Category Archives: News

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



Riverstone Wildlife Refuge (former)



In 1962, Riverstone Meat Company (a subsidiary of Angliss Meats) sought to dedicate its landholding in the Riverstone area as a Wildlife Refuge.

In 1963, the Governor of NSW proclaimed the establishment of 3,700 acres of land on the western and eastern sides of South Creek to be “Riverstone Wildlife Refuge, No. 76”.

The Refuge extended from the Riverstone Abattoir site south to Richmond Rd and west to near George Street, Windsor. Half was in Blacktown Local Government Area.

Uses of the land were restricted. Sustaining and improving the native flora and fauna species of the area was required.

In the mid 1980’s, presumably under a new management board, Angliss Meats and the Government’s development arm (Landcom) commenced development on the western side of South Creek to form the suburbs of Bligh Park and Windsor Downs.

A 380ha area on the western side of South Creek became Windsor Downs Nature Reserve.

It will fail as a Nature Reserve because it is surrounded to the west, north and east by residential development and by Richmond Road on the south side. It is no habitat for terrestrial fauna and flora species diversity is reducing due to excess incidents of arson.

Terrestrial fauna had to retreat to that part of the Riverstone Wildlife Refuge in Blacktown Local Government Area. This includes Kangaroos, Wallaroos and Goannas among other species.

It is significant to note that most of the development of Bligh Park and Windsor Downs occurred prior to the formal revocation of Riverstone Wildlife Refuge by the Governor of NSW. Revocation occurred in about 1999.

Morally, if not legally, the development on Riverstone Wildlife Refuge on the western side of South Creek was a breach of conditions for wildlife conservation.

Now, the eastern side of South Creek is under consideration for development as Marsden Park North Precinct and Riverstone West Precinct.

Terrestrial fauna displaced from the west of South Creek sought refuge in these areas.

Our appeal to the land owners, NSW Government and Blacktown Council is to not destroy all that the former Riverstone Wildlife Refuge achieved.

  • Protect Indigenous and European cultural heritage sites
  • Allow sufficient flood plain to exist so as to prevent adverse effects as occurred in the huge 1867 and subsequent floods.

We would prefer that Marsden Park North Precinct development not proceed but, if it must …..

  • Ensure a continuous wildlife corridor from Garfield Road to a sufficiently sized floodplain of South Creek.
  • Protect old growth trees.

We are keen to speak to land owners, NSW Government and Blacktown Council on this matter before wrong environmental outcomes occur and all that Riverstone Wildlife Refuge achieved is wasted.




EPBC Act – One-Stop-Shop – Response to Draft Guidelines

To assist Conservationists in responding (by 18 December 2013) to draft guidelines for the proposed one-stop-shop  of EPBC Act ‘Referrals’ we provide content of the submission by Blue Mountains Conservation Society which raises salient points.

You can draw from BMCS’s submission for your own short submission in hope of salvaging something from the wreck of weakening of EPBC Act administration.

Many thanks to Blue Mountains Conservation Society for help in this.

See: for details of where to get and send information.

Nature of the proposed arrangement

The Bilateral Agreement has been presented as a platform for streamlining assessment processes while maintaining environmental outcomes in NSW.

Any legitimate attempt to reduce duplication in environmental planning would surely consolidate the responsibilities of our States and Territories into the Commonwealth; not divulge Commonwealth responsibilities into seven duplicate State jurisdictions.

The proposal in its successive iterations has been transparently a response to sectors of the business community who are opposed to the Commonwealth governments high environmental assessment standards. The NSW community and the ICAC have repeatedly raised alarm regarding this effective absolution of Commonwealth responsibilities which will significantly exacerbate corruption in NSW planning and assessment.

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society reiterate our opposition to the proposed Bilateral Agreement. However we also have specific concerns regarding the nature and detail of the current Draft Agreement. These concerns follow.

Direct alteration of Federal assessment criteria

The Society opposes the use of the Bilateral Agreement to substantially alter the Federal assessment criteria.

Presently the Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 section 139 provides that:

‘the Minister must not act inconsistently with:
(b) a recovery plan or threat abatement plan’. (own highlighting)

It is our understanding that this requirement extends to the preparation of assessment material by the Minister’s department.

