Author Archives: Wayne Olling

Harrington Forest Not Protected After All!

In a disgraceful testimony to the degraded morality of government and the failure of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to commit anything of worth toward environmental protection we now find Transport for NSW wants to run an extension of the South-West Rail Corridor through Harrington Forest.

Harrington Forest was supposed to be the negotiated offset for extensive loss of flora & fauna habitat through the Harrington Park development some years ago. But that doesn’t seem to matter to those within Transport for NSW who believe any open space is fair game for their infrastructure projects. This is the trashing of morality and the trashing of Western Sydney.

The mob of kangaroos and other fauna inhabiting Harrington Forest will end up with diminished habitat because of the rail line, if approved, dissecting the Forest.

Make your concerns known by emailing:

Herewith is a map of the proposed corridor carving through Harrington Forest:

Proposed Rail Link - Harrington Forest

This Harrington Forest issue is not the only threat to established flora and fauna habitat in Western Sydney. Transport for NSW are also looking at extending the rail corridor north beyond the Western Rail Line through key flora & fauna habitat including an established Regional Park and a proposed National Park & Nature Reserve. Also, a major upgrade to Bells Line of Road with a feeder coming off the M7 Motorway at Dean Park will have the same effect. A proposed Outer Sydney Orbital does likewise. More about these proposed projects and the opportunity to comment via email can be found at:



TERESA JAMES FLORA CONSULTANT – Specialising in flora surveys, plant identification, conservation assessment and botanical training. Mailing address: 835 Caparra Road, Caparra NSW 2429 Tel: 02 6550 7311 Mob: 0428218502. Email address:


1. Grasslands Workshop – western Sydney (NEW)

Proposed dates: Friday 27th or Saturday 28th March (8.30 am to 4pm)

Details: A one day workshop looking at derived grasslands and their contribution to biodiversity on the Cumberland Plain. Subjects covered include ecology, threatened communities and identification of grasses and herbs. We will visit 3-4 sites with transport by minibus between sites. Limited to 20 places.

Cost (including workshop notes): $125

*Please indicate if prefer Friday or Saturday. Enrollments & payment required by March 10th but note limited places and please contact Teresa in next couple of days about this one.

2. Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC’s) Workshop – western Sydney

Proposed date: 2nd or 6th May (8.30 am to 4 pm)

Details: A one day field-based TEC workshop based on a similar workshop held in spring, 2014. The workshop provides an overview of TEC’s and associated plant species occurring In shale environments on the Cumberland Plain. We will look at vegetation patterns across the landscape and identify TEC’s using key diagnostic features. Several sites will be visited (by minibus) with rapid site/condition assessments conducted at some sites. TEC’s to be covered: Cumberland Plain Woodland; Moist Shale Woodland; Western Sydney Dry Rainforest and Shale Sandstone Transition Forest. Limited to 20 places.

Cost (including workshop notes): $125
*Please indicate if prefer the Saturday or Wednesday. Enrollments & payment required by 1st April but note limited places.


3. Shale Sandstone Transition Forest Workshop (NEW)

Proposed date – August, 2015

Details: A two day workshop to assist in identification of Shale Sandstone Transition Forest and explore natural variability within the community with particular reference to the revised final determinations at both state and national levels. Day 1 will include an indoor presentation and field sampling. Day 2 comprises a field excursion (by minibus) to several sites along the margins of the Cumberland Plain. Limited to 20 places.

Cost (including workshop notes): $195

Expressions of interest are invited with confirmation required by 1st July.

4. Northern Sydney shale threatened ecological communities (NEW)

Proposed date – September, 2015

Details: A one day field-based workshop looking at TEC’s and associated communities occurring on shale and transitional soils within northern Sydney. We will look at vegetation patterns across the landscape and identify TEC’s using key diagnostic features. TEC’s to be covered: Blue Gum High Forest, Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest and the newly described (unlisted) Coastal Shale Sandstone Forest. We will visit several sites by minibus and rapid site/condition assessments will be conducted at selected sites. Limited to 20 places.

Cost (including workshop notes): $125

*Expressions of interest are invited with confirmation required by 1st July.

We can highly recommend these workshops.

Cumberland Land Conservancy Inc

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc endorses Cumberland Land Conservancy Inc in endeavors to increase the extent of flora and fauna habitat in the Sydney Bioregion.

State and Local Government are declining to take land for conservation management from developers and business interests who set aside a portion of their land as an offset for bushland lost to development. Also, flood prone land in private ownership, with no development potential, is allowed to sit idle and prone to weeds.

