NATIONAL PARKS ASSOCIATION OF NSW INC. (NPANSW)
PO Box A96, Sydney South NSW 1235 Ph: (02) 9233 4660 Fax: (02) 9233 4880

Media Release
3 Sept. 1997

Holsworthy Dropped
One Down, One to Go

The National Parks Association of New South Wales, the State’s largest non-government nature conservation organisation, today called on the Howard Government to drop Badgerys Creek as well as Holsworthy as a possible site for Sydney’s second airport.

"Well at least that’s one dead horse they’ve stopped flogging," said Noel Plumb, NPA’s Executive Officer.

"Holsworthy was never on and even this blinkered Government realised the game was up when the Australian Heritage Commission listed the site on the Register of the National Estate. As we predicted, it could never satisfy the requirements of the Australian Heritage Commission Act to demonstrate that there is no prudent or feasible alternative to destroying this area."

"The Government is now trying to say that the selection of Badgerys Creek is inevitable and reasonable. It is neither and NPA will join with the people of Sydney, particularly western Sydney residents, to fight this one too."

"The impacts on air and water quality in the Sydney basin which are inevitable if a major airport proceeds at Badgerys Creek are quite unacceptable. The risks to the health and amenity of western Sydney residents are immediately apparent but in fact all of Sydney will be affected by additional air pollution and pollution of our major water storages."

"In addition, Badgerys Creek means an intolerable noise impact on much of the ring of National Parks which now surround Sydney and are a key part of the quality of life for millions of Sydney people."

"As with Holsworthy, how can the Government possibly say that there is no prudent or feasible alternative to Badgerys Creek, given its narrow minded approach to the EIS process and its refusal to examine sites outside the Sydney Basin - despite the new technology which makes this feasible with a Very Fast Train link.."

"The Howard government must give up the mad idea that the Sydney Basin can sustain another airport. The dropping of Holsworthy will inspire the environmentalists and residents of Sydney to fight on."

For further comment : Noel Plumb 018 975 095


Media Release
4 Sept. 1997

North Head Bandicoots
Bulldozers Poised - Community Alert

The North Head Alliance has placed its supporters on alert following information yesterday that the Catholic Church is pressing to start substantial site works on St Patricks Estate at North Head. No decision has yet been made by the Minister for the Environment on the future of the endangered bandicoots despite calls for their protection since April this year..

"Thousands of tonnes of crushed sandstone and other landscaping materials are to be dumped on the grounds of the Estate and a large part of the lawns on which the bandicoots forage will be ripped up or smothered" said Noel Plumb, Executive Officer of the National Parks Association. "The dumping, the ripping, hundreds of truck movements, earthworks and construction debris will all disrupt the bandicoots foraging on the Estate."

Contractors for the Church have been asking Manly Council for clearance to commence site works for major landscaping since 25 August and Council apparently has no legal authority to stop the work once routine construction permits have been issued.

"Its unbelievable that the Church could be so impatient. They must know that the issue of substantial site works is one of the factors under consideration in the pending decision by the Minister on an Interim Protection Order over St Patrick’s Estate for the bandicoots."

"We have relayed an urgent plea to the Acting Minister for the Environment, Bob Debus, for intervention. We have been waiting since April for the decision on the IPO."

"The Church may say that they are only preparing new vegetation links on the Estate to aid the bandicoots but none can say that this may not be a fatal disturbance for the last outpost of bandicoots in the Sydney Harbour catchment. Its the thin edge of the wedge."

Chris Thomas, local convenor of Bandicoot Watch said " We are not going to stand by and watch while the Church plays games with the future of these beautiful animals. They have been listed as endangered and if the Government will not protect them, we will."

Dr Tim Flannery of the Australian Museum, who has personally joined the Alliance in urgent representations to the Minister, said " If development of St Patrick’s Estate proceeds I believe ,on the information we presently have, that we will lose these bandicoots within two years."

"It is incredible that even if the Minister eventually issues an Interim Protection Order, the bandicoots might still be destroyed by heedless site works before the Minister decides. We must have a genuine and sufficient stay, at least two years, while we properly survey the activities and needs of the bandicoots and sort out the planning mess at North Head."

Comment: Noel Plumb 9233 4660 or 018 975 075 Chris Thomas 9230 3804 b or 9977 3314


Media Release
19 Sept. 1997

North Head Bandicoots
David Holds Off Goliath
Manly Council Crucial Decision

"Tonight, Manly Council will decide whether the North Head bandicoots will live to fight another day against the Catholic Church’s development Goliath on St Patricks Estate," said Noel Plumb, Executive Officer of the National Parks Association.

Council has received an independent consultants report from Professor Ian Hume, Challis Professor of Biology at Sydney University and Chair of the Wildlife Research Institute, which recommends that Council call for a Species Impact Statement on the proposed development of both the historic oval precinct and Bear Cottage, the childrens hospice site.

"The NPA and other members of the North Head Alliance will be watching Council closely as we are concerned that the Church, the State Government and others associated with Bear Cottage will bring enormous pressure to bear on the Council to let this development slide through without regard to the bandicoots."

