(Protesters at Beverly Hills site of the critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest Sept 5, 2016)
Greens NSW MP and Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called on the NSW Government to release details of the offset, accusing the Government of attempting to clear the land before securing an offset. Despite clearing of the land to be imminent, the NSW Environment Minister stated on Friday that “Roads and Maritime Services [RMS] intends to offset that clearing with ironbark forest located in the Sydney region”.
1.5ha of the critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest will be cleared as part of the New M5 portion of WestConnex at Beverly Grove using a ‘biobanking’ system that allows the destruction to be offset at another location.
Dr Faruqi said:
“It beggars belief that an offset site might not have been secured, even as the bulldozers hover to clear the critically endangered urban forest.
“The idea that you clear first and find an offset later illustrates the failure of the whole biodiversity offsetting process.
“I am worried that the clearing will occur and then an inferior offset will be acquired, by which point it will be too late.
“The bulldozers must stop and the NSW Government must explain to the community how destroying an entire critically endangered ecological community can be justified” she concluded.