MP fears proposed Menangle Park housing increase will set dangerous precedent


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MP fears proposed Menangle Park housing increase will set dangerous precedent

Local News

Greg Warren

 Greg Warren

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren fears a decision to substantially increase the number of homes in a Menangle Park development could set a dangerous precedent in the growing Macarthur region.

The Dahua Group has sought to increase the number of dwellings in its Menangle Park development to about 4000 and establish a high-density zone.

Mr Warren fears if concessions are made to allow the increase in Menangle Park, further increases could be expected in the Mount Gilead and Wilton growth areas as well.

“Allowing a developer to increase the dwellings cap by a third sets a dangerous precedent,” he said.

“If the entire Greater Macarthur Land Release dwelling cap [of 35,000 new homes] increased by a third, that would result in close to 50,000 dwellings being built.

“Campbelltown infrastructure like public transport, health, schools and roads already can’t cope.”

A Dahua Group spokeswoman said the developers had worked had to deliver a good housing precinct.

“It would not be appropriate for Dahua to comment on setting precedent for other projects,” she said.

“Dahua has taken a collaborative and best practice approach to planning for the long-term future of Menangle Park and the Macarthur region. This planning proposal is the result of over two years of work with Campbelltown Council, the existing Menangle Park community and other key stakeholders.”

The spokeswoman said the Dahua masterplan would bring “significant benefit to the local and regional community” and the proposed changes would “enable increased diversity of housing for Menangle Park residents [and] ensure hat the community will be able to accommodate all potential residents”.

“The increased density will be appropriately located in proximity to the new town centre and associated with high amenity and increased open space. The increased population will also enable the introduction of a larger town centre so residents will be less dependent on private transport while creating further job opportunities.”




The ‘tweak’ coming to Sydney’s vast golf courses

IT seems that in Sydney rather than planning … it has been a case of ‘plotting’ …as if we have not lost out already … looks like they are now plotting to encroach on our golf courses

‘Get outa the way Sydneysiders … move on for the HNW flying in and buying … ‘

EXTRACT from ‘The Unconventional Economist’ … ‘First Sydney, now Melbourne feeds golfers to developers’

‘The lengths policy makers will go to support the mass immigration ponzi knows no bounds. Rather than slowing the deluge by cutting immigration, the government wants to cannibalise Sydney’s golf courses.

Infrastructure Australia’s projections for Sydney reveal that access to green space, along with access to roads, public transport, jobs, schools and hospitals, will worsen as the city’s population balloons to 7.4 million people by 2046, irrespective of whether Sydney builds upwards or outwards.’

P.S.  The Victorian Government has now also proposed new state-wide planning guidelines for golf course redevelopments, which would lock-out councils from the planning process and allow courses to be sold-off to developers.

However, the Kingston Council, which has 11 golf courses within its boundary, is fighting back, demanding that golf courses be retained as open space for the communities’ benefit:



The ‘tweak’ coming to Sydney’s vast golf courses

As Sydney’s population grows beyond 5.8 million in the next decade, its golf courses could be put to better use.

By Matt Bungard

SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

From the north, Avondale, Gordon and Killara golf courses.
From the north, Avondale, Gordon and Killara golf courses. CREDIT:GOOGLE MAPS

A swimmable Parramatta River and man-made beaches will be some of the ways people in Sydney can experience the water without a trek to the coast – while narrow, long parklands and shared areas on golf courses will help Sydneysiders make the most of our green space as the population swells beyond 5.8 million in the decade to come.

“The good news is we’ve actually got plenty of space in Sydney. We’ve just been pretty lazy about the way in which we’ve allocated it in the past,” says Planning Minister Rob Stokes.

Corridors are key, he says, particularly in the creation of linear parks. New parks will become narrower but more connected to other open spaces.

One such park was recently opened between a stretch of apartment buildings across several blocks in Mascot, while The Goods Line in Ultimo spans nearly one kilometre from Railway Square to Darling Harbour.

Multi-use golf courses on the way

Linear parks may be few and far-between in Sydney in 2019, but golf courses are plentiful. There are 81 in Sydney, and their linear nature could be useful in future projects. There are three within a four-kilometre radius on the north shore: Avondale, Gordon and Killara.

An overview of Killara Golf Club, which is close to two other courses.
An overview of Killara Golf Club, which is close to two other courses.CREDIT:MARK MERTON

“We don’t need to remove golf courses, we just need to tweak them to provide more benefit to a greater number of people,” Mr Stokes says. He gives the example of having bike paths and running tracks on the edges of golf courses as “having your cake and eating it too”.

“We need to think of ways to include the community, rather than exclude, while at the same time meeting the needs of the golfing community,” Mr Stokes says, adding golf courses are ideal for the government’s plan to plant 5 million trees throughout greater Sydney by 2030.

The need for green space

The government has a target of increasing the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of green public space by 10 per cent by 2023 – currently, nearly half of the people in Sydney’s west live more than 400 metres from an open space. “We need green lungs in the west just as much as in the east,” Mr Stokes says.

But it’s not just green space that Sydney’s booming population will need – it’s blue space, too.

Taking a dip

Sydneysiders are aquatic people – and a series of projects, spearheaded by the cleaning of the Parramatta River, will give residents in the western suburbs more access to water-based activities without long commutes.

A decade-long project to make large parts of the river safe for swimming has begun. There are 12 new swimming sites along the river to go with four existing ones – as far east as the heritage-listed Dawn Fraser Baths at Balmain and as far west as a proposed site at Little Coogee, Parramatta Park.

Major chemical industries from the early 1900s identified the Parramatta River as dumping grounds for waste discharge and some areas – particularly near Homebush – are almost beyond cleaning.

“We have a big legacy of dioxins contaminating that part of the harbour – and that’s not going to go away any time soon,” says Stuart Khan, a professor at UNSW’s school of civil and environmental engineering who has worked on the river project.

Dioxins are highly toxic pollutants which are not easily killed – as opposed to bacteria, which is a short-term problem resulting from stormwater run-off.

“You can make the whole river swimmable by keeping contaminated stormwater out of the river, but there’ll always be a few hotspots of dioxins,” Professor Khan says.

Dioxins stick to sediment, so as more sediment is laid down the dioxins get further buried, diminishing their impact. “It’s possible to dredge a river but you could do as much damage as you would improve anything,” Professor Khan says. “The only real option is to avoid contaminated sites.”

In addition to the river, Homebush will soon be home to the country’s first man-made surf park, Campbelltown City is currently building an artificial billabong, and the government says it is examining a similar project at the Prospect Reservoir.

Expect a rise in synthetic pitches

While there are many projects aimed at getting people more active, adult participation numbers are shifting towards yoga and pilates and away from organised team sports.

Then Sports Minister John Sidoti said the Active Kids program, which offers parents a rebate for their children participating in team sport, had been “fantastic” but there was more work to be done.

 Woollahra has transformed from a regular turf field to high-tech synthetic pitch.
Woollahra has transformed from a regular turf field to high-tech synthetic pitch. CREDIT:IAN COHEN

“We’ve also got some work to do in large multicultural areas and in terms of Indigenous participation,” he says.

