The state government says its new plan to protect koalas and conserve critical biodiversity assets in South Western Sydney is one of the largest strategic conservation planning exercises ever in Australia.
Planning and Public Spaces minister Rob Stokes and Environment minister unveiled the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan yesterday.
Mr Kean said 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,” Mr Kean said.
“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.”
State Member for Camden Peter Sidgreaves, pictured below, welcomed the plan.
“Today’s announcement on the establishment of the Georges River Koala Reserve demonstrates the NSW Government’s commitment to ensuring the survival of the Georges River Koala population,’’ he said.
“This is a great outcome for the Macarthur region, particularly for our beloved koalas.”
Mr Stokes said the draft plan was a once-in-a-generation commitment to protect South Western Sydney’s rich environmental assets and important koala population, while providing certainty for investment in a growing part of Sydney.
“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,’’ he said.
“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.”
The draft plan incorporates findings from the NSW chief scientist’s Campbelltown Koala Report which provided advice on effective methods to mitigate the impact of urban development on koala habitat.
The draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan will be on public exhibition until September 25. To view the draft plan or have your say, visit: planning.nsw.gov.au/cumberlandplainconservationplan