Election saves woodland
HSI congratulates both major parties for their commitments to protect two important remnants of endangered and heritage listed Cumberland Plain Woodland at Orchard Hills and Shane Park in western Sydney.
HSI secured listings for Cumberland Plain Woodland on both state and federal environment laws as an 'endangered ecological community' a decade ago and the Orchard Hills and Shanes Park remnants were protected as Commonwealth Heritage places in 2005. “HSI has been frustrated that despite all these layers of legal protection the woodland has still been carved up for development,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Wildlife and Habitat Program Manager.
"We are extremely pleased that two more Commonwealth owned remnants of what little remains of Cumberland Plain Woodland will now be secured in nature reserves regardless of who wins the election,” said Ms Beynon.
The 2001 election saw the Cumberland Plain Woodland remnant on the ADI site protected from a housing development and the 2007 election has brought protection for the remnants at the Orchard Hills and Shanes Park sites in nature reserves. "Thank goodness for federal elections,” said Ms Beynon, "otherwise endangered woodlands in western Sydney would never get the protection they deserve.”
HSI had been particularly concerned that concerns over housing affordability at this election would see the Commonwealth selling off their land at Orchard Hills and Shanes Park for development without due protection for Cumberland Plain Woodland on the sites and had written to both major parties on the matter. "We are very relieved this will not be the case,” said Ms Beynon.
HSI is especially pleased to see the ALP is committing to proper use of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to protect the woodland into the future through the finalisation of a Recovery Plan and an assessment as to whether the remnants should be listed on the Act's Register of Critical Habitat. A draft Recovery Plan for Cumberland Plain Woodland has sat forgotten on the shelves of bureaucrats for years and the current Government ignored HSI's nomination to have Orchard Hills and Shane Park listed as critical habitat.
HSI's gratitude goes to local conservationists such as Geoff Brown who work extremely hard at every election to get parties to commit to protecting this precious woodland.