Synthetic pitches have become more popular in the past few years, and lighting has been added. “Come Monday if it rains, [grass fields] aren’t fit for purpose on a Friday,” Mr Sidoti says.

Ryde Council is home to several synthetic pitches, with plans to convert three more by 2022. Converting grass pitches can increase their usage rate throughout a week from 40 hours to 80 or 90.

They may need every extra hour possible – a 10-month audit from Football NSW this year estimated soccer would be 700 pitches short by 2030 and will need to find room for 120,000 participants.

The number of beach-going visitors to Sydney is growing year-on-year, with 6.1 million visitors in the year ending March 2019, a 60 per cent increase from 2011. Overall tourism numbers are expected to increase in the next decade, with visitors for sporting and cultural events also increasing substantially in that time.

From the north, Avondale, Gordon and Killara golf courses.

Matt Bungard

Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.




The Green Necklace: a new perspective on Sydney Harbour’s parklands

Many of Sydney Harbour’s built structures are heritage listed but the landscapes that give the Harbour Bridge and Opera House their power are not recognised for their cultural significance.

A timely study of the harbour’s “green necklace” of cultural landscapes looks to change that.

Cities, places and the people who make them

The heritage-listed Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge owe much to the land and waterscape of the harbour itself. A new study aims to increase listing of cultural landscapes. Photo: Trent Szmolnik
The heritage-listed Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge owe much to the land and waterscape of the harbour itself. A new study aims to increase listing of cultural landscapes. Photo: Trent Szmolnik


The Green Necklace: a new perspective on Sydney Harbour’s parklands

Many of Sydney Harbour’s built structures are heritage listed but the landscapes that give the Harbour Bridge and Opera House their power are not recognised for their cultural significance. A timely study of the harbour’s “green necklace” of cultural landscapes looks to change that.

Writer Foreground

Imagery various sources

August 15, 2019

Of the recent big-picture winners of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) New South Wales (NSW) awards, one project stands out as particularly ambitious. Challenging how we even conceive of landscape, the AILA (NSW) Landscape Heritage Conservation Listing Project provides a framework for us to reexamine, reflect on, articulate and value cultural landscapes. In views crowded with famous structures, the project helps us see and appreciate the significance of Sydney Harbour’s parks, gardens, open space and remnant bushland.

Sydney Harbour’s Green Necklace

A specialist team comprising registered landscape architect Christine Hay, landscape heritage consultant Colleen Morris and registered architect James Quoyle have received an Award of Excellence at the annual AILA NSW awards. All three also have heritage conservation qualifications. Their study of the cultural heritage of assorted green spaces ringing Sydney Harbour included “parks, government institutions, Crown land, fragments of open space and remnant bushland, linked to create the ‘Green Necklace’’. Their project – The AILA NSW Landscape Heritage Study – has also received a National Trust Heritage Award for Landscape Conservation. The work developed a ‘landscape lens’ method focused on a whole-of-landscape approach that looked beyond the limitations of cadastral boundaries to include visual and water catchments as part of the shared heritage value of significant landscapes.

Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s great harbours. Its shores are dotted with iconic structures including the Sydney Opera House, and are linked by another icon, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. These structures and many more are heritage listed, but it is arguably the harbour itself that lends them their power. However the landscape – the land and water of Sydney Harbour – is not as a whole protected. This project set out to offer improved ways to consider and gain such recognition for important landscapes. As explained in the first volume of the study: “In the past the SHR listing process evolved from a fabric-based approach which focused on significant built elements with landscape as a setting. What is required is to invert the process where landscape is the significant item with the important built structures as elements within and responding to it.”

The ten sites finally chosen by the study for nomination to the SHR are a series of landscape gems forming an interwoven ‘green necklace’ around and across Sydney Harbour.
The ten sites finally chosen by the study for nomination to the SHR are a series of landscape gems forming an interwoven ‘green necklace’ around and across Sydney Harbour.

Securing heritage recognition and protection for places takes time. As well as the time needed to develop detailed reports there is the process of assessment. It can take many years, working with many people, including owners and custodians, to understand and document the values of a place. Christine Hay and the team were working with a grant awarded by the Heritage Council, administered by the Heritage Division of the NSW State Government. The grant was to research and develop applications for ten sites of landscape heritage significance for the NSW State Heritage Register (SHR), increasing the number of landscapes listed as well as overall appreciation of landscape values and a method to better enable future nominations.

While the SHR criteria for listing allow for recognition of landscapes as significant heritage sites for, among other reasons, their ‘natural’ history and environmental values, an early workshop with landscape architectsand heritage consultants, for the study found that many practitioners believed landscapes were not well represented in the SHR list and that their significance was not sufficiently appreciated or understood. Even though visual assessment and mapping of views are well-documented planning tools, it is unusual to include water within a proposed heritage area. Hay, Morris and Quoyle considered the waterplane of Sydney Harbour in their review of potential sites for heritage listing, and concluded to add adjacent waters in their final ten nominations. The result is a series of landscape gems forming an interwoven ‘green necklace’ around and across the harbour.

Talk to stakeholders beforehand

Hay acknowledges the importance of working closely with those in government and elsewhere who can help guide and develop reports to most effectively produce successful nominations. The team’s process included early meetings with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH, now Heritage, Department of Premier and Cabinet) and the AILA NSW Chapter, Landscape Heritage Group (ALHG) amongst others. “Step by step we brought all our thinking together,” explains Hay. “A nomination for heritage listing comes from the community, in this case the AILA” says Hay “and we feel our nominations are quite strong because we had already worked so much with stakeholders and government.”

What is particularly interesting, yet difficult, is recognising a cultural landscape that is not clearly bounded.

Consultation and collaboration formed an integral part of this pre-working process. The team’s award submission acknowledged the ALHG (Matthew Taylor (Chair), Helen Armstrong, Craig Burton, Oi Choong and Annabel Murray)and staff from North Sydney Council, Aboriginal Heritage Office, Property (NSW), as well as officers of the OEH as collaborators. Hay remembers in particular how helpful Christina Kanellaki Lowe of OEH was in seeing beyond the site to a wider landscape significance. Hay is hopeful for the listing of their ten nominated sites and is excited that tBerry Island Reserve and Wollstonecraft Foreshore Reserves may be progressing toward SHR listing as one landscape.

Joining the Dots

Created in 1999, the New South Wales State Heritage Register (SHR), administered by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), contains over 20,000 statutory-listed items in either public or private ownership. But while there are sites listed on national and even world heritage registers they are not state listed. The (now) Royal National Park outside Sydney is Australia’s oldest national park and the second in the world. It was added to the Australian National Heritage List in December 2006, and is also listed by local government but is not on the SHR. The team documented a Greater Royal National Park as their first nomination for the register.