A risk also exists that a future government will dismantle environmental protection laws and conservation zones to permit development on what was originally a conservation offset for earlier losses. These lands need to be secured for conservation management in perpetuity.

Scope exists for those land owners to remove those offsets from the parent land title and hand it over to a community land conservancy group to manage it for conservation in perpetuity.

Cumberland Land Conservancy Inc (CLC) arose because of this growing need on the Cumberland Plain. Similar community land conservancies or trusts operate overseas and, nearer to us, Tasmanian Land Conservancy operates successfully with financial backing of government, major industries and educational institutions. See: here

There are other scenarios by which CLC can obtain land for conservation management including donations of money or land from benefactors.

Members of CLC will be the owners of acquired land with limited liability i.e. the incorporation, not any individual, is liable. Membership costs $10 pa and members have full voting rights. Until the first AGM office bearers are: President Wayne Olling; Secretary Mark Fuller; Treasurer Brian Powyer; Public Officer Lisa Harrold. Their background here

CLC incorporated with the NSW Dept of Fair Trading in December 2014 and has commenced the process of meeting criteria for admission to the Commonwealth Register of Environmental Organisations to obtain status for receiving tax deductible gifts from donors.

One criteria is a minimum of 50 financial members. You are earnestly invited to join what looks to be an exciting yet necessary initiative for flora and fauna conservation on the Cumberland Plain. Expressions of interests and enquiries can be lodged here. Tell your friends.

At time of writing the website has been delayed but is expected to operate within 10 days.

Cumberland Land Conservancy Inc – An Emerging Need

With news of the emergence of Cumberland Land Conservancy Inc to fill an increasing ‘space’ for flora and fauna protection on the Cumberland Plain, it is helpful to provide a brief background to the office bearers appointed to conduct affairs until the next Annual General Meeting:

President       Wayne Olling

  • Secretary of Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc and Secretary of Cumberland Conservation Network

Secretary       Mark Fuller

  • Editor of Cumberland Bird Observers Club and Coordinator of Birds in Schools Program of Birdlife Australia

Treasurer      Brian Powyer

  • President of National Trust of Austraila (NSW) Parramatta Regional; former senior executive in the NSW Principals’ Association; former Assistant Director Curriculum in the NSW Department of Education

Public Officer   Lisa Harrold

  • President of Mulgoa Valley Landcare Group Inc and President of Cumberland Conservation Network

We encourage those concerned for conservation of the flora and fauna of the Cumberland Plain to support this group by joining as a full and financial member. Membership $10 pa. Enquiries to






There are two developments being prosed

  1. The first for the ‘Eastern Precinct’ around the historic Mulgoa Public School (this incorporates 50 urban lots with roads, drainage, road lighting, bridges, signage etc.)

  2. And one for the ‘Western Precinct’ which will see subdivision of 11 x 25 acre lots


  • Keep it punchy. Use simple language and focus on the big ticket issues.

  • It is OK to criticise elements of the DA. It can be helpful to recommend alternative action.

  • Don’t be overly emotive and challenge the applicant’s claims if you disagree.

  • Refer to relevant legislation, eg Penrith LEP 2010;

  • A short point form submission is acceptable



Penrith City Council



Remember to request that all Councillors receive a copy of your Submission.


  1. The proposed subdivision is prohibited in the current E3 zoning.

  2. Use of the heritage incentive clause 5.10 (10) is highly questionable

  3. The northern rural entry to Mulgoa is under threat by this urban development

  4. The subdivision threatens the rural character of Mulgoa village and the vistas of Fernhill

  5. The subdivision impacts on the vistas of other heritage assets eg: Mulgoa Public School, Mulgoa Road

  6. The subdivision impacts on Mulgoa’s rural and historic setting and compromises its aesthetic and cultural values

  7. There is a substantial impact on amenity for residents and visitors to Mulgoa Valley: loss of rural views, altered landscape, traffic, noise, congestion, pollution, lighting signage etc. The worry this has generated is having an impact on the well-being of some residents;

  8. A similar subdivision was opposed by Council in 2010 for reasons of impact on amenity and the fact it was disjointed from Mulgoa village. These reasons today are just as valid;

  9. The subdivision, using the heritage incentive clause, would create a precedent that potentially threatens other heritage assets in NSW including within Mulgoa Valley, ie developers will be able to apply for massive scale developments (such as this one), generating profits far in excess of that which is needed to support PART of the costs associated with maintaining the heritage item. This is NOT the intention of the Heritage Incentive Clause.

