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.