“Landscape is vast” – Christine Hay

What is particularly interesting, yet difficult, is recognising a ‘site’ that is not clearly bounded. “Landscape is vast” explains Hay, and the team set an ambitious initial overview of possibilities for site listings. Undertaken over two and a half years, the study’s philosophy ‘the landscape lens’ evolved from a mapping resource identified by the ALHG. Its principles, in line with the Burra Charter, consider natural systems, spatial qualities, historical development and human responses to place.

“We started looking at landscape conservation areas” which are recognised as precincts in the Heritage Act 1977, “but the potential number of sites to assess in each was too big”. There was limited time and funding to develop the nominations themselves – which constitute Volume 3 of the report –  but the preliminary work of the first two volumes which established and put into practice the ‘landscape lens’ will greatly assist future listing of significant landscapes.

The AILA NSW Landscape Heritage Study is a ‘heritage’ report, rather than an environmental or ecological report. But the protection and restoration of ‘natural’ vistas and landscapes is being recognised as a vital part of the effort to preserve the historic identity of urban places. As the heritage study suggests, a “major shift in thinking is required to recognise that landscapes themselves are an essential component of cultural heritage in addition to individually significant trees, buildings, gardens and archaeological sites.”

“One of the main differences [about this approach to heritage] from my perspective is thinking about landscape as a catchment, which implies connectivity” – Christine Hay

Heritage significance can and does lie in the natural systems and qualities of a site as much as social and historical association. There is an obvious logic too in recognition of environmentally distinct landscapes as also culturally significant – beautiful places inspire cultural responses, while natural materials, geology, flora and fauna are what social practices, economies and local settlement grows from and reflects. Aboriginal cultural heritage and history is one very important aspect of this that the team looked to draw more attention to.

For Hay the project speaks to understanding the bigger picture of the landscapes around us. Investigating and documenting this for heritage listing helps make this important interpretation available to people. “One of the main differences [about this approach to heritage] from my perspective is thinking about landscape as a catchment, which implies connectivity.”

A view of Berry Island with beach and water demonstrates the importance of waterscapes as an integral part of Sydney Harbour cultural landscapes. Photo: provided

A view of Berry Island with beach and water demonstrates the importance of waterscapes as an integral part of Sydney Harbour cultural landscapes. Photo: provided

Sydney Harbour has a green necklace of open spaces with adjasent water views worthy of heritage listing as cultural landscapes. Photo: provided

Sydney Harbour has a green necklace of open spaces with adjasent water views worthy of heritage listing as cultural landscapes. Photo: provided

A track around Berry Island in Sydney Harbour. Berry Island Reserve is one of 10 cultural landscapes nominated for heritage listing in the study. Photo: provided

A track around Berry Island in Sydney Harbour. Berry Island Reserve is one of 10 cultural landscapes nominated for heritage listing in the study. Photo: provided

Another key criteria of the study in pursuing significant landscapes for listing was to review the exemplary work of a passing generation of Australia’s first landscape architects. “Older practitioners are looking back at their legacy and wondering about the values of those times that are manifest in the work” says Hay. All forms of landscape are under threat from development, but more recently designed landscapes are even less regarded as potential heritage places than either natural environments or places of indigenous significance. Hay mentions Andrew Pfeiffer as one such practitioner of many. David Banbury, landscape architect and project manager from North Sydney Council works with the challenges of protecting heritage assets such as the landmark wharf at the former coal transport depot at Balls Point Reserve. Banbury recently highlighted the importance of the Coal Loader site as a community place that has come to represent the intersection of the old and new.

Small Triumphs in the Recognition of Landscape Heritage

The heritage value of cultural landscapes is already reflected in the SHR criteria, as it is in UNESCO world heritage values, and is part of what has made the Burra Charter so influential. The charter influentially acknowledged a range of values that were different to those evident for European historical monuments where heritage conservation was initially formalised. Hay and her team were grateful for their consultation with the Australia ICOMOS National Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes and Cultural Routes, responsible for the Burra Charter and its revisions.

This project follows in the footsteps of global measures to recognise less tangible, yet still demonstrably valuable cultural heritage. UNESCO provides an international listing of intangible cultural heritage which includes sounds, smells and practices as part of protected local legacies. Australia has no entry in this listing. Last week it was reported that France may legislate to protect rural noises, as tourists complain about noisy roosters, church bells, cicadas and farm machinery. As the news report notes, a territory’s identity is marked by its “landscape, flora and fauna [but also] more than what the eyes can see.”

Despite its importance, there is no national-level guideline for Landscape or Visual Assessment (LVA) in Australia. The Planning Institute of Australia will hold a workshop in October on this issue. Landscape architects in Australia have relied largely on documents from international landscape architecture institutes and government bodies. The Department of Premier and Cabinet has collated many local references and pursued research projects to provide practical guidance to land managers in the conservation of cultural and community landscape heritage. But, as suggested in a new book by former Chair of the Australian Heritage Commission Professor David Yencken, the richness of Australia’s national heritage listings has been an ongoing concern since our relatively recent start at conservation efforts.

The number of heritage nominations that make use of landscape values and recognise landscapes as heritage places is much lower than the more easily argued and defined aspects of built form and constructed historic objects.

“It’s a slow raising of awareness” says Hay who is encouraged that other AILA awards this year also looked to a bigger picture of landscape value. The next steps for the team include promoting further interest in the work. Their study has already piqued the interest of several local councils, keen to list and protect more of their local landscapes.  At state level the team has met with Barbara Schaffer, Principal Landscape Architect in the Office of the Government Architect NSW and presented their work.  Hay feels the work is part of an inevitable and welcome trend to a more mature, sensitive and richer inhabitation of our landscapes.

This year the AILA NSW awards recognised a number of very big projects with an Award of Excellence. The scope of the Western Sydney Parklands Design Manual by NewScape Design in collaboration with Western Sydney Parklands Trust, recognises the pressures and potential of the fastest-growing region in Australia’s biggest city. Similarly a massive new park was envisaged in the Southern Parklands Frameworkby Tyrrell Studio in Collaboration with Western Sydney Parklands Trust. The Sydney Water Waterway Health Improvement Program (WHIP) by McGregor Coxall is a major green and blue infrastructure project, while their Cooks to Cove GreenWay project connects the under-utilised infrastructure corridors of 108 hectares of remnant ecologies. The reference guide Everyone Can Play: A Guideline to Create Inclusive Playspaces is, by definition, an all-encompassing best practice toolkit of case studies and examples to assist in delivering playspaces for everyone. More awards were made to further ambitious, large-scale and long-term projects.

The legacy and future of Squares and Parks is the focus of this year’s International Festival of Landscape Architecture in Melbourne, 11-12 October.

ICOMOS 20th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium will be held in Sydney in 2020. The Green Necklace will be a central idea for the conference.

Christine Hay, Colleen Morris and James Quoyle are all members of the Australian Garden History Society (AGHS) whose conference will also be held in Sydney in 2020.AILA Awardsenvironmentlandscape





CENTRAL COAST MAYOR Jane Smith spoke about the wetlands this week and said they were a critical part of our natural environment and important for biodiversity.