  10. The subdivision robs future generations of the rural and environmental values of Mulgoa Valley;

  11. It is a fabrication that Fernhill will fall into disrepair if the subdivision is not approved. The Picnic Races and bio-banking are better alternative uses to conserve Fernhill rather than subdivision;

  12. The subdivision is about Angas Securities recovering bad or doubtful debts and Council should not be part of it

  13. Angas is seeking to extract profits from Fernhill many multiples of what it actually costs to maintain Fernhill. Subdivision is not the best use of the heritage incentive clause to conserve Fernhill

  14. In 2010 Council said it would not expand the Village footprint and, yet, are now considering going against this. Why? It is in contravention of Council’s own ‘Villages Plan’;

  15. Within the Village precinct there will be an increase of population closer to 30%;

  16. Fernhill sits within Mulgoa Valley, Mulgoa Valley does not sit inside Fernhill;

  17. A residents’ survey overwhelmingly opposed subdivision. Council’s first obligation is to listen to the community;

  18. The proposal breaches 100m setbacks from Mulgoa Road and houses will be seen;

  19. Tree planting and post, sandstone entrance and post and rail fencing is not designed to enhance the rural character but hide something which is ugly and out of character with Mulgoa.

  20. The proposal deletes important wildlife corridors;

  21. Urban subdivision will see pollutants (herbicides, insecticides, oils, coolants, detergents) and introduced species: dogs, cats, rats, noxious weeds and exotic plants;

  22. The community does not want Glenmore Park to be transported into Mulgoa.


  1. Endangered species assessment. The legally required assessments have NOT been lodged for the clearing of vegetation in the Western Precinct. Demand that Council does not issue a conditional approval which would allow the developer to lodge the necessary assessments after a decision had been made and in secret away from public and expert scrutiny.

  2. Proposed ‘offsets’. The developer proposes to trade-off the environmental impacts by protecting (‘BioBanking’) some of the bushland. Elsewhere developers have used these ‘offset’ areas to approve further clearing later on – a trick known a ‘partial retirement’ of the offset. Demand that all credits on the BioBank sites must be retired in full by any development – not left to assist further development.

  3. The Western precinct will have huge impacts on wildlife in the neighbouring Blue Mountains National Park and World Heritage Area. These impacts include nutrient, noise and light pollution which cannot be avoided.

  4. The proposal will completely cut the Greater Southern Sydney Koala Corridor. Koala populations in the Hawkesbury and Campbelltown are linked by a corridor of fertile bushland including the Western Precinct of Fernhill. Koala habitat is not found in the adjoining National Park and the western precinct proposal would break this breeding corridor completely.

  5. Shale Sandstone Transition Forest is the type of vegetation community occurring across the Western precinct (GHD Environmental Consultants 2014). It is about to be ‘uplisted’ from ‘endangered’ to ‘critically endangered’ by the NSW Scientific Committee which means, in the Committee’s own language, that ‘it is likely to become extinct’. This type of vegetation community is home to many endangered animals including Koalas and the beautiful Regent Honeyeater. Most of what remains of this forest is in patches smaller than 10 hectares but Brenda and Simon Tripp propose to destroy 44 hectares.
  6. Bushfire Risk. For those that experienced the bushfires of Christmas Day 2001, you will be aware of the speed at which wildlfire moves. It is the responsibility of Penrith Council in their decision to approve development within the Western Precinct of Fernhill to ensure that the 11 families who purchase within that subdivision can safely evacuate down Fairlight Rd. REMEMBER access to this area is via a ‘one road in, one road out’ scenario and the mass evacuation of all properties west of Mulgoa Rd down Fairlight Rd only may well present fatal consequences for new families. ALSO REMEMBER the highest fire danger days are associated with hot westerly winds which leaves little or no time for families located in the far west of the Cumberland Plain to evacuate – they will be first in line.

You do not have to comment on all the issues, only the ones which are most important to you. There may be other issues which you may wish to add that are not part of the above list.

Bio Map (Draft) for “Green Corridors” Project

The Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) is proposing to establish “Green Corridors” on the Cumberland Plain and has met with a range of people and entities in the discussion stage.

Conservationists have varying concerns about the project including a sole emphasis on creeklines. Creeklines are not suitable habitat for all fauna species; creeklines are high cost weed maintenance; it will be heavily reliant on biobank funding – that means biobanking land already protected from development as most creeklines are. While some creeklines are only remaining means for connecting key sites – and this is supported – there appear to be too many creeks in the frame for project delivery. See draft map following:

Bio Map Draft