Council Offsets Koalas For Cash

Unmitigated bush clearing is being green-washed with a conservation “offset” on Campbelltown Council’s watch at the Council owned Noorumba Nature Reserve, said Total Environment Centre today. It represents a serious threat to the already endangered local koala population.

The NSW Bio-banking Scheme was developed to allow developers to clear vegetation in one location and then preferably purchase existing parcels of trees in the form of bio-banking credits in another location to ‘‘offset’’ the damage.

“If the offset at Noorumba Reserve goes ahead, it will prove the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act has effectively been hollowed out,” said TEC Director Jeff Angel.

“In effect, developers can now legally remove habitat without replacing it.” With Department of Planning approval, the Campbelltown Council has created biobanking ‘‘credits’’ that can be applied to the public nature reserve at Noorumba which sits adjacent to the big new Lendlease development at Mount Gilead.

“The use of this public reserve, which is already established koala habitat, to 'offset' destruction of habitat for private gain is not supported and is a gross breach of the Commonwealth EPBC guidelines,” said TEC’s Urban Sustainability campaigner, Saul Deane.

Mr Angel said further that “the use of public reserves as offsets must be stopped if offset policy is to be anything more than a greenwashing exercise. Otherwise the state’s primary legislative tool used to ensure habitat preservation, the Biodiversity Conservation Act introduced by the Berejiklian Government in 2017, will be hopelessly corrupted.“

“This is an ominous sign for the survival of Sydney’s koalas and other communities in NSW,” said Mr Deane. “It could also have national implications if it gets federal approval.”

“Effectively it means koala habitat on existing developable land can be removed without the need to acommodate or replace it. “

For more info please contact: Saul Deane, Urban Sustainability Campaigner m 0421255323

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