Davistown wetlands: Council in negotiations to buy land


More than 18 months after rare Davistown saltmarsh wetlands were put on the market for $124 million, Central Coast Council is inching toward buying them — but for how much?

Wildlife at Davistown Wetlands. Picture: Troy Snook
Wildlife at Davistown Wetlands. Picture: Troy Snook


More than 18 months after rare Davistown wetlands were put on the market with an asking price of $124 million, Central Coast Council is inching toward buying them.


*But the sale price is likely to be considerably less than that after the 19.26 hectares of environmentally sensitive land were passed in at auction in October 2017 with a single “lowball” bid of $7 million.

Map showing wetlands for sale around Lillipilli St, Pine Ave, and Kincumber Cres at Davistown. Picture: Google Maps


The land is also subject to complicated low density residential and conserservation zonings which are thought to make significant development unlikely.

Central Coast Council last week voted to investigate the “condition and status” of the land parcels in Lillipilli St, Pine Ave, Kincumber Cres, and Malinya Rd and to start negotiations with the land owner, Ettalong Beach businessman Tony Altavilla.

Davistown Wetlands at Davistown. Picture: Troy Snook


The matter was discussed in confidential session but council is seeking “a fair and reasonable price” to buy the land which, if successful, would be reclassified as community land and “binding protections” placed on it.

Save Davistown Wetlands Committee member Jo — Anne Lloyd said the community hoped agreement could be reached between council and the owner.

Save Davo Wetlands committee member Jo-Anne Lloyd at the Davistown Public meeting in 2017.


“We are waiting with bated breath with all our fingers and toes crossed” Mrs Lloyd said.

“At least the discussion is progressing — but our main issue is still the protection of the wetlands — ideally in public hands,” she said.

“If council is able to buy the wetlands, we hope they will not just leave them but will also look after them.”

Mrs Lloyd said the land could potentially be used for environmental education.”

Wildlife at Davistown Wetlands. Picture: Troy Snook


Davistown wetlands were listed for sale under the name “Tidal Shoals” in 2017 with a slick advertising campaign promoting the land as an “opportunity for an astute investor or syndicate”.

Shortly after a packed public meeting was held with hundreds of people protesting about the sale of the land for possible development.

Davistown Progress Hall was packed to discuss the sale of Davistown wetlands in 2017.


Central coast Mayor Jane Smith spoke about the wetlands this week and said they were a critical part of our natural environment and important for biodiversity.

“They provide habitat for animals and plants that may not be found elsewhere and important for the health of our estuaries,” Cr Smith said.

Council has resolved to look to acquire the Davistown wetlands to ensure their permanent protection.

An important part of that resolution is that if they are acquired, the land is reclassified as community land and a binding conservation agreement is investigated so that they remain permanently protected in public hands,” she said.

“That is the outcome we want. Permanent protection for wetlands and our natural reserves is crucial and a priority for Council.

Central Coast Mayor Jane Smith hopes Davistown Wetlands will be brought permanently into public hands. Picture: Sue Graham


Council recently reaffirmed its commitment to protect and improve the biodiversity and environmental value of the Coastal Open Space System (COSS) and COSS will be expanded into the north of the Central Coast.

Council has already made moves to protect the Porters Creek wetland, the largest freshwater wetland on the Central Coast, too with a push for its reclassification to community land and for international recognition.”


■ Saltmarshes occur at the upper levels of intertidal zones and are often found on the landward side of mangroves.

■ There are an estimated 118 hectares of saltmarsh left in the Gosford area — including some at Davistown and Saratoga.

Davistown wetlands.

Other examples are protected in small reserves at Cockle Bay, on Riley’s Island and on Pelican Island.

■ One of the interesting characteristics of salt marches is that they contain a small number of plant types but all of them are uniquely adapted to dealing with their salty environment.

■ Saltmarshes act as fish nurseries for some juvenile commercial fish and crab species and reduce the among of sediments and nutrients which run off into the estuary.

Saltmarshes are listed as Endangered Ecological Communities in NSW as they are in danger of becoming extinct.







Mayor Jane Smith has lodged a notice of motion for tonight’s council meeting which among other things calls for an environmental snapshot of the region to be prepared and the expansion of the Coastal Open Space System into northern suburbs. 

Following the destruction of the bushland and habitat at Kangy Angy for the train maintenance facility … the endangered Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot are present in the Central Coast, and Mahony’s Toadlet that was identified at Kangy Angy …




Central Coast Mayor Jane Smith calls for new measures to protect environment

VIDEO: Why the Central Coast needs to get serious about environmental issues

Central Coast Councillors will be asked to significantly ramp up measures to protect what remains of the region’s natural areas and biodiversity.


Mayor Jane Smith has lodged a notice of motion for tonight’s council meeting which among other things calls for an environmental snapshot of the region to be prepared and the expansion of the Coastal Open Space System into northern suburbs.

Central Coast Mayor Jane Smith. Picture: AAP / Troy Snook.


The motion was prompted by a recent United Nations report which found that one million of the world’s species are now at risk of becoming extinct and calling for action at global, national and local level.

Speaking before the meeting, Mayor Smith, said the predicted rate of extinctions would be felt all over the world — including on the Central Coast.

“The Hunter and Central Coast Regional Management Strategy identifies more than 150 endangered species now in the Hunter and Central Coast. Across NSW there are over 1000. These are alarming statistics,” Cr Smith said.

Critically endangered Swift parrot could be lost on the Central Coast..
Regent honeyeater is disappearing quickly.


“Here on the coast, the species that come immediately to mind are the Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot, which are considered critically endangered and Mahony’s Toadlet, that was identified at Kangy Angy,” she said.

“The threat to the toadlet habitat was one of the many concerns raised about the removal of native vegetation to allow the maintenance facility at Kangy Angy to go ahead.

“There are also other well-known plants and animals on the Central Coast that are at risk including Green and Gold Bell Frog, Somersby Mintbush, Hanging Swamps on the Somersby plateau, Powerful Owl — just to name a few.

Endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog.
Powerful owl is endangered on the Central coast.


“But it’s important that our focus is not just on threatened species — but on biodiversity in general. We should be working to protect biodiversity so that plants and animals don’t reach the point where they are at risk.”

Despite concerns about environmental decline — Cr Smith said no “state of the environment report” had been prepared on the Central Coast since 2012, before amalgamation.

Her motion calls for the report by July next year, including a comparing the current situation with the last known environmental snapshots prepared by the former Gosford and Wyong Councils.

Land before construction started on the rail maintenance facility.
Land after construction started on the rail maintenance facility.


“State of the Environment Report is a Council’s environment report card. It tells us what the state of the environment is at that time and also how it is trending,” she said.

A number of Councils choose to do State of the Environment Reports every yearLake Macquarie Council is one of those.”

Cr Smith said she was keen to both expand and strengthen council’s Coastal Open Space System.

The system was introduced by the former Gosford Council in 1984 providing a unique patchwork of wildlife corridors and protected natural areas.

Cr Smith said she was particularly interested in a special new zoning for COSS lands — an E5 Zone.

