Roll Up The Maps: The Environmental Era In NSW Comes To An End
From the March 2011 bulletin of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, one of the voluntary conservation organisations of NSW:
It is fair to say that the major conservation achievements of the last sixteen years of Labor rule will probably never be equalled. Three million hectares of national parks added, a tripling of the wilderness estate by the addition of 1.5 million hectares, stopping the clearing of native vegetation, new threatened species legislation, and water and energy conservation schemes.
The Colong Foundation goes on to praise last year’s decision on the River Red Gums and the 70,000 hectares of new national parks in the central west near Dubbo. They confer praise on Environment Minster Frank Sartor, the former Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, saying he can “leave parliament well satisfied [with] his green legacy achieved in only sixteen months.”
On their front page they give credit to Frank Sartor for placing wilderness status under the Wilderness Act 1987 (introduced by me when I was Minister for the Environment in the Unsworth government) on 26,850 hectares of land voluntarily acquired under the fund that honours the great conservationist Milo Dunphy.
The Colong Bulletin acknowledges that the political environment means that this golden age of conservation is being wrapped up with the political odds suggesting an absolute majority for the Coalition in the Legislative Council or a majority in partnership with the Shooters and Fishers Party. Says the Foundation:
This situation would lead to demands for hunting in national parks and fishing in marine sanctuaries, with the science thrown out the window. Land clearing laws are already flagged to go and perhaps national parks could be opened up to 4WD vehicles (for hunting, fishing and shooting).
It seems the conservation era in NSW ended when the caretaker period started on March 4, and will formally conclude when the O’Farrell government is sworn-in in early April.