The government will have to work hard work to overcome community cynicism about its plan for Western Sydney bushland in the face of major urban development, is the key message from TEC’s forum Last Chance for Western Sydney Bushland,  attended by over 150 residents and Local Councillors on Nov 16.  

“Elements of the Plan appear attractive but the use of offsets caused significant concern. There is deep community cynicism about the concept of offsets - whether these will be sufficient to guarantee the long-term survival of species such as the koala and whether the current Government can really guarantee that they will still be around in 20 or 30 years’ time,.” said Jeff Angel, Executive Director of the Total Environment Centre. 

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment made no secret of the fact that the level of growth projected for Western Sydney in coming years could involve the significant loss of existing bushland, but claimed that its Plan to identify and protect strict like-for-like offsets and new conservation reserves in Western Sydney was the best way to ensure the survival of local wildlife. 

“However, there has been no formal commitment so far by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts. The Minister seems comfortable announcing housing targets but has been completely silent on his vision for the future of Western Sydney’s natural heritage,” said Mr Angel. 

“If the Government wants local communities to come on board with the level of development projected for Western Sydney, the Minister needs to start working hard to overcome the community cynicism that was evident last night. His first step should be to commit publicly to the long-term survival of Western Sydney’s threatened species,” concluded Mr Angel.

More information: Mr Jeff Angel 0418 273 773; Ms Corinne Fisher 0421 831 889

Watch a video of the forum here


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