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Media Release 9 July1997

North Head Bandicoots Must Be Saved
Community Hopes Rest On Environment Minister Pam Allan

A large public meeting last night called on Environment Minister Pam Allan to protect the endangered colony of long nosed bandicoots on North Head from proposed development on St Patrick's Estate, the heritage listed former Catholic Seminary now being broken up for housing by the Catholic Church.

Noel Plumb, Executive Officer of the National Parks Association said " The unanimous resolution by over 300 people verifies tremendous community support for this precious colony. Pam Allan now has all the community support she needs. The scientific evidence from leading wildlife scientists, including Dr Tim Flannery and Professor Ian Hume is already there."

"The Minister shouldn't hesitate any longer, the bandicoots are in a perilous situation. The meeting also called for the protection order to be made for the maximum possible period of two years. This is the only way to ensure that the threat from development at North Head has sufficient time to be resolved and a genuine recovery plan worked out for the bandicoots."

The meeting also called on the Premier to intervene in the development row over North Head which has been created by the obstruction of the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. Manly Council has not been able to proceed with a new planning scheme for North Head which would protect heritage and conservation values and prohibit residential redevelopment.

The Department has advised Manly Council that ' With regard to the impact on the Government's urban containment initiatives, the loss of housing opportunities which would result from Council's proposed conservation zonings of the St Patrick's Estate ..…..cannot be justified.'

The Australian Heritage Commission has listed no less than 6 parts of North Head on the Register of the National Estate, including St Patrick's Estate.

Chris Thomas, a member of the St Patrick's Estate Action Group and Convenor of Bandicoot Watch said "The Department and its Minister, Craig Knowles, are failing in their duty to protect the Estate and North Head. The NSW Government must recognise the national heritage significance of North Head and act with integrity and commitment. North Head is part of our national heritage and identity for the millions of Sydney people who enjoy the harbour or the millions who visit this country and Sydney. Fancy covering North Head in red brick and concrete for a few houses!"

For comment Noel Plumb 9233 4660 or 018 975 075 Chris Thomas 9230 3804 b or 9977 3314 A copy of the formal resolutions adopted at the meeting is available.

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