The Nature Conservation Council and National Parks Association have welcomed the creation of 70,000 hectares of new national parks and reserves in Western NSW but expressed disappointment at Opposition attempts to undermine this important conservation outcome by opposing inclusion of 12,000 hectares in the new parks.
A Bill passed in the NSW Parliament yesterday will provide important and overdue protection for wildlife corridors and important vegetation remnants in Western NSW. Most of the new national parks and reserves are located between Narrandera and Dubbo in Central-West NSW.
“The creation of these new parks will protect essential wildlife habitat in some of the most heavily cleared landscapes in NSW, giving many local species a better chance at survival”, said Kevin Evans, Executive Officer of the National Parks Association of NSW.
The Opposition moved amendments to the Bill to block protection of key conservation areas, including Yathong State Forest (8,364 hectares), one of the most important wildlife habitat areas in the region. The motion was unsuccessful and the Bill was passed unamended.
“The Opposition’s attempt to block protection for these important habitat areas is disappointing. Yathong State Forest is home to at least 24 threatened wildlife species, including the Little Pied Bat and Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo,” said Pepe Clarke, Chief Executive Office of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
In the lead up to the 2011 NSW election, the state’s leading environment groups are calling on all political parties to continue progress towards a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of national parks and reserves.
Joint media release: Nature Conservation Council of NSW and National Parks Association of NSW.