease which is devastating colonies and leading to projections by WWF that the animal could be extinct in the wild in NSW by 2050.
A spokeswoman for Lendlease said the proposed project would “feature the highest levels of habitat restoration and protection measures available”.
Rehabilitation work on the former grazing land would create more koala habitat on the site than currently exists, while such woodlands on the Noorumba Reserve will increase from 38 hectares to 45 hectares, she said.
Jim Baldwin, director of city development at the council, said the Office of Environment and Heritage had approved Noorumba as a biobank site under a 1995 act that allows council reserves to be protected “in perpetuity” to generate offsets.
In this case, such conservation balanced “the loss of areas identified as holding low habitat value,” he said.
Ms Cullis, though, said while the council may be acting legally to generate biobanking credits on its own land, it was “immoral and really rather bizarre” since there would be net habitat loss when the intent of such offsets was an “additionality” of protection.
Robert Close, an ecologist with Western Sydney University, said the woodlands were important for koalas and for other species, such as birds.
“We have only recently discovered apparently resident koalas west of Appin Road,” Associate Professor Close said.
“Based on Campbelltown data we could estimate one female per 10 hectares of suitable habitat,” he said.
A spokesman for the environment minister Gabrielle Upton said the planning proposal had been approved by Anthony Roberts, the planning minister, in September 2017.
The government was investing $44.5 million though the NSW Koala Strategy to secure the future of koalas in the wild, he said.
Cate Faehrmann, the Greens environment spokeswoman, said the offset agreement was “a complete scam”.
“The truth is that biodiversity offsetting is simply a smokescreen introduced by the Liberals to smooth the way for big developers and mining companies to trash our environment with impunity.”
Her Labor counterpart, Penny Sharpe, said the time to save the koalas of south-west Sydney “was running out”.
“Offsetting that does not add to the area that is protected for koalas is not offsetting – it is another nail in the coffin for these incredible native animals,” Ms Sharpe said, adding a Labor government if elected next March would create a koala national park in the region.
‘Residents won’t obey’
The Gilead project will include about 1700 homes, accommodating about 5000 people.
Even if Leadlease were able to improve the quality of remnant bushland, koalas would likely be forced elsewhere, Professor Close said.
“Theoretically, human settlement need not necessarily be fatal,” he said. “But the corridors would have to be intact, car speeds would have to be low, dogs would have to be small, tree plantings would have to be suitable – I doubt whether residents would obey.”
is Environment Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald. He covers broad environmental issues ranging from climate change to renewable energy for Fairfax Media.