WITH the NSW Government pledging to add an additional 200,000 hectares to the states National Parks there is an opportunity for Port Stephens and the Myall Coast to increase the protection of sensitive areas.
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Minister for the Environment, the Hon Member of Parliament Matt Kean told News Of The Area, “It is not just about the quantity of our National Parks, it is also about the quality of them.
“In delivering additional National Parks we will also be able to identify and protect areas of koala habitat, that is something I am absolutely committed to doing.”
“What I am doing, is writing to all parliamentary colleges and ask them to identify local areas that could be added to the National Park network.
“I think that local MP’s and Councils are best placed to identify opportunities to expand our National Park network and we will work with them, to deliver our commitment, to not only protect koalas, but to ensure that our National Parks remain the iconic thing that they are in this state.” he said.
Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington told News Of The Area, “New National Park land has been announced encompassing 200,000 Hectares; as yet this announcement is unfunded, but I want to see this happen. I am keen to see both land at Fisherman’s Bay and Fame Cove brought into the protection of NSW National Parks and Wildlife.
“At Fame Cove there is a repeat offender for land clearing… the fines are not a drop in the ocean for this owner and we cannot afford for people who are environmentally irresponsible to hold and own such beautiful unique and important land,” she said.
Kathy Brown speaking for the Mambo Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group said, “Ideally we would like to see it Mambo Wanda Wetlands) become part of Tomaree National Park and recognised as the important Wetland that it is through Ramsar listing.
“There is a committee at present comprising PS Council Officers, EcoNetwork and Landcare members who are pursuing this, however the lack of an up to date Plan of Management is delaying this.
“We have applied to the Premier for financial help with this and we understand it is being considered by the Environment Minister,” she said.
The opportunity the increase in land holding of NSW National Parks for Port Stephens, our endangered koala population and tourism is vast.
By Marian SAMPSON