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Media Release: Rivers Running Foul in Royal National Park 

Conservation groups are calling on Environment and Heritage Minister James Griffin to take immediate action to stop repeated pollution incidents in Royal National Park. 

National Parks Association (NPA) CEO Gary Dunnett said ‘the Hacking River, the water that runs through the heart of Royal National Park, has been impacted by yet another spill of coal waste.  Last week we inspected Red Cedar Flat, about a kilometre downstream of where waste from Peabody’s Metropolitan Colliery reaches the Hacking River.  The sight was truly unbelievable, the river looked more like flowing tar than the crystal-clear water you’d expect in the deep rainforest of our first national park’.  

The ‘30 by 30’ enironmental commitment: economic costs and benefits

Dr Ross Jeffree, NPA State Councillor

Both the current and previous Federal governments have made verbal commitments to ’30 by 30’: the effective protection and conservation of at least 30% of the planet by 2030. This national commitment is in accord with international scientific consensus that 30% is a minimum target for land, sea and freshwater to protect and conserve key biodiversity values; including species at risk, high-biodiversity areas, key migration sites, spawning areas, and ecologically intact areas which protect large-scale ecological processes. (Adding in climate refugia and areas of high carbon density increases the area required to over 50%.)

Achieving effective protection and conservation of at least 30% of the planet by 2030 is also a critical step toward achieving the CBD’s (Convention on Biological Diversity) 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature, as well as post-2020 ambitions for biodiversity. IUCN has already adopted a resolution in 2016 that calls on IUCN State Members to designate at least 30% of each marine habitat in a network of highly protected marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs; also referred to here as “conserved areas”).

The Challenge of 30 by 30

Ross McDonnell, Convenor, NPA Landscape Conservation Forum

The NPA’s Landscape Conservation Forum (LCF) recognises the challenge ahead for NSW if it is to make an equitable contribution to the evolving Commonwealth Government policy of achieving ’30 by 30’. Articles in this Journal by WWF’s Dr Stuart Blanch and NPA’s Dr Ross Jeffree focus on the National Reserve System and the supporting economic context, but a considerable challenge exists on how NSW develops and implements a suitable response.

Broadly speaking, it will come down to what types of protection and management measures will be counted as contributing to a 30% target, and will there be a coordinated NSW approach?

For NPA a consideration is how does it focus its advocacy role in support of ’30 by 30’. The LCF, in considering this, has focused on promoting a broadening of the IUCN’s protected area classifications to include areas (land and waters) where the rehabilitation and restoration of natural values is required. The ’30 by 30’ target can also be legitimately met if it includes appropriately managed Crown Lands such as travelling stock routes, road reserves or verges with known natural values, and Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs). In addition, a significant contribution would occur if NSW followed Victoria and Western Australia and ceased forestry in native forests and those areas were transferred to NPWS management.

30 x 30:  a pathway to protecting 30% of Australia’s land by 2030

By Dr Stuart Blanch, Senior Manager, Towards Two Billion Trees, WWF-Australia

The promise of protecting 30% of Australia’s land by 2030

“Our government will set a goal of protecting 30% of our land and 30% of our oceans by 2030,” said the Hon Tania Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water, during her National Press Club speech on 19 July 2022.

Protecting Nature’s Gifts

Dr Graeme L. Worboys AM is a former Honorary Associate Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University & Bruce Gall is a former Director of the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service.

This is the fifth article in an 8-part series discussing our nature’s gifts.

In our previous article on Ranger Guardians, we looked at how rangers manage and protect our nature’s gifts in parks and reserves. In this article, we take a wider view of conserving nature and consider international factors that drive this protection.

Australia ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1993. It is the most wide-ranging of Australia’s environmental treaties, covering all our biodiversity.  Importantly, the CBD is legally binding; parties to the convention are obliged to implement its provisions.

Conventions can only be joined by a national government, which is usually also responsible for implementing them. Not so in Australia, where, in respect of the CBD, states and territories have prime responsibility for the protection and management of our nature’s gifts.

NSW Marine Parks Forum – my ocean journey as an NPA member

Nicole McMahon, NPA Member

It is an overwhelming experience when you begin your journey into becoming environmentally conscious. You discover the human impact on our environment is a polarising topic. So, for those wanting to make simple steps in the right direction, it can be difficult to gauge where to begin. I believe public forums, such as the NSW Marine Parks Forum, are a great place to start.

On July 1, I had the privilege of attending the NSW Marine Parks Forum, University of Technology Sydney, co-hosted by NPA NSW. The co-hosts included UTS’s School of Life Sciences, The Australian Marine Conservation Society, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Ocean Youth, WWF-Australia and The Wilderness Society.

I heard from some incredible speakers making waves (pun intended) on our environment from Byron to Batemans Bay, as well as learning the shocking ways in which our Marine Parks are being impacted by higher officials neglecting, what is to many Australians, our backyard. I also learned that highly protected marine sanctuaries can thrive when they are supported by strong, connected communities like in Manly.