Category Archives: Initiatives

Werrington Kangaroos

There are the two development proposals threatening the long term home of the kangaroos at what has been the Werrington Park campus of Western Sydney University.

One is the university’s business park plan for the greater area of the site. That situation has not changed since our last report except to say that the university has told us that the kangaroos will be part of the future plan.

The other threat is the 28ha section of the overall site which the university sold to a developer and which Lend Lease submitted a proposal for intense development. That land has been labelled 16 Chapman St Werrington.

The Lend Lease proposal is before Penrith Council and will ultimately go to an external NSW Planning Panel for determination. Penrith Council will make a recommendation to the Planning Panel but has already indicated some concern for the future of the kangaroos with the loss of nearly a third of their habitat and foraging area. It was also necessary for Lend Lease to obtain the approval of the Commonwealth Government in accordance with provisions of the EPBC Act.

Blacktown & District Environment Group (BDEG) lodged a submission raising concern about the future of the kangaroos and the loss of their habitat and foraging area. The EPBC Act offsetting guidelines acknowledge the worth of derived grasslands between stands of Cumberland Plain Shale Woodlands and the importance of connectivity for fauna. However, in the past week we received advice that the Commonwealth Government, in another capitulation to developer interests over and above environmental protection and its own offsetting guidelines, waved through the development proposal. Only some cosmetic deference to reporting requirements were placed upon the development proposal.

It is sickening that the present administrators of the Commonwealth EPBC Act serve only to usher in the demise of Commonwealth environmental protection. What is their worth? Who could achieve any satisfaction from destroying that which they are employed to uphold and protect?

We battle on fully aware that societal sensitivity is in decline and this is reflected in the diminution of environment protection legislation through bureaucrats lacking the fortitude and sensitivity of those who foresaw the need for environmental protection decades ago.

Werrington Kangaroos

This is an update to the matter of the kangaroos at Werrington Park we have been pursuing.

Discussions have occurred with representatives of Western Sydney University (WSU) as to the future of the mob of kangaroos which (including their ancestors) have been a resident part of the environmental and social fabric of the property Werrington Park back as far as the 1950s.

Representatives of WSU said they have not come up with a definitive plan but there is an intention to have development on the site as part of a major precinct plan for the area including sites not part of the WSU’s ownership. However, the representatives said preservation of the kangaroos on the site will form part of the plan and discussions are taking place with scientists and the government to that end.

We have been invited to participate in further discussions along the way. How it can be that the area of of foraging and habitat for kangaroos can be sustained while areas are subjected to development is not clear to us and is a worry.

Meanwhile, a third of the area that has been foraging and habitat for the kangaroos has been sold and is in the hands of Lend Lease. That party has a Development Application lodged with Penrith City Council as 16 Chapman St Werrington and intensive housing development is the proposal. No consideration has been given to the kangaroos and only miniscule consideration of flora protection on site is proposed by Lend Lease. We lodged our objection to this parlous situation with Penrith City Council and the Commonwealth Government and we await the outcome of our protestations.

Protect the Mob of Werrington Kangaroos

Werrington Kangaroos

The image above shows just some of the near 40 kangaroos on what has been the Werrington campus of Western Sydney University (WSU).

Prior to take-up of the land by WSU the land was government land. Early citizens will recall driving past this site along the Great Western Hwy or travelling by train and seeing a mob of kangaroos as well as emus grazing freely under protection.

Well, today the emus are gone but kangaroos remain. The site, therefore, has sustained a population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos – an emblem of the natural heritage of the eastern margin of NSW for nearly 70 years, at least.

The NSW Heritage Register recognises the Georgian Revival style house ‘Frogmore’ on the land and, significantly, includes as part of the listing “The expansive undulating grounds provide an important parklike element which is visible from both the railway and road. These grounds serve to demarcate the South Creek basin from the Nepean Valley system.”  These grounds are the foraging area and habitat for the mob of kangaroos.

Sad to say, a real threat now exists from an educational institution looking for financial gain from the land at cost to the survival of the mob of kangaroos. More than a third of the approximately 80 plus ha of land has been quietly sold to a developer and the international company Lend Lease is seeking intensive residential development on the 28ha purchased. Even more sadly, Lend Lease has relied on a completely erroneous fauna survey which does not even recognise the presence of kangaroos foraging the site.

Now WSU is seeking to develop a business park on the remaining area of the campus site. Such a proposal cannot accommodate the mob of kangaroos and what is supposed to be an institution educating future generations on environmental sensitivity is set to be ordering the killing of kangaroos which have previously been protected in situ.

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc opposes this wilful grab for dollars at cost to this representation of one of our national and cultural heritage. We will join with others protesting the actions of Lend Lease and Western Sydney University. In the interim please go to to sign the petition to protect the mob of kangaroos.

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 Conservation Corridor

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

Blacktown District Environment Group Inc. supports other conservationists in Western Sydney who seek establishment of the Cumberland Conservation Corridor.

The Cumberland Conservation Corridor links Priority Conservation Sites identified by the NSW Government for achieving the Cumberland Plain Recovery Plan and fulfilment of the “Maintain or Improve” outcomes for Biodiversity Certification of the Sydney Growth Centres.

The Cumberland Conservation Corridor is considered by conservationists to be the last opportunity to sustain viable populations of the flora and fauna of Western Sydney.