Mark Pearson, NSW MLC for the Animal Justice Party, has spoken out against the clearing of bushland at Manyana for development just months after the region was decimated by fires.
The only unburnt area of bushland around the Conjola National Park, on the New South Wales South Coast, is set to be cleared this week for a new housing development.
“After last summer’s horrific bushfires, allowing development to continue at Manyana is a nail in the coffin for local wildlife, including the vulnerable greater glider,” Mr Pearson said.
Just 20 hectares near the small coastal village of Manyana were spared of last summer’s devastating bushfires.
The site, owned by developer Ozy Homes, was approved for development in 2008 by the NSW Government, but is now surrounded by burnt-out bushland.
“I understand Ozy Homes had earmarked this spot over a decade ago, but it’s unconscionable for them to clear that land now given the state of the remaining bushland,” Mr Pearson said.
“If Ozy Homes won’t stop developing, we need to call on the government to stop them.”
Mr Pearson has joined over 80,000 Australians in signing a petition to Rob Stokes, Member for Pittwater, to halt the clearing.
Residents and supporters of the petition fear wildlife will not recover from recent bushfires and now development.
Ozy Homes says it has installed nest boxes in the area and will try and rehome wildlife before clearing begins, but Mr Pearson says this is not enough.
“A band-aid solution is not enough. We need cessation of the development at Manyana now,” he said.
“The experts are telling us the decline in wildlife populations in NSW is a result of habitat destruction due to logging, agriculture, and coastal development.”
“Add to this the impact of climate change causing extended droughts, rising temperatures, and the increased incidence of bushfires, and you can see why NSW’s wildlife is in big trouble,” he added.
After the state’s horrific bushfires, Mr Pearson said the focus of wildlife protection should now be on protecting and increasing suitable habitat.
“We have passionate wildlife volunteers across the state who dedicate their lives to rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured wildlife, and they’re telling us already that the rescued animals have nowhere left to go,” he said.
“The government should be ashamed of the position they’ve left animals in,” Mr Pearson said.