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NSW Government doubles goal for expansion of national parks estate
The NSW Government has announced that it has added more than 270,000 hectares to its national park estate, meeting its goals to increase the footprint a year early.
Gazetting 202,669 hectares of additional national park land on Friday, including 153,682 hectares for the new Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp national park in the state’s far north-west, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the new additions were the largest increase to national parks in a single day since 2005.
He advised “permanently reserving national parks is the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation in NSW.
“I made a commitment last year to expand the parks estate by 200,000 hectares and I am pleased to see that we have achieved that and more in just over a year.
“That’s why we are taking it up a notch and doubling our initial target, with a revised goal to have added 400,000 hectares in total to our national park footprint by the end of 2022.”
The acquisition of the land for the new Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp national park in June was the largest single purchase of private land for conservation in the state’s history and was praised as a significant step for threatened species and habitat.
Other additions, formally reserved on Friday, include:
• Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park – 153,682 hectares
• Capertee National Park addition – 1,057 hectares
• Maria National Park addition – 66 hectares
• Mungo National Park addition (TSR) – 7,074 hectares
• Sturt National Park addition (TSR) – 17,479 hectares
The additions to Capertee National Park near Lithgow will increase protection for the Great Eastern Ranges wildlife corridor and a globally significant bird breeding area, including habitat for the critically endangered regent honeyeater. While the additions to Maria National Park will protect critical koala habitat on the NSW mid-north coast.
Also included in the additions are reclaimed Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) in the State’s far-north west that are already managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Minister Kean’s announcement comes at a time when the NSW Government has been under pressure over its environmental policies, after the koala state environmental planning policy (Sepp) nearly split the Coalition.
The turmoil has resulted in proposed changes to laws that legal experts and conservationists have said would weaken environmental protections.
NSW Government policies have also led to increases in land-clearing and allowed for continued logging of habitat after the state’s bushfire disaster.
Images: Capertee National Park (top and below, credit K. Eardley) and the Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park (middle).
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