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New Report Shows Coastal NSW As We Know and Love it at Risk from Unchecked Development

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
18 January 2023

A 40-page report released today by Greens MP and planning spokesperson Cate Faehrmann, details a litany of unsustainable and inappropriate developments right along the NSW coast that will take away everything that everybody loves about coastal NSW if they’re allowed to go ahead.

The report, Concreting Our Coast: The developer onslaught destroying our coastal villages and environment”, documents 20 case studies from the length of the NSW coast. These new housing developments pose a serious cumulative threat to bushland, wildlife and coastal villages.

“In town after town, community groups are fighting damaging and inappropriate developments that threaten to overwhelm their already struggling local services and infrastructure, and wipe out much of the precious bushland that surrounds them,” said Cate Faehrmann.

“This report shows just how scary the big picture is. The NSW Liberal-National government has given developers the green light to bulldoze thousands of hectares of bushland for development.  Everywhere you look, our precious coast is about to disappear under a layer of concrete and houses crammed together like sardines.

“We’re not talking about a couple of small bush blocks here. We’re talking about the destruction of very environmentally sensitive areas, as well as Aboriginal cultural heritage,  on a massive scale. If it’s not stopped, our beautiful NSW coast will be unrecognisable in a matter of a few short years.

“Much of the bushland destined to be clearfelled on the South Coast is the last remaining habitat for wildlife after the Black Summer fires. Greater gliders, glossy black cockatoos, swift parrots, powerful owls - these animals have nowhere left to go, and the sheer scale of all of these developments could well push them to extinction.

“The report also shows that many of the new developments are planned on floodplains and wetlands, or in areas of high bushfire risk.

“There is no way we should be building homes in these risky locations. The last four years have shown just how much the climate crisis is affecting our homes, with more and more extreme weather events.”

“Many of these proposed developments are off the back of ‘zombie DAs’ that were approved decades ago avoiding any need to undertake the type of environmental or cultural heritage impact scrutiny required today,” said Ms Faehrmann.

Framework Principles to Save our Coast

More than 25 local community groups, many which formed to fight these developments, have signed onto a set of Framework Principles to Save our Coast.

Quotes from Claire Haywood from the Culburra Residents & Ratepayers Action Group

“There is other already cleared land available in the Shoalhaven region that is not prone to flooding and closer to existing infrastructure that could and should be developed to assist with the housing shortage.

As a coastal village, Culburra does not have the infrastructure in terms of roads and facilities to support a permanent threefold increase in population. 

When you have 80 per cent of Shoalhaven bushland burnt to the ground, any future coastal land development must be done in a responsible and respectful manner to everyone who shares that land.

Quotes from Cat Holloway from the Callala Environmental Alliance

The 40ha in Callala Bay slated for development is diverse Coastal Lowland Forest, a habitat type designated as “critically endangered”.

More than 1000 submissions opposed the development plan on environmental grounds - more than 97% of the community spoke out against this destruction of Greater Glider and other threatened species habitat.

People need affordable homes, near jobs, transport, health facilities and infrastructure. We don’t more overpriced real estate and expensive rentals. We don’t need more dangerous traffic, more polluted waterways or more properties at risk from bushfire. 

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
18 January 2023
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