Penrith City Council has pushed one of the largest fragments of the threatened Cumberland Plain Woodland further towards extinction by approving the removal of 300 hectares of vegetation from the ADI Site, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said today.
Only last month, the NSW Scientific Committee made a preliminary decision upgrading Cumberland Plain Woodland’s status from endangered to critically endangered.
“The council has allowed clearing for housing development in one of the largest remnants of Woodlands, despite human impact being the biggest threat to their overall survival. This decision threatens many endangered species and ecological communities on the ADI Site, and places further pressure on the Cumberland Plain Woodland’s viability,” said Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“The clearing will also fracture the proposed 30km Cumberland Conservation Corridor, supported in principle by Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett.
“The council has fast-tracked its decision although the NSW Planning Minister is still considering submissions on proposed amendments of the zoning plan for the ADI Site - many of which call for more of the site to be protected, not developed.
“We join with local residents in urging Minister Kristina Keneally to rezone the majority of the ADI Site for conservation, and effectively void the Planning Agreement entered into by Penrith City Council and developers Delfin Lend Lease.
“Although the Cumberland Plain Woodland has been listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Actfor 11 years, the State Government has allowed this valuable ecosystem to suffer a death by a thousand cuts.
“For many years we have been calling for the release of the Government’s Recovery Plan for Cumberland Plain Woodland. Now is the time for a state-level plan guiding urgent action and protection to save this unique part of Western Sydney’s natural heritage,” Ms Faehrmann said.