Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Heading in the right direction, but must try harder to save the planet

There is no doubt that nature conservation is the Iemma Government's strongest suit. The Government has moved forward on broad agenda, which would surely become significantly narrowed if the Coalition Parties under Peter Debnam were to gain office on March 24 th . That said, the hard issues, like fixing the planning laws to give certainty for threatened species, outlining future plans for wilderness protection and further winding back of carbon emissions did not feature in Mr Iemma's environmental announcements today,” said Mr Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“It is great news that the Iemma Government has secured 2 millionth hectare of precious wilderness with the reservation of the Mummel Wilderness and North Ettrema areas. While not wishing to detract from this achievement, much more wilderness remains unprotected in NSW and it is not appropriate to rest on past achievements,” Mr Muir said.

“The Dunphy Wilderness Fund remains unfunded, and many precious wilderness areas are incomplete and fragmented. Integrity of these areas is essential to the maintenance of biodiversity. The Conservation links vision will only work if the large intact natural areas (wilderness) stay that way. The loss of any of these conservation jewels will seriously weaken the Conservation links plan” said Mr Muir.

“While Iemma will move slowly ahead on wilderness, the Peter Debnam led Coalition will be effectively getting rid of it. Allowing grazing and horse riding in these areas is very regrettable. We still hope that the Coalition Parties will reconsider and find our precious wilderness worthy of preservation. I would not like to start the Gorilla of a Wilderness Campaign on March 25 th as a welcome for a new Coalition administration”, he said.

“Mr Iemma has to go all out to save that part of the planet that is NSW, to provide the water security we need, establish planning laws that will keep the developers honest, make the further cuts in greenhouse emissions necessary, as well as save the wilderness. It's a tall order, but it's the road we're on”, said Mr Muir.

“The cracking of water supply catchments due to longwall coal mining, as it is not a matter that should be debated, as the damage must stop. The major parties policy of an inquiry into this issue is not sufficient. The pristine Southern Metropolitan catchments must be protected as they, and like wilderness, are irreplaceable and essential”, he said.