Greens NSW MP and Environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that news that critically endangered bushland at Beverly Grove will be bulldozed on Wednesday to make way for a worksite for WestConnex was extremely concerning.
1.5ha of the critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest will be cleared, using a ‘bio-banking’ system that allows the destruction to be offset at another location.
Dr Faruqi said:
“News that a last remaining patch critically endangered the Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest will be destroyed for WestConnex has demonstrated the Baird Government’s utter disregard for environmental law and due process.
“After 1.5ha bushland is cleared, the remaining vegetation will be too limited for the area to be a viable ecological community.
“The fact that the last remaining stand of the Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest will be destroyed shows just how flawed the system of bio banking is. Protecting bushland in another area will never bring back this last remnant of forest. Once bulldozed, it will be gone forever.
“It is a tragedy that the unique genetic diversity of this last remaining patch of bushland will be lost forever – to make way for a WestConnex worksite. It is urgent that there be a serious effort at seed collection before this area is lost.
“This destruction of this critically endangered forest was not included in the arborist's report that detailed the hundreds of other trees that would be removed for WestConnex surface works.” (Source: http://www.westconnex.com.au/documents/tree_removals_and_plantings_surface_works.pdf)
“The lack of transparency in cases of bio banking is of great concern. Conservationists must have the opportunity to examine an area and determine how to properly conserve the biodiversity – not be forced to rush in and gather what they can with limited access.