Katandra Reserve is part of council’s Coastal Open Space System.
Kincumba Mountain Reserve is also part of the COSS System. Picture: ANDREW SAWATSKE


“The former Gosford Council fought for this zoning and the State Government agreed to it — but it’s yet to be delivered,” she said.

“That would be the strongest possible zoning for land outside a National Park.

“It is something that I intend to continue to raise with the Government and NSW Minister for Planning as it is crucial for the long term protection of environmental land on the Central Coast.

“Certainly a key objective of our own Community Strategy Plan and an action of the State Government’s Central Coast Regional Plan is to expand COSS into the northern parts of the Central Coast.”

Pcouncil’s Coastal Open Space System could be expanded into northern areas. Picture by Andrew Smith.


The Mayor said with the right policies the Central Coast had the potential to become a leader in sustainable development.

“Sustainability is key to my vision for the Central Coast — economic, social and environmental sustainability,” she said.

“It provides opportunities to put the Central Coast on the map.

Map showing location of Central Coast Council Coastal Open Space land (in bright green).


“Green and smart are key themes in our Community Strategic Plan and I absolutely want Council to deliver these priorities that our community has told us are important to them.

“We have created a new Innovation and Futures Department to deliver that. We have a new head of that Department starting next month.”



Dr Wansbrough … is not wrong … our forests, bushlands, flora and fauna are vital for our well being.  We have so little, a mere remnant remains of our Blue Gum High Forest.

Mirvac is proposing R4 high density residential zoning over virtually the whole site, including almost 10 hectares of remnant Blue Gum High Forest.

The photo here depicts development not unlike the Mirvac at Harold Park of townhomes/terraces contained within an apartment block.  The community of The Crescent and Glebe are not happy with the Harold Park redevelopment;  it is stark and out of character with the terraces and cottages of Glebe.

Residents have been opposing redevelopment for higher density of the IBM Site for years …



Doctor warns of West Pennant Hills Mirvac development impacts

Artist impression of the proposed development at 55 Coonara Ave, West Pennant Hills.

A DOCTOR who has objected to a Mirvac development at West Pennant Hills labelled it an amoral move to destroy forests and warned it was dangerous for the community’s mental health.


Dr Robert Wansbrough spoke about the 600-dwelling development planned for 55 Coonara Ave, West Pennant Hills at The Hills Shire council meeting last week. He said said living in such a development could exacerbate mental health problems, including the breakdown of relationships, cause depression and violence.

“When close to nature our heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones decrease, plus our endorphins and good health hormones increase,” Dr Wansbrough said. “Physical, mental and social activities are more enjoyable and more beneficial when they are done in a natural environment rather than in the jungle of buildings, roads, cars, buses and trucks of suburbia.

“Our society has a high incidence of mental illness which is increasing exponentially due to the stresses and pressures of life in these times. Depression, memory loss and cognitive dysfunction can spiral into social isolation, violence and suicide.”

Artist impression of the proposed development at 55 Coonara Ave, West Pennant Hills.


Dr Wansbrough said time spent in a forest such as the one at Coonara Ave could delay or prevent the onset of memory loss and mental disorders.

“It is unconscionable and amoral to allow a forest to be destroyed for commercial exploitation,” he said.

“If our State politicians, bureaucrats and the Hills Shire Council allow the Mirvac development at 55 Coonara Ave, West Pennant Hills to proceed, they will have to be accountable for the harmful effects that replacing 20- plus hectares of native Australian forest with bricks, mortar and asphalt will have on residents.

“If this forest is lost, so will the immense therapeutic and preventive health benefits that this natural resource affords.”

Research by beyondblue said the benefits for people who visited green, open spaces was vast.

Mirvac residential development general manager Toby Long said Mirvac built developments that left a positive legacy. “We focus on the health and wellbeing of those living in and around the communities in which we operate,” he said. “In this case, our proposal maintains the existing natural remnant forests and includes public access to the forest areas and dedication of open space for public recreation.”

The proposed two-storey houses as part of Mirvac’s proposal for Coonara Ave, West Pennant Hills.


WEST Pennant Hills residents’ anxieties over the future of the valley are growing after the State Government released a plan that shows the environmental significance of the site.

Mirvac plans to develop the site at 55 Coonara Ave where forest now stands.

Protecting Your Suburban Environment spokeswoman Jan Primrose said over 270 residents had sent letters voicing their objection to the proposal to the Planning Department, ministers, the developers and Hills Shire council.

Mirvac is proposing the development of 600 high and medium-density houses at the former IBM site.

Ms Primrose said key issues such as the Darling Mills Creek corridor, which was on this site, being included in Sydney’s Green Grid Plan were ignored.

“While there’s a lot of areas in Sydney that are under pressure from Priority Precincts and the resultant overdevelopment, this development is extraordinarily inappropriate,’’ she said.

The Greater Sydney Commission recognised the significance of the Darling Mills Creek as an important waterway for its ecological function and for greening and cooling the urban landscapes of the district in its Draft West Central Plan, which was exhibited in March.

“Many of the problems inherent in this proposal cannot be resolved after a Gateway approval,” Ms Primrose said.

“The problems should have been resolved before council sent the proposal off to the state government for determination — the Planning Department must not approve this development in its current form.”




Residents Infrastructure and Planning Alliance representative Justine Smillie said the Greater Sydney Commission has indicated that a precautionary approach be adopted when considering rezoning employment land.

“It is recognised by planning experts that access to employment near the home is a key element of livability,” she said.

“An alternate option for the site would be an education precinct, noting that the population of the area is forecast to increase by approximately 30 per cent over the next 20 years, there will be a need for additional schools and tertiary education facilities. Both the location and facilities of this site make it ideal for use as an integrated secondary and tertiary campus.”

Mirvac Residential Development general manager Toby Long said Mirvac is working to understand and preserve the ecological importance of the surrounding environment.

“We have done extensive ecological mapping of the site, including the Darling Mills Creek,” he said. “While the planning is still underway, our proposal preserves Darling Mills Creek and the site’s natural remnant forest.

“Our plans sit within the existing footprint of the IBM buildings and roads, and protects the existing Blue Gum High forest and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark forests.”




‘Rampant’ tree removal leading to ‘ecological disaster’ in Sydney’s northwest

THE rampant ecological disaster gathered pace from 2011 with the NSW LNP Planning Law changes … for higher density … Sydney is growing was the subliminal greedy deve-loper message …

SO much for the “buck passing”, blame game …

RYDE COUNCIL around that time was controlled by a casting vote Liberal Mayor pushing for ever more development across the LGA.

The Ivanhoe Public Housing Estate is undergoing demolition as the NSW Government continues to search for replacement housing for tenants for this site to be replaced by almost 2,000 private dwellings, 950 social housing dwellings and 128 affordable homes.

Meanwhile there are 190,000 people on a Waiting List for Public Housing across Australia.  Despite this during the terms of the NSW LNP much of the Public Housing stock has been sold off! (2011 – 2019)

The HORNSBY SHIRE was subject to the ETTT and more than 30,000 trees chopped to make way for a third rail track … from recollection!

