Falling short: can NSW meet 30by30 target for marine waters?

David Booth, Professor of Marine Ecology, University of Technology, Sydney 

Our report “Creating a World Class Marine Protected Area System: Getting New South Wales Back on Track” was launched in NSW Parliament last week amid bipartisan support and wide community interest.  It highlighted the current science behind a marine 30 x 30 push for NSW, why no-take Sanctuaries are vital, why NSW has dropped behind, and what should be done next.  You can download the Booth Report here.  

Some good news for the Great Koala National Park: Koala Hubs protected from logging, well sort of…

James Sherwood, Conservation Campaigner

On September 11, the Minister for the Environment announced the suspension of logging operations from Koala Hubs within the proposed area of the Great Koala National Park. The hubs cover about 5% of the 176,000 hectares that will be assessed in the creation of the park. Koala Hubs are critical multi-generational resident koala populations and their habitats and 42% of the recorded koala sightings in state forests have occurred in them since 2000.

Where are we at with protected areas conservation in NSW?

Danielle Ryan, Conservation Campaigner and Gary Dunnett, CEO 

Back in March 2023 a new NSW Government came into office carrying a lot of expectations from the conservation movement.  Labor’s election platform contained clear Protected Area commitments, notably the creation of koala-focused national parks on the mid north coast and in southwest Sydney, along with a long overdue revamp of the National Parks Establishment Plan. At a national level the Commonwealth had just signed onto the Global Biodiversity Framework including the elevated aspirations for Protected Areas under 30by30. More generally, the hope was that we would start to see serious progress on those most intractable of NSW environmental issues, the future of public native forests, bringing the disastrous rates of native vegetation clearance under control and a whole range of policies to address climate change and biodiversity loss.   

Book Review: Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia

Author: Joëlle Gergis. 

Publisher: Melbourne University Press, 2018. 

Reviewed by: Sam Garrett-Jones and Graham Kelly, NPA Environmental Book Club 

Australians are no strangers to ‘droughts and flooding rains’1. Joëlle Gergis charts a history of Australia’s climate since European settlement and before, with a focus on its high variability and the consequent disasters of flood, drought and fire. She uses written accounts of early colonists and ‘formal records’ of weather from William Dawes’ 1788 observations onwards.  

The need to preserve and protect high population underwater ocean zones!

Bill Silvester, Lennox Head 

One hot summers day in 1960 four Victorians drove a Holden sedan to Surfers Paradise for a holiday. We did not like what we found there as we were looking for somewhere we could dive and spear fish. Surfers even then was busy and we had nowhere to stay. Bob Hooper and I looked at a map of northern NSW, saw that there were a group of rocks not too far offshore. These rocks looked like an ideal place for a dive.  

We had built homemade SCUBA gear back in Melbourne and just needed to find somewhere ideal to use them. The Julian Rocks at Byron Bay beckoned us, so we left the Gold Coast and off to Byron Bay we drove. First finding a low-cost camp site behind the sand dunes at Clarke’s Beach we booked in for the night. At that time a mighty athletic sportsman, Hal Hankin, owned a shoe repair and sports store in Jonson street. He was one of Byron Bay’s most talented long board surfers, but also owned his own boat to go fishing. By luck for us Hal agreed to take us out in his boat and let us SCUBA dive the Julian Rocks but only at 6:30am the next day. A warm morning with just a light northerly breeze blowing, Hal drove his boat to The Julian Rocks to then anchor at the reef known as the Nursery.  Hal pointed eastwards to a place he called the Cod Hole and indicated that it was there where all the big fish were. We took spearguns and swam in the appointed direction.