A public consultation paper on the future use/conservation of NSW’s Travelling Stock Reserves is on exhibition until 7 July 2017. The exhibition includes the consultation paper, with more information and on line map available at http://open.lls.nsw.gov.au/TSR-review
This is a collaborative project between the State Local Land Services and Department of Industry – Lands.
A submission guide is bellow. We urge people to forward a submission to the review and use the on line map to make sure valuable TSRs in your local area are identified and protected within viable habitat corridors. These important conservation assets will only be preserved if the people of NSW argue strongly for the protection of the TSR network as a whole.
Responses are due by 5 pm Friday 7 July 2017 and can be submitted in a number of ways including:
Post: Local Land Services, State Operations
PO Box 2105, Dubbo NSW 2830.
The National Parks Association NSW has had a direct interest to protect and appropriately manage the significant natural and cultural heritage values of the Travelling Stock Routes and Reserves network (TSR network) for over 60 years. One of the most critical environmental values of the TSR network is its excellent natural potential for connectivity conservation. As well as being important as individual areas of remnant vegetation, TSRs also form an extensive network across NSW, which joins with the Stock Route network of Queensland.
It is critical that the network values of the TSR network are recognised and protected across all areas of government. Further fragmentation of the network through sales, long term leases or inappropriate management poses a significant threat to the inherent values of one of NSW’s most important environmental, cultural and social public land assets.
It is important in your submission to identify:
- That the well documented values of the TSR network need to be protected and appropriately managed for its network values at a regional and landscape scale;
- That the network must be retained in public ownership;
- That because of these significant values there must be a whole of government approach, which includes the Office of Environment and Heritage, in any decision making regards changes in land use or ownership of the TSR network;
- That the questions in the consultation paper and map have limited the focus to the compilation of data on the TSR network at the level of individual TSRs rather than providing an opportunity to focus on the network values of the whole TSR network.
POINTS TO RAISE IN YOUR SUBMISSION
The well documented values of the TSR network need to be protected and appropriately managed for its network values at a regional and landscape scale.
- TSRs support a wide range of woodland-dependent species that are typically rare or threatened due to the extensive clearing of woodland habitat since European settlement. This includes critically endangered species like swift parrot and regent honeyeater and iconic species like bush stone-curlew, malleefowl and superb parrot.
- Some threatened species with extremely restricted habitats, such as the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth and the endangered Grassland Earless Dragon have populations within TSRs;
- The remnant vegetation within the TSR network often provides the best example of ecosystems and communities that are not well represented in National Parks and other NPWS estate with approximately 80% of TSRs containing vegetation communities of high or very high conservation status;
- TSRs are vital refuges for declining and threatened species across NSW. Woodland remnants on TSRs are less degraded and support more species of birds and arboreal mammals than those on private land. The mature, hollow-bearing trees found along TSRs have been shown to provide vital habitat, nesting sites and protection for a range of birds, arboreal mammals and bats.
- Nationally listed endangered ecological communities, such as the critically endangered White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland and Derived Native Grassland, are found in the TSR network.
- The TSR network of NSW needs , if effectively managed, has the potential to be a globally unique, continental-scale corridor of publicly owned remnant vegetation with great environmental, economic, cultural (both Aboriginal and European) and social benefits to NSW and Australia.
- Because TSRs have remained publicly owned and generally have not been cleared they have protected woodland vegetation corridors across the highly-cleared wheat and sheep farming belt of New South Wales.
That the network must be retained in public ownership.
- As one of NSW’s most important environmental, cultural and social public land assets, the TSR network must remain in public ownership to preserve the many values of the TSR network for future generations;
- Public ownership ensures an opportunity for integrated and sustainable management of the multi use values of the TSR network.
There must be a whole of government approach, which includes the Office of Environment and Heritage, in any decision making regards changes in land use or ownership of the TSR network.
- A whole of government is needed to develop a framework of strategic management principles for the shared and sustainable use of the TSR network.
- The TSR network is Crown land owned by the people of NSW and any decisions about its future ownership and management must not be solely that of the Department of Industry – Lands.
- Given the State significant environmental values of the TSR network, the Office of Environment and Heritage must be fully involved in any future changes to landuse or ownership of the TSR network;
The questions in the consultation paper and map have limited the focus to the compilation of data on the TSR network at the level of individual TSRs rather than providing an opportunity to focus on the network values of the whole TSR network.
- No environmental information from the Office of Environment and Heritage is included on the exhibited map which limits an opportunity for community input into management;
- The current consultation represents the first opportunity for community input into the management of the TSR network but its focus is limited by:
1) an assumption that the TSR network will fit into four defined landuse categories (no environmental data supports these);
2) data compilation for the values of individual reserves rather than the values of TSR network as a network containing some of the highest quality, connected remnants of vegetation in Eastern Australia.
- The review paper does not include any opportunity for community comment on the important environmental values of the TSR network or provide input into an assessment of their value as State significant land under the new Crown Land Management Act 2016.
- There is need for balanced information about the wide ranging values of the TSR network to the people of NSW to be made available to ensure a proper process in the decision making regards the future ownership and management of the TSR network.
- The TSR network should be assessed beyond an individual and regional basis. The connectivity across regions is an important value for multiple uses.
- The four categories do not identify opportunities for natural resource management works such as revegetation projects, erosion control, carbon sinks and reconnecting gaps in landscape linkages.
- The criteria for assessing impacts on TSRs should include no impact on landscape scale conservation values. The term ‘not significantly deteriorate’ is not an acceptable criteria.
- The emphasis on economic benefits of SSD and SSI projects will cause an imbalance against social and environmental values.
- TSRs should not be degazetted for use by travelling stock and made available for mining and gas projects.