The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) warmly welcomes NSW Labor’s commitment for a new national park in south-west Sydney.
NPA included a proposal for protected areas in south-west Sydney in its ’50 Parks’ proposal, released late 2017 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. A new protected area is vital in order to protect threatened ecological communities and threated species—including koalas—in the face of accelerating development.
A new protected area will also help ensure that the rapidly growing population of south-west Sydney has access to nature and can benefit from the wellbeing benefits that contact with nature brings.
Media reported on Friday on data obtained by NPA under freedom of information which showed the degree of peril koalas are facing in peri-urban areas of NSW from accelerating urban development. There has been significant community concern in south-west Sydney resulting from the increasing impacts on koalas.
“We are delighted by this announcement”, NPA’s President, Anne Dickson, said.
“Our Macarthur Branch have long been advocating for protection for the Upper Georges River. Our members have worked for years to help track koalas and determine the areas they are using in south-west Sydney.
“This announcement is tribute to their efforts—and to the many other community members and groups who have advocated tirelessly for the protection of koalas.
“Given the significance of this koala population—it is still disease free and thought to be relatively stable—acting now to protect habitat and ensure connectivity is prudent management.
“People around the world are envious that Sydneysiders are lucky enough to share their living space with this delightful animal. We should do all we can to make sure that development is not at the cost of the koala population.
“As NSW’s largest bushwalking organisation, we are also acutely aware of the positive health benefits of getting out into nature. Protecting this area and ensuring the infrastructure is there to allow the public to access it will be as valuable to the people of south-west Sydney as Royal National Park is to southern Sydney and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to northern Sydney.
“We urge the NSW government to match Labor’s commitment and create the new park now, before development carves up any more bushland and the opportunity is lost, along with the koalas.”
ENDS. Media contact: Anne Dickson (President)