Section 6.8 of the proposed Bilateral Agreement instead requires NSW, when preparing Assessment Reports, to merely ‘take into account’ Recovery Plans, Threat Abatement Plans, and the Commonwealth EPBC Act Environmental Offsets Policy. This constitutes a substantial shift of the assessment benchmark and would further cripple our ability to implement threatened species protection in NSW.

Section 6.8 must be revised to require NSW to ‘act consistently with’ Recovery Plans, Threat Abatement Plans, and the Commonwealth EPBC Act Environmental Offsets Policy when developing Assessment Reports.

We note that the attempt to use the Bilateral Agreement process to substantively alter the Federal assessment benchmark is cynical and a serious breach of trust with the NSW community.

The role of precedent and practice

As with any regulatory body successive Federal environment departments have developed a community of practice. This includes formalised non-legislated instruments such as codes of practice and assessment criteria. It also includes precedent on assessment decisions – most importantly a tradition of what is considered an acceptable environmental impact.

The degree to which a bilateral arrangement effectively protects our threatened biodiversity depends to a considerable degree on the maintenance of this precedence and practice. The Bilateral Agreement is disturbingly silent on how codes of practice, assessment criteria and precedent will be consolidated. We raise two key questions in this regard:

  • Will Federal written codes of practice and assessment criteria be maintained? If so, which ones?
  • Will precedent regarding Federal assessment benchmarks be maintained in decision making, or will the lower State benchmark precedent be used?

These matters are too serious to be left to an Administrative Agreement (s 9.1) beyond the public scrutiny. Rather they must be addressed up-front and transparently within the Bilateral Agreement.

Assessment Reports and public consultation

Aspects regarding the public consultation process are unclear and require resolution within the Bilateral Agreement instrument. No provision is made for a review of public submissions or for their incorporation as Appendices in Assessment Reports. The Bilateral Agreement must be amended to provide for a genuine review of public submissions as an integral step of the assessment process.

Stop-the-clock provisions

The apparent position that stop-the-clock provisions are unnecessary is alarmingly uninformed. Proposals are frequently lodged without sufficient information to allow an informed decision however it is typically not possible to determine the sufficiency of lodged data without first accepting and thoroughly assessing an application. Provisions to pause the assessment timeframe while necessary information is provided are essential for a functional planning system. Since existing provisions differ between State and Federal departments this is an area which the Bilateral Agreement must address. It is not appropriate to address this within the confines of an Administrative Agreement beyond public scrutiny and comment.

We hope that the exhibition of the draft Assessment Bilateral Agreement provides occasion for the serious failings of this proposal to be given legitimate attention.

The Society in representing our local community reiterate our appeal that the current program of planning intemperance is stemmed, and instead that NSW can progress once more toward an informed, balanced and corruption-free planning system.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy – Presentation – 27 November 2013

Glenorie Maroota Bioregional Forum is hosting Shauna Chadlowe from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) to deliver a visual presentation on the general principles of AWC and how they operate with case study examples of their innovative work.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) aims to conserve all Australian animal species and their habitats.

In order to do this AWC is establishing a network of sanctuaries to protect species and ecosystems. At the present moment AWC manages 23 sanctuaries which cover over 7.4 million acres.

On ground measures are implemented in these sanctuaries to protect the wildlife and ecosystems that occur there. These measures are based on continuing scientific research with the aim of addressing key threatening processes.

AWC hosts visitor programs at it’s sanctuaries for the educational opportunities this provides and to promote an awareness of the plight of Australian Wildlife.

AWC is an independent, non profit organisation which over the last five years has spent 90% of its total expenditure on the acquisition of land and conservation programs.

Your attendance is welcome

At: Glenorie Hall, 1729 Old Northern Rd, Glenorie
On: Wednesday 27th November 2013
Presentation begins at 7.30 pm

A light supper will be served after the presentation which will provide a good opportunity for local like-minded people to network


Following the forum on plants & animals of the Cumberland Plain held on 29 June 2013 several attendees expressed an interest in receiving a periodic email newsletter.

The first of our newsletters was distributed to subscribers on 8 August 2013.

If you would like to subscribe just let us know via the Contact Us page on this website.