Samuel K Dawson, coordinator, Caldera Environment Centre.
The Caldera Environment Centre is appalled by recent NSW state government moves to abolish E zones within north coast LEPs. Claims by the farming lobby about restrictive constraints imposed by the new E zones are deliberately misleading and are a hyped-up scare campaign designed to provide an excuse for state intervention. The Tweed shire has a unique ecology that needs to be better appreciated. Current land-management practices leave a lot to be desired; claims about farming ‘rights’ forget to mention ‘responsibility’. If you have the right to farm, you have the responsibility to look after the flora and fauna on that property.
The current plight of the koala on the east coast is a testament to the fact that current land-management practices have got it wrong. The proposed new E zones aren’t even as extensive or as restrictive as the previous LEP. The proposal to abolish them is a statement by the current NSW state government that it is digging a grave for environmental protection.
The proposed environmental ‘E’ zones are largely indicative and have little in the way of actual constraints. They are designed to send a message to landholders that the bushland on their property has significant natural value; this is a fact they should be proud of instead of being frightened. Contrary to assertions made by the farming lobby, the usual activities of agriculture can be carried out without requiring a Development Application under the proposed E zones.
The pressure on native bushland is obvious: koalas are becoming extinct. The current proposal to abolish the E zones proposed by the state is a sentence of E-xtinction for our koalas.