In today’s Sydney Morning Herald (F6 Extension to mean bulldozing 460 homes or cutting through the National Park – Wednesday June 14th 2017) Peter Martin reveals that “the NSW government is considering acquiring 60 hectares of the Royal National Park for the proposed F6 Extension between Sydney and the Illawarra.”

This is totally unacceptable. It was unacceptable when the Labor Government proposed it in 2004 and it remains so today. When Labor proposed the same idea the Southern Sydney Branch of the National Parks Association of NSW wrote:

“The National Parks Association of NSW today called on the State Labor Government to abandon any further consideration of the F6 Freeway expansion on the grounds that it could well alienate 200 Hectares of Royal National Park Land”.

NPA’s Southern Sydney Secretary, Gary Schoer, said that this 50’s proposal should have been laid to rest when Wal Murray, the then Liberal Minister for Roads, removed the F6 corridor from consideration as an integral part of the F6 extension proposal many years ago.

“If the ‘National Parks Premier’, Bob Carr, reinstates this corridor every resident of NSW should be concerned that 200 Ha of Royal National Park land will be isolated if the historic Department of Main Roads preferred option cuts a destructive swathe east of Heathcote East and through vegetation along the entire length of the western boundary of Royal National Park”, said Mr Schoer.

“The impacts go beyond National Park alienation. The concentration of rare podsolic laterite along this section of Royal National park means that there is a concentration of fourteen different rare and vulnerable native plants along the route. One species, Eucalyptus camfieldii is classified as ‘vulnerable’ which means it is at risk over a number of years of disappearing from the wild, and occurs in populations of less than a thousand in conservation reserves.

“Such a corridor will also mean that National Park users will have to walk under a giant concrete flyover to gain access to Royal, and many access points may be cut off. A visual impact analysis done by Macquarie University in 1984 (Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies, Report 90/84) indicates that such a construction would be visible from as far afield as the Wallumarra track, Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and the Uloola track.

“Since we wrote that, all that appears to have changed are the names of the agencies pushing this ludicrous proposal and the politicians who are the faces advocating such changes. It was bad policy then. It is bad policy now.

“Our national park estate is not open space to be set aside until we can find another use for it. It is an important heritage asset, a vital component in protecting our biodiversity, an important set of lungs for our crowded city and a haven of peace to which more and more residents go to seek solace.

“When next week’s budget is presented to Parliament and when this grab by Roads and Maritime Services is revealed to the public there will be an outcry of anger. The public, already duped by WestConnex, will be furious at this further attack on our natural environment and on our invaluable open space.” 

Ends

Media contact:

Brian Everingham (President, NPA Southern Sydney Branch)

0419 260 236

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