JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH FIONA SCOTT MP, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LINDSAY & LOUISE MARKUS, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MACQUARIE
The Australian Government will restore or protect approximately 700 hectares of Cumberland Plains woodlands through future land covenants, land acquisition and activities under the Green Army and the 20 Million Trees Programme.
This builds on the approximately 3,000 hectares of land permanently protected for conservation by the New South Wales Government.
The Australian Government is delivering on its election commitment to establish a Cumberland Conservation Corridor through three actions.
First, applications have been opened for grants to plant one million trees and rehabilitate 400 hectares within the Cumberland Conservation Corridor as part of the 20 million trees programme.
Second, fifteen Green Army teams will restore over 250 hectares of habitat in the Cumberland Conservation Corridor.
Third, the remaining part of the 700 hectares will be placed under conservation covenants through Commonwealth purchases and this land will be held in public hands forever. The first of these purchases, nearly six hectares of the highest conservation quality woodland in Londonderry, was announced today.
“Our support for the Cumberland Conservation Corridor recognises the importance of protecting remnant habitat and urban forests within and around our cities, particularly in Greater Western Sydney,” Minister Hunt said.
“We are investing $15 million to protect threatened land under conservation covenants, send in the Green Army and provide funding for the community to plant one million trees on this land.”
“We are undertaking a range of actions as part of our commitment to preserve urban green spaces in Western Sydney for future generations.”
The natural and cultural heritage values of two blocks of land in Londonderry, near Penrith will be protected in perpetuity under conservation covenants.
“This land has been virtually untouched for the past 30 years and is in very good condition. Large trees and logs provide habitat for native wildlife, and more than 30 bird species have been identified in the area,” Minister Hunt said.
Federal Member for Lindsay, Fiona Scott MP, said there are few available areas of land with high conservation value around Penrith.
“The protection of this land, which is an area equivalent to four Sydney Cricket grounds, is a major boost for conservation and for the many local people who are committed to preserving green spaces in the area,” Ms Scott said.
Federal Member for Macquarie, Louise Markus MP said green corridors such as the one across the Cumberland Plains are important for protecting valuable habitat.
“Urban green spaces connect communities to the environment and improve the liveability of our cities. The people of Western Sydney are passionate about protecting their environment and I am proud that the Australian Government is delivering on our election promise,” Mrs Markus said.
Funding is being provided by the Australian Government and the land will be managed by the Nature Conservation Trust and Conservation Volunteers Australia, in close co-operation with the state government agencies and Mulgoa Landcare.
Lisa Harrold from Mulgoa Landcare welcomed the significant announcement today.
“This is the single biggest initiative in terms of conservation in Western Sydney. The Federal Government has committed to conserving the most important remnants and this will ensure the protection of our native plants and animals into the future,” Lisa Harrold said.
“The community is so grateful for the Government’s involvement and financial investment in conserving the beauty of Western Sydney for future generations.”
The local area is also receiving a boost with fifteen Green Army teams to be sent to the area to protect and restore habitat in the Cumberland Corridor.
“These projects recognise the significant social, economic and environmental values of Western Sydney. They will increase the resilience of the threatened Cumberland Plains woodlands and enhance the long-term survival and protection of several nationally listed threatened species and ecological communities,” Mr Hunt said.
“The Green Army Teams will be removing debris, undertaking pest surveys, assessments and management, fencing, flora surveys, revegetation works and treating weeds. These activities also provide meaningful skills and training to the young people from Western Sydney working in these teams.”
“The Australian Government is committed to planting 20 Million Trees by 2020 to re-establish green corridors and urban forests in urban and regional Australia. One million of these trees will be planted in the Cumberland Corridor, through a competitive programme round announced and open today.”
Community and Landcare groups, councils and schools are invited to apply for grants of between $100,000 and $3 million from the 20 Million Trees Programme for tree planting and revegetation projects to conserve the Cumberland Plain and preserve important habitat for future generations.
Initiatives such as the Cumberland Conservation Corridor are dependent on the commitment and hard work of groups on the ground delivering high quality conservation outcomes.
“The people of Western Sydney are fortunate to have the active and skilful involvement from groups including Mulgoa Landcare, the Nature Conservation Trust and Conservation Volunteers Australia – all committed long-term partners in the Cumberland Corridors initiative,” he said.
More information about the 20 Million Trees Programme is available at www.nrm.gov.au/20-million-trees.