NSW’s leading conservation groups have welcomed the Coalition’s recognition that protecting and enhancing the natural environment should be a core responsibility of our next State government.
The Coalition’s investment $103 million over four years will deliver positive environmental outcomes by supporting improved management of natural areas and resourcing community action to restore degraded bushland. However, greater investment will be required to adequately address the challenges facing our environment in coming years.
National Parks Association of NSW Executive Officer Kevin Evans said, “The creation of Dharawal National Park and the extension of Goolawah National Park are vital for the preservation of threatened species and endangered ecological communities. We’d like to see a commitment to building a comprehensive and representative reserve system.
“Although the number of national parks has grown over the past decade, NSW still has the second lowest percentage of landscapes and essential wildlife habitat protected in the reserve system across all of Australia. The additional $10 million per year for weed and feral animal management in our National Parks will strengthen the protection of native animals and their habitat in these high conservation value areas,” he said.
Nature Conservation Council of NSW Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said, “More than 900 species are listed as threatened with extinction in our state, yet successive governments have failed to protect their habitats and the natural ecosystems that support them,” Mr Clarke said.
“The $1.4 million a year additional funding provided to protect threatened species will not go far enough unless the Coalition also addresses some of the key threats to native species, including loss of habitat through inappropriate development and unsustainable logging of forests,” he said.
Total Environment Centre Director Jeff Angel said, “The Coalition is playing a dangerous game with the future of Western Sydney’s environment. The protection of Cranebrook Nature Reserve, the potential purchase of conservation corridors and improved air monitoring will have positive local environmental outcomes. However, their positive benefits could soon be swamped by the impact of Barry O’Farrell’s plans for greater urban sprawl in Western Sydney.
“An O'Farrell government must ensure the extra data on air quality is a fundamental constraint to urban sprawl. The health of tens of thousands of people is not negotiable and undoubtedly more cars in hot western sydney summers are a recipe for serious problems.' ,” he said.
This financial year, spending on environment, climate change and water accounted for a modest 2.5% of the state’s $56.9 billion budget. The leading conservation groups are calling for the next NSW government to strategically invest 5% of the NSW budget in nature and protect the future health of our environment, economy and society.
Joint media release: Nature Conservation Council of NSW, National Parks Association of NSW, Total Environment Centre, The Wilderness Society, Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Colong Foundation and North Coast Environment Council.