NSW Upper House Calls on Govt to Halt Development Threatening Campbelltown’s Koalas
The Government must act now to protect Campbelltown’s Koalas said Ms Cate Faehrmann after the NSW Legislative Council passed a motion on Wednesday night calling on the Government to halt any further rezoning and development until underpasses are built on Appin Road and ensure that the two continuous east-west Koala corridors at Mount Gilead are preserved.
The Motion is below and a video of the speech is linked here.
“This is crunch time for Sydney’s koalas, with key decisions around underpasses for Appin Road and koala corridors, being made in the coming weeks. There was a lot of support for my motion in the Upper House last night, though it was disappointing the Government opposed it considering they like to talk up how serious they are about saving Campbelltown’s koalas,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“Environment Minister Matt Kean and Planning Minister Rob Stokes jointly asked the Chief Scientist for advice as to how to protect the Campbelltown koala population and allow the Lendlease development to go ahead. The east-west wildlife corridors and underpasses on Appin Road were the answer.
“Last week however, Campbelltown City Council voted to rezone Stage One of Lendlease’s Mount Gilead development and not require Lendlease to conserve a critical koala corridor. Apparently this is because Transport for NSW hasn’t agreed to build any underpasses yet.
“The Environment Minister says he wants to double koala numbers by 2050. So how can he sit back and allow the destruction of the habitat for what is the last disease-free koala population in NSW and likely the only growing population after the Black Summer bushfires.
“I call on the Transport Minister to urgently approve the construction of underpasses along Appin Road and the Environment Minister to ensure the protection of all necessary koala corridors before the development goes ahead,” said Ms Faehrmann.
The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer’s Advice for protecting Campbelltown’s koalas recommended the construction of two underpasses on Appin Road, otherwise the koala corridors will not able to be used by koalas meaning they will need to be translocated.
I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:
- That, on 18 February 2021, this House agreed to a motion noting Lendlease has offered to fund and construct koala crossing underpasses on Appin Road at Noorumba Reserve and Beulah, which are subject to ongoing investigations, and calling on the Government to enforce the Chief Scientist & Engineer's recommendations regarding the protection of the Campbelltown koala population, prior to any new development commencing at Mt Gilead;
That this House notes that:
- the Campbelltown koala population is genetically unique, chlamydia-free and, spared the devastation of the Black Summer bushfires, likely the only recovering koala population left in NSW;
- The Campbelltown Koala Plan of Management 2018, and the NSW Chief Scientists 30 April 2020 Advice on the protection of the Campbelltown Koala population, both stress the importance of the east-west Koala habitat corridor along Menangle Creek to Noorumba and that it requires widths of between 390 and 425m.
- the Local Planning Panel in December 2020 imposed a condition (22A) that this corridor be adequately protected when it approved DAs for earthworks and subdivision;
- On 2 November 2021, at the request of Lend Lease, Campbelltown City Council voted to once again rezone the Stage One Mount Gilead development to increase the allowable density and to only investigate rezoning of land identified by Condition 22A, to a land use zone suitable for a koala corridor and consistent with the recommendations of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer report;
- Stage One Mount Gilead received biodiversity certification by the then Minister for the Environment on 28 June 2019, however there is no plan to reassess this against this latest rezoning;
- Despite the Chief Scientist & Engineer’s recommendation that underpasses should be constructed under Appin Road no action has been taken to do this; and
- The decision to approve the rezoning of Stage One Mount Gilead rests with the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.
- That this House calls on the Government to halt any further rezoning and development until the Appin Road underpasses are built and the two continuous east-west Koala corridors on the Mount Gilead property, Menangle Creek - Noorumba (Stage 1) and Woodhouse Creek (Stage 2), are protected consistent with the Chief Scientist & Engineer’s Advice.