"There has been an outrageous campaign for Bear Cottage to be established on St Patricks Estate despite the heritage costs. The concept of a hospice for dying children is embraced by all, but St Patrick’s Estate is the wrong site. The sick children have been used as hapless pawns in a debate drowned in emotion and misrepresentation. The State government could provide an alternative site for the hospice in Strickland House, Vaucluse with a stroke of the pen."

"A decision on Monday night to call for a Species Impact Statement should eventually sink much, if not all, of the proposed development. Any fair dinkum study of the bandicoots is merely going to prove what local residents have known for years - the Estate is critical habitat for the bandicoots because of its rich lawns, sheltering thickets and freedom from intense human activity."

Professor Hume states that ‘ Overall the site (Bear Cottage) is one of the important foraging areas for bandicoots on St Patricks Estate. …..Development of the Bear Cottage site is of particular concern because it is a high quality bandicoot foraging area. ..…Its (the bandicoot colony) depends on careful management of all parts of its current distribution on North Head, including St Patricks Estate …..’

Professor Hume has also pointed out the critical risk to the bandicoots of cumulative impact from both the proposed and approved developments on the Estate. (The two already approved building sites may well destroy the bandicoot colony alone and triggered the still outstanding request for an Interim Protection Order over St Patricks Estate by the National Parks Association in April).

For further comment : Noel Plumb 018 975 075


MEDIA RELEASE 22nd SEPTEMBER 1997

North Head Bandicoots
Pam Allan Interferes for Developers

The National Parks Association today accused the Environment Minister Pam Allan of blatant political interference which potentially prejudices the protection of the endangered Long Nosed Bandicoot colony on North Head.

"The Minister has failed, for five months, to make a decision on an interim protection order for the bandicoots on St Patricks Estate at North Head," said Noel Plumb, executive officer of the National Parks Association. "And yet now Dr Peter Macdonald, the Member for Manly and Manly Councillor, has advised NPA that the Minister has written to Dr Macdonald saying that the NPWS has advised her that the Bear Cottage development will not significantly affect the bandicoots and should be allowed to proceed without a Species Impact Statement."

"If true, this is an extraordinary intervention from a Minister who is responsible for the Government's biodiversity strategy and its supposed commitment to protect endangered species. It makes a mockery of the Minister's responsibilities and must cast grave doubts, in my view, over the impartiality of her decision on the Interim Protection Order."

"Also, if the Minister has correctly interpreted their advice, this is appalling advice from the NPWS. It contradicts the NPWS's acknowledgment that cumulative development impacts on the bandicoots must be addressed and is hardly credible when the Service has still done no surveys of the actual bandicoot activities on the Estate. By comparison Manly Council's independent expert, Professor Ian Hume, Challis Professor of Biology at Sydney University and Chair of the Wildlife Research Institute, has inspected the site, identified evidence of strong bandicoot activity and recommends that Council call for a Species Impact Statement."

"Why has the Minister chosen to intervene in the decision of Council? Why should the bandicoots be denied the best chance of properly informed decisions on development of St Patricks Estate?

"There seems to be a desperate attempt to quickly establish significant construction activity on the Estate. However any such work could make it impossible to accurately survey the full extent of bandicoot activities and needs on the Estate and so prejudice their conservation. Why will the Minister not acknowledge these concerns and act in a precautionary way?'

"The NPA and other members of the North Head Alliance know that it is vital for Council to follow due process and support recommendations from Professor Hume for Species Impact Statements over St Patrick's Estate developments. We are concerned that the Church, the State Government and others associated with Bear Cottage have brought enormous pressure to bear on the Council to let this development slide through without regard to the bandicoots."

"The NPA is now concerned that some Manly Councillors who have publicly promised to protect the bandicoots by all legal means, including Dr Macdonald, are about to buckle under and will use the Minister's letter as a pretext to abandon the bandicoots. If they reject the SIS recommendation, they will swing the door wide open for irresponsible development of St Patrick's Estate."

"There has been a concerted campaign for Bear Cottage to be established on St Patricks Estate despite the natural and heritage costs. The concept of a hospice for dying children is embraced by all, but St Patrick's Estate is the wrong site. The sick children have been used as hapless pawns in a debate drowned in emotion and misrepresentation. The State government could provide an alternative site for the hospice in Strickland House, Vaucluse with a stroke of the pen."

"A decision on Monday night to call for a Species Impact Statement will doubtless bring into question much of the proposed development. Any fair dinkum study of the bandicoots is merely going to prove what local residents have known for years - the Estate is critical habitat for the bandicoots because of its rich lawns, sheltering thickets and freedom from intense human activity."

Professor Hume states that ' Overall the site (Bear Cottage) is one of the important foraging areas for bandicoots on St Patricks Estate. …..Development of the Bear Cottage site is of particular concern because it is a high quality bandicoot foraging area. ..…Its survival (the bandicoot colony) depends on careful management of all parts of its current distribution on North Head, including St Patricks Estate …..'

Professor Hume has also pointed out the critical risk to the bandicoots of cumulative impact from both the proposed and approved developments on the Estate. (The two already approved building sites may well destroy the bandicoot colony alone and triggered the still outstanding request for an Interim Protection Order over St Patricks Estate by the National Parks Association in April).

For further comment : Noel Plumb 9233 4660 or 018 975 075


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