A new plan to protect koalas and conserve critical biodiversity assets in growing parts of Western Sydney has been unveiled by the NSW government.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes says the draft plan is one of the largest strategic conservation planning exercises ever in Australia.
“The Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan is a once-in-a-generation commitment to protect south-west Sydney's rich environmental assets and important koala population, while providing certainty for investment in a growing part of Sydney,” says Stokes.
“Rather than assessing the biodiversity impact of individual development applications on an ad-hoc basis, we’ve identified upfront the key areas that need to be protected.”
“With Western Sydney’s population expected to reach 1.5 million people by 2056, this plan delivers certainty for local communities and investors alike. Too often the environment has been an afterthought in urban planning. This plan prioritises and protects urban bushland before urban development. This approach secures environmental conservation but with the certainty needed to support the strategic delivery of infrastructure, housing and jobs for Western Sydney.”
Minister for Environment Matt Kean says the draft Plan includes a new koala reserve to ensure Sydney’s largest and healthiest koala population is protected.
“The Georges River Koala Reserve will protect up to 1,885 hectares of existing koala habitat and enhance the connectivity of fragmented patches of important habitat, including protecting the important north-south koala corridor so this iconic species can move about safely,” says Kean.
“We will invest $84 million in the first five years to plant 100,000 trees in the Georges River Koala Reserve to restore koala habitat and install 120 kilometres of koala fencing.”
The Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan spans eight local government areas including Blacktown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Camden, Wollondilly, Hawkesbury and Penrith.
Image: NSW gov't.