AND since then the North-West has been annihilated by tree clearing for high-rise precincts, medium-rise apartment blocks, terraces, townhouses, triplex, duplex and villas … view CAAN Photo Albums to view the impact of their bulk with the loss of amenity for their neighbours!

HOW can saplings replace the shade and beauty of 30, 50, 100 year old indigenous gum trees?


Mature trees being cut down near the Epping town centre last week.
Mature trees being cut down near the Epping town centre last week.

‘Rampant’ tree removal leading to ‘ecological disaster’ in Sydney’s northwest


16 January 2019


Sydney’s northwest is facing an “ecological disaster” as a chainsaw massacre of thousands of trees in leafy suburbs make way for new developments and send urban heat soaring.


Preliminary works on major developments in Macquarie Park and Epping are cutting down hundreds of trees as a war of words breaks out over who is to blame for the “environmental atrocity” turning suburbs into concrete jungles.

As the northwest bakes in searing heat this week, photos taken at various sites near Epping town centre in recent days show how mature trees are being carted off in trucks, leaving barren landscapes in preparation for developments such as the $500 million Cbus three-towers project on Langston Place.

A mature tree cut down on Chambers Court, Epping, last week, leaving a big slab of concrete.


At Macquarie Park, there will be 858 trees removed as part of the Ivanhoe Estate development, where 3500 new dwellings are being built on the corner of Herring and Epping roads.

Ryde Labor Mayor Jerome Laxale said he was stumped about how the “rampant” tree removal was allowed to occur instead of existing natives being included in new developments.

“Any ecologist worth their salt will tell you that you can’t compare a sapling to a 50-year-old tree,” said Cr Laxale, who will challenge Ryde Liberal MP Victor Dominello at the NSW election in March.

“All the sites where they are demolishing trees look like a war zone. It’s shocking and unacceptable to our community.

“The removal of trees at the Ivanhoe site is unprecedented for any one site in Ryde. If these plans are allowed to continue, it will be an ecological disaster.”

Hundreds of trees are being removed to make way for the Ivanhoe estate at Macquarie Park.


Mr Dominello hit back, saying: “The Ivanhoe development will not only result in more trees being planted and more open space than currently exists, it will also deliver affordable housing for local families and the elderly.

“Of the 7500 new dwellings built in Ryde since 2007, 73 per cent were approved by Ryde Council, and 24 per cent by the former Labor Government under the Part 3A regime.

“If the Mayor is serious about protecting trees he should mandate it as part of council’s planning approvals,” the Finance Minister said.

New data shows big developers and mum-and-dad investors are peppering Ryde and Parramatta councils with development applications to remove trees.

In 2018, Parramatta Council received 665 applications for tree removal and pruning, while Ryde had 422 requests for the legal removal or pruning of 666 trees.

In November alone, Parramatta had 37 applications for tree removal and 25 DAs were approved to chop down trees.

A big tree is cut down on Chambers Court, Epping, last week.


Parramatta Labor councillor Donna Davis is barking mad about the “loss of character” in suburbs like Epping.

“The State Government talks about tackling urban heat and striving for a greener city, but the reality is the legislation they passed in relation to trees has made it easier for trees to be removed through a push for increased development,” Cr Davis said.

“It frustrates the hell out of me. And we as a council need to look at our own regulations and look at what we can change to clamp down on all the tree removal.

“Both council and the State Government are not acting fast enough to prevent this environmental atrocity.”

However, Epping State Liberal MP Damien Tudehope said Cr Davis was “misplaced” in her attack on the Berejiklian Government.

“The conditions for development are imposed by councils,” he said. “Councils should be requiring an appropriate landscape plan for sites post-development.

A truck takes away a massive tree trunk in Epping last week.


“Whatever context a development is approved, it should be against a backdrop where there is a council report on tree use at the site.

“And at the sites you referred to in Epping, I’d suggest council has already approved for the removal of these trees. So it’s a bit rich for councillors to come back and say it’s the State Government’s fault for allowing the removal of trees.”

Parramatta Lord Mayor Andrew Wilson blamed the massive tree loss in the northwest on successive state governments dating back to the 1990s when Bob Carr was Premier.

“Bob Carr was a cheerleader for urban consolidation,” Cr Wilson said. “And when you are putting more people into a limited area, the environment is going to suffer.”


For Janet McGarry, the loss of trees at the Cbus development site near Epping train station is “just the tip of the iceberg” as the suburb “loses its very green essence”.

The public domain in the $500m Langston development.


The Epping Civic Trust president said last week’s widespread removal of trees around the town centre was “another nail in an ongoing saga”.

“It is the cumulative total of trees that have been lost that is the problem. It’s not a case of having one worst site for it,” Ms McGarry said.

“The trees always go in developments around the town centre. There’s no effort made to work around the existing trees, many of which are mature indigenous gum trees.

And replanting is not the same as old growth.

“The planning laws must be reviewed urgently to change this environmental disgrace.”

A Cbus spokesman said it had development consent to clear trees to allow for the construction of The Langston’s 19, 24 and 29-storey towers project.

An artist impression of Cbus Property’s mixed-use development on Langston Place, Epping.


“This site clearing necessitated removal of the existing vegetation on site, including five trees along the western side of Chambers Court,” the spokesman said.

“However, it is worth noting that The Langston development proposes the renewal and improvement of existing tree plantings, and associated landscaping elements, including the section along Chambers Court.

“Ultimately, this will result in replacement of the existing trees on the western side of Chambers Court with eight new mature London Plane trees.”

But State Labor candidate for Epping Alan Mascarenhas said the loss of any existing trees was an “atrocity against the historic character of Epping”.

“For me, it’s a simple equation,” he said. “Overdevelopment heats up our suburbs, trees cool them down.

“I don’t want Epping going the way of the Parramatta CBD where developers have run riot and the place is basically a tinderbox in summer.”


Trees are worth billions to Australia’s economy — but how we value them is changing





How much is a tree worth?

In economic terms, your answer depends on how you value them.

Forestry exports contribute $3 billion to Australia’s economy; its manufacturing, sales and service income make up around $24 billion per year.

Increasingly, agroforestry and carbon abatement initiatives also provide an economic benefit.

So while money might not grow on trees, they are becoming more profitable.

The money tree

Forestry makes up less than 1 per cent of Australia’s economy, which is not an insubstantial figure at a regional level.

And forest scientist Rowan Reid says the branches of the tree economy spread wider than you may think.


“It’s a matter of what the trees give you over their lifespan, which is biodiversity, erosion control… and shelter for livestock,” says Mr Reid, who owns a tree farm in Victoria’s Otway Ranges.

“It gives you those values as it’s growing.

“At the end, you cut a tree down, you’ve got the value of the timber. That’s the cherry on top.”

Andrew Jacobs, from plantation-based forestry company Forico, says it’s not possible to put a dollar value on a single tree.

“It depends how old the tree is, depends a bit on where it is,” he says.

Forico operates 185,000 hectares of land in Tasmania; more than half of that is plantation forest.


