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NSW Governments Broader Western Sydney Employment Area
Likely to have a significant environmental impact



I encourage you to take a look at the NSW Governments plans to create the 10,800 hectare Broader Western Sydney Employment Area (BWSEA). The BWSEA straddles the LGA’s of Penrith, Blacktown, Liverpool and Fairfield. Of concern is that 16% of the BWSEA is endangered or critically endangered native vegetation. Ecological Australia have done a desktop study of the area and their <5 meg report can be found here http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/wsea

There are some big concerns here surrounding whether this core habitat is going to be cleared or protected. How is it going to be protected? Will there be an offset program similar to the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program? (remember that the Biodiversity Certification of the Sydney Growth Centres, a total area of 27,000 hectares, meant about 2000 ha of core habitat could be developed – NSW committed to delivering a $530 million offset fund as a result – but to date very little offsetting has been provided). Ecological Australia flags Biodiversity Certification and Biobanking as a means to offset any clearing. Will Barry O’Farrell just put jobs first and legislate not to protect this areas environment? At one of his recent community cabinet meetings in Penrith he was challenged about his government failing to conserve Western Sydney Priority Conservation Lands and his response was that his number one priority was the creation of jobs so people could work closer to home. So its clear he doesn’t give two hoots about protecting Western Sydney’s environment.
In any case its likely that more of Sydney’s precious natural heritage will be destroyed in order to facilitate an income for developers and the NSW Govt.

The driver of course is Australia's high level of unsustainable population growth.

Geoff Brown

ZA102637861   ZA102637858
1.1 DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT

Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd (ELA) was engaged by (DoPI) to undertake a desktop biodiversity and riparian corridors assessment of approximately 10,800 ha that forms the Broader Western Sydney Employment Area (BWSEA). The aim of this assessment is to identify key ecological and riparian constraints to assist in the preparation of a Structure Plan for the area.

Conclusion

The BWSEA is a highly fragmented landscape that has been heavily impacted by past landuses. Based on a desktop assessment, 16% of the study area is native vegetation that is either endangered or critically endangered. Critically Endangered Ecological Communities typically pose a significant constraint to development, especially when listed under both State and Commonwealth legislation. However, given the fragmented nature of the patches of vegetation (many of which will have lower long term viability) there may be an opportunity to develop a positive conservation outcome that focuses on protection and management of riparian corridors and the larger patches of good condition vegetation. Such an outcome would not only deliver security to the EECs and CEECs hat have a higher management viability, but has the added benefits of protecting riparian habitats and ecological connectivity through the study area.
In terms of priorities for additional information on ecological values, this report recommends ground-truthing of vegetation communities to determine whether patches of Shale Hills Woodland, Shale Plains Woodland and Shale / Gravel Transition Forest meet the definition of Cumberland Plain Woodland / Shale Gravel Transition Forest as listed under the Commonwealth EPBC Act. A second priority is the collection of biometric vegetation data so that landuse planning can utilise the assessment methodologies (Biobanking or Biocertification) under the TSC Act to determine how development can occur whilst delivering a positive biodiversity outcome. Other data such as threatened fauna survey and top of bank mapping can be collected at later stages of planning to inform detailed design.
Following collection of this data it is recommended that the conservation significance assessment be re-run to identify vegetation and habitat of high, moderate and low conservation value as a key input to BWSEA or precinct level planning.