HSI commends federal Environment Department for tackling nature’s housing crisis in Sydney
Humane Society International fully supports the federal Department of Environment for its recommendation to the federal Environment Minister that the Ingleburn Defence Site be sold to form part of the Edmondson Park housing development on the condition that 90% of the endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland on the site is conserved.
The woodland is listed as an endangered ecological community on the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and on the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act both as a result of HSI nominations. Less than 9% of the woodland which once covered the Sydney Basin remains. HSI has recently nominated the community for upgraded protection as ‘critically endangered” because it continues to be cleared for housing development.
“Nature’s housing crisis in the Sydney basin is far more severe than that experienced by Sydneysiders”, said Nicola Beynon, HSI Wildlife and Habitat Program Manager
HSI is disappointed with the comment by opposition housing spokeswoman, Sussan Ley, quoted in The Australian today that “it surprises her that the conservation figure is set at 90% and I think common sense should prevail”. If by this she means saving 90% of CPW on the site is not common sense then we should like to point out that Commonwealth and NSW Governments are bound by law to ensure that what little remains of the woodland is protected. “Saving 90% of what remains on this particular site is vital, let alone sensible. The figure should be 100%”, said Ms Beynon.
HSI deplores the NSW Government’s Biodiversity Certification for the North West and South West Growth Areas which have switched off their own legal obligations to protect endangered ecological communities and would see 1329ha of Cumberland Plain Woodland cleared – including 111ha adjacent to the Ingleburn Defence Site that will also form part of the Edmondson Park. “HSI calls on the Commonwealth Government to deploy all possible provisions of the federal EPBC Act to ensure this wholesale clearance of Cumberland Plain Woodland cannot happen. The Federal Environment Minister has the power to veto any further clearance of Cumberland Plain Woodland and we will expect him to use it”, said Ms Beynon.
HSI will be writing to Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, asking that he agrees to the Department’s recommendation but further asking that he list this site and all remaining remnants of Cumberland Plain Woodland on the EPBC Act Register of Critical Habitat to provide additional safe guards.