Mr Jacobs says an individual tree can cost anywhere between $1.50 to $2 to plant, and much more in maintenance.

In return, softwood trees “range from $70 to $175 per green metric tonne at the mill door,” he says, while hardwoods range from $100 to $140.

Are we valuing trees appropriately?

Peter Kanowski, a professor of forestry at the Australian National University, says we need to change the way we value trees to assess their full benefit.

Like Mr Reid, he says a tree’s profitability is about more than the wood sales it generates; they deliver “a much wider range of ecosystem services”.

This includes “carbon sequestration [and] water catchment values, depending on the tree’s biodiversity”.

“Our mechanisms for valuing those other than carbon are still pretty rudimentary,” he says.


For Mr Reid, it’s clear that managing a treed property is more profitable than a cleared property.

A land valuer recently placed his farm, Bambra, at around 30 per cent more financially lucrative because of its tree cover.

“You have a farmer who wants to buy [your property] because it’s well sheltered, you’ve got an environmentalist who wants to buy it because it’s actually providing biodiversity values, you’ve got someone who buys it because they anticipate that one day those trees will produce a high-value timber,” he explains.

“And then you’ve got someone who just says, ‘This is just a beautiful property, I want to buy it’.”

Changing nature of trees

Mr Reid is now a vocal proponent of agroforestry, which is increasingly gaining traction in Australia.

“Our family has been involved in farming for a couple of hundred years,” he says.

“If you look at it honestly, we’ve been involved in the degradation of our Australian landscape and the agricultural landscape.

“I saw the opportunity where forestry could be a regenerative, rehabilitating process for our Australian landscape.”



When his family’s attention turned to the next generation of farmers, Mr Reid — then 25 and a recent university graduate — saw an opportunity to take it in a new direction.

“My mum asked me a very simple question: ‘is there something you want to do with farmland?'” he says.

“I said ‘I’ve got this idea about attracting farmers and engaging them in tree-growing, but no one else is doing it the way that I visualised, so if I had some land, I could demonstrate that possibility’.”

Now, he has over 60 different timber species on Bambra farm, and is the chairman of the Australian Agroforestry Foundation.

A billion new trees by 2030?

Mr Jacobs says now is “a really good time to be in the tree business”.

“Demand is very high, around the world… if you’re in a plantation space with good certification and you’re producing a good product, then now is a really good time to be in forestry — which is a great contrast to say 10 years ago.”

Despite this high demand, Australia currently stands as a net importer of forest products.

“Most of what we import in terms of value is pulp and paper; we export wood chips and we re-import pulp and paper products,” Professor Kanowski says.


Mr Jacobs points out that the rate of new plantations has, in fact, decreased in the past decade.

“It’s been in decline or in a steady state, but now is actually declining since around 2008,” he says.

“And that’s a problem for us… we’re obviously selling a lot overseas but it’s not enough to supply our domestic market.”

That hasn’t escaped the Federal Government’s attention — earlier this year, it announced a target of a billion new trees by 2030.

One goal, the report states, is to “meet our future needs for wood and fibre”.

But it also acknowledges that, if the targets are met, we could see an additional 18 megatonnes of additional carbon sequestration in the next decade.

‘Untapped potential’: the role of carbon abatement

Carbon abatement — in this context, the role that trees can help play in sequestering carbon — is another financial incentive for planting more trees.


Skye Glenday is the head of strategy and risk at Climate Friendly, a business helping land managers assess their eligibility for carbon projects.

“If done the right way, the [billion trees goal could] deliver significant carbon abatement across the land,” she says.

Ms Glenday says carbon abatement offers a “significant revenue stream” for farmers she works with.

These schemes primarily operate through the Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.

Ms Glenday works primarily with “mum and dad farmers”, based in north-west New South Wales and south-west Queensland.

“And they’re making decisions about how they can keep their land in agricultural productivity but also allow forest to regenerate on their properties,” she says.

These projects have the potential to bring in tens of thousands of dollars for farmers.

Even the smallest projects, Ms Glenday says, typically earn at least $100,000 each year.

“In the native regeneration areas, we’re finding that carbon is becoming a primary source of income for some landholders,” Ms Glenday says.

“In the plantation sector, it’s more about facilitating the expansion of the plantation sector and helping to address that growth capital need.”


More broadly, Ms Glenday sees the “untapped potential” of carbon abatement.

“We are a company of 25 people; we’ve got 100 projects already established… that delivers 40 million tons of carbon abatement,” she says.

“If a small company can delivery that, then I think collectively across Australia, we can meet our emissions reduction targets — and we’ve got a lot of potential to have a profitable land sector in the process.”

Topics: forestryruraltreesbusiness-economics-and-finance,climate-changeenvironmentcommunity-and-societyaustralia,vicaustralian-national-university-0200,








Action taken to protect the largest fresh water wetland on Central Coast

Porters Creek Wetland on the Central Coast.Porters Creek Wetland on the Central Coast.

Significant steps have been taken to achieve the permanent protection of Porters Creek Wetland, the largest fresh water wetland on the Central Coast.

Mayor, Jane Smith, has made the permanent protection of the Porters Creek Wetlands one of her major goals as the first Mayor of the amalgamated Council. She said it was a “critical part of the bigger picture for that area” in terms of how surrounding land could be developed to create employment. “The former Wyong Council, for some 20 years, and different people, have been recognising its value and it needs protection, and they just haven’t been able to deliver what is required,” she said. “So I am really pleased that we are making progress.”

She said the report considered at the Monday, December 10, Central Coast Council meeting put in place the need to reclassify the SEPP14 (protected) wetland from Operational land to Community land, to ensure it could not be sold off. “I think that is an important first step. “There have been numerous studies of the wetlands and part of the resolution was to pull that information together and turn it into a proposal and a case for why it needs stronger protection. When introducing her motion to the meeting, which was seconded by, Clr Kyle MacGregor, Mayor Smith said she wished to see Council engage a consultant with wetland expertise, to initiate biodiversity stewardship agreement and investigate whether it could be declared as a wetland of international significance. She said she wanted Council to liaise with National Parks and prepare a submission and to look at what planning clauses might be considered for an LEP or DCP to minimise impacts.

“The significant part, in my view, about Porters Creek Wetland, is that it is the largest fresh water wetland on the Central Coast. “Just by nature of the size and role, it is important for Tuggerah Lake, for the run off and water quality going into Tuggerah lakes. “In terms of flora and fauna, it has threatened species and endangered ecological communities.” According to the staff report presented to the meeting, Porters Creek Wetland is significant because of its ecology and its impact on improving downstream water quality from its large catchment area. Work on the December 10 resolution started in March, when Council unanimously resolved to request the CEO to arrange a meeting with the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Planning and other stakeholders to identify mechanisms to permanently protect Porters Creek Wetland.

