THE TORCH Newspaper – 14/07/1999

The State Government should urgently investigate “a series of bushland management blunders in Bankstown” according to the Total Environment Centre.

The Total Environment Centre director Mr Jeff Angel has said “we have numerous concerns about mismanagement of urban bushland in the Bankstown Local Government Area.  The problems give grave cause to doubt Bankstown Council’s competency for urban bushland management.”

But the council has denied this was the case.

The TEC said the State Government should:

  • investigate the council policies, practices and management on the ground; and
  • provide a public report on the issue with recommendations for improvements and any prosecutions under relevant legislation.

Mr Angel said Bankstown Council had, in recent months:

  • deliberately place a drain and gross pollution trap cutting through the only known example of Cumberland Plain Woodland (listed as an endangered ecological community – EEC) with Turpentine Brush forest understorey at The Crest;
  • deliberately destroyed a buffer zone of indigenous species planted around the above mentioned area by the local community under a $28,000 Environment Trust Grant. (Despite protests to the contrary, it is understood council did know about the buffer zone and had provided materials and expertise in its planting);
  • announced it intends making Louisa Reserve available for the OCA to construct the Olympic Criterium Cycling track (subject to DUAP approval) through one of only three known examples of Cooks River Clay Plain Scrub Forest (EEC).
  • approved a land swap (for a road) of part of Airport Reserve (crown land under council management) with the Frderal Airport Corporation at Bankstown Airport, (Airport Reserve again contains State and Commonwealth listed Cumberland Plains Woodlands (EEC).  This approval is on its way to the Minister for Land and Water Conservation for his approval, despite clear environmental impacts).

We believe these examples constitute clear mismanagement of urban bushland in the Bankstown LGA.  Local community groups have lost all confidence in the council and questions the laws that are meant to protect urban bushland values, threatened species and ecological communities in their area,” he said.

But mayor Cr Ian Stromborg said he had not heard anything from the Total Environment Centre and would not comment other than saying that these were not new issues.

Chris Dewhurst
Author: Chris Dewhurst