Bush Forever no real protection at all
Date:Friday, June 24, 2011
The Greens have warned that Bush Forever sites will continue to be vulnerable to development and degradation because their protection and management is inconsistent and varies wildly from site to site. The comments came following a debate in Parliament this week on a motion from Hon Alison Xamon MLC, Greens spokesperson for Urban Bushland.
“I welcome the government's finalisation of Bush Forever, however statutory protection for these sites is still far too weak. These important urban bushland areas continue to be degraded due to extensive off-road vehicle damage, rubbish dumping, arson and other human activities,” Ms Xamon said.
“We are also seeing that many of the sites are still the subject of development, despite being recognised as important bushland.”
Bush Forever seeks to protect at least 10% of each of the vegetation types that originally existed in the Perth Metropolitan Region of the Swan Coastal Plain.
"We've already seen a significant decline in the number of vegetation types on the Swan Coastal plain, below what is deemed to be the acceptable level of 10%.
"In the last 5 years, we’ve lost 25,000 hectares of urban bushland, so our remaining Bush Forever sites are becoming even more valuable to us. However there’s no statutory requirement for them to be managed for conservation purposes.
“When people tear through these environmentally sensitive areas with off-road vehicles or dump rubbish, it destroys the properties that made them Bush Forever sites in the first pace.
"For example, some Bush Forever sites are situated on road reserves, with rubbish strewn all over them. These sites are under threat from every angle – low rainfall, population pressure, disease.
"To protect these sites, we need funding for projects such as appropriate fencing, pathways and signage. Also, the many volunteer groups that do such a wonderful job managing these sites need to be supported with funding for activities such as weeding and replanting programs.
“Healthy Bush Forever sites and bush corridors are crucial to the survival of our native flora and fauna. Their importance cannot be overstated. We need to close up all the loopholes, confusion and gaps in the legislation to protect what’s left of these invaluable natural assets,” added Ms Xamon.