The meeting was held in May, and several mechanisms to permanently protect Porters Creek Wetland were identified and discussed. Of seven options considered, a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement was considered to be a strong mechanism to protect the wetland. “The next strongest are the existing planning instruments, State and Local, which are already in place,” the staff report said. “A Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement can provide offsets for development opportunities elsewhere, and will support the creation of an income stream to fund the ongoing management of biodiversity in Porters Creek wetland,” it said. “Landowners, including Council, may consider entering into a voluntary Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA) on any parcel of land under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

“There are provisions within the agreement for “in-perpetuity conservation. “Council would be able to sell credits and receive an annual management payment to service the BSA. “This can provide permanent protection for the management of biodiversity and allow for the creation of biodiversity credits for sale. “The resulting stewardship site generates biodiversity credits which represent the expected improvement in biodiversity that will result from the protection and management of the site. “A landholder (Council) can sell the biodiversity credits to a developer, the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, or other interested parties. “Once credits are sold, the site needs to be maintained in perpetuity. “The potential credit status of the Porters Creek wetland land parcels would need to be assessed. “A BSA is registered on the land title.

“When land that includes a BSA is sold, then the new owner takes over the obligations of the stewardship agreement and in return receives payments from the Biodiversity Stewardship Payments Fund.” Another strategy would be to donate the land to National Parks. “NPWS would assess the value for use as a national Park, its diversity and cultural heritage values, recreational opportunities, park management benefits and economic impacts. “The land would need to align with the NSW National Parks System Directions Statement. “This is a strong level of protection. “The national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is the legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places.

“Under the Act, the Federal Environment Minister may declare a specified wetland to be of international importance (often called ‘Ramsar’ wetlands after the international treaty under which such wetlands are listed). “There are presently 12 Ramsar wetland sites in NSW, the closest being Hunter Estuary Wetlands, and Myall Lakes. “The nomination process would include comments from the State. “The process is long [and] a declaration would be unlikely.

Source: Interview, Dec 11 Jane Smith, Central Coast Council Agenda item 5.8, Dec 10 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting Jackie Pearson, journalist


Labor to propose new Environmental Laws to enforce biodiversity and conservation

IT obviously cannot come soon enough!  With much of Australia’s Eastern Coast cleared for overdevelopment … not for Australians but for foreign buyers!  In Sydney’s urban fringes of Wilton, Appin, Mount Gilead, Menangle, Camden, Campbelltown a major threat to Koala habitat!

“Australia’s east coast has been compared to the Amazon as a “deforestation front” in a new global report by the World Wide Fund…

The report assessed 11 deforestation hotspots, where broadscale clearing had occurred at problematic levels since 2010, and where deforestation was expected to continue in the next decade. Eastern Australia was the only location in the developed world to make the list

More broadly, the WWF report explicitly notes that the near exponential rise in human population over the past 70 years has driven a commensurate surge in resource use and pollution!”

The draft platform document would allow a comprehensive approach to biodiversity and conservation

-rejects handing development approval powers to states and territories with any existing agreements in the area to be cancelled

-to properly resource recovery plans for threatened species while preventing land-clearing in critical habitat.

-to introduce a “land-clearing trigger” giving the federal government greater powers to intervene on development approvals

-it addresses issues including the plight of threatened species and the Murray-Darling Basin

TIME to save “industrial lands” for their original purpose and not to be repurposed for residential development!

High immigration is not sustainable!



Labor to propose new environmental laws to enforce biodiversity and conservation

Bill Shorten’s government would, if elected, create a national environment protection authority and a new environment act

Forest in Tasmania
 Labor’s proposals include a new environment act, a science-based EPA to oversee development decisions and a national environment commission to develop legally binding plans and standards for protection. Photograph: Rob Blakers/AAP


A Labor government would bring in new federal environment laws and strong independent agencies including a national environment protection authority (EPA) to enforce them, under a draft policy platform signed off by the ALP national executive.

Developed by a 60-member policy forum chaired by the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, and the outgoing party president, Mark Butler, the platform is the basis for debate at Labor’s national conference in Adelaide next month.

The central environmental proposals include a new environment act, a science-based EPA to oversee development decisions and a national environment commission to develop legally binding plans and standards for protection.

The platform document says the new laws and institutions would allow a comprehensive approach to biodiversity and conservation, replacing a regime that fails to protect the health of the environment.

“It will reflect Australians’ expectations that environmental protection is essential and ensure an effective and efficient national approach to the management of matters of national environmental significance,” it says.

While not everything in the platform is guaranteed to become legislation, the draft document is a significant win for the Labor environment action network (Lean), an internal advocacy group that has run a 15-month campaign for reforms to protect nature.

As revealed by Guardian Australia as part of the Our Wide Brown Land series, ALP branches from every state and territory backed a Lean motion calling for strong national environment laws and an independent agency akin to a “Reserve Bank for environmental management”. By January, 250 party branches had passed the motion. Lean says it has since increased to 456.

*The draft platform rejects handing development approval powers to states and territories, a Coalition push Labor has in the past supported. It says any existing agreements in the area would be cancelled.

It says Labor would protect the rights of civil society groups on environmental matters, make data underpinning decisions publicly available and work with the states to properly resource recovery plans for threatened species while preventing land-clearing in critical habitat. It would introduce a “land-clearing trigger” giving the federal government greater powers to intervene on development approvals.

Felicity Wade, Lean’s national convener, said the proposals recognised the environment was a legacy issue for Labor dating back to reforms introduced under Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke. She said they were driven by the party’s members.

Bill Shorten and Mark Butler, who chaired the policy forum
Bill Shorten and Mark Butler, who chaired the policy forum. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

“Traditionally, the community cares about this stuff more than politicians so it is important that Bill Shorten is saying ‘this matters’,” she said. “People don’t like plastics choking the waterways, and they don’t like species going extinct and they don’t like that we’ve got bad quality air in a number of cities.”

Shorten’s office referred questions to the opposition environment spokesman, Tony Burke. Burke was not available to comment.

The draft platform addresses a number of environmental issues raised in the Our Wide Brown Land series, including the plight of threatened species and the Murray-Darling basin. It may face resistance at the ALP conference, particularly from union delegates concerned about the potential impact on industrial and other developments.

As written, it would likely mean an end to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act introduced by the Howard government in 1999, though some lines suggest keeping and changing it. The existing act was praised for gathering decision-making powers under the environment minister but has been criticised for going too far in giving the minister of the day discretion in how the law is applied.

Several environment and political campaigners told Guardian Australia they believed it was now harder to win environment protection decisions than at any point since before the recognition of landmarks including Kakadu, the Daintree rainforest and the Franklin river in the 1980s.

Along with the Lean push, these concerns have formed the basis for a campaign from about 40 environment groups working as the Places You Love Alliance.

The Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said the draft platform was heartening and necessary. She said threatened species habitat across an area larger than Tasmania had been destroyed since the current environments laws were brought in.

“We will be watching closely to see that these strong measures are embedded in the ALP’s final platform,” she said.

The Wilderness Society’s national campaigns director, Lyndon Schneiders, said: “Saying we’re creating a strong independent institution that would hold governments to account – that’s a powerful thing.”

The draft policy platform includes several statements related to climate change and energy with the goal of transforming the economy to reach net zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050.