Greens candidate for Richmond Dawn Walker and former Greens leader Bob Brown yesterday launched an initiative to protect the Cobaki and Terranora broadwaters.
The area is one of ten unique environments across NSW, which the party has highlighted are under threat.
The threats to the broadwaters include the extension of Gold Coast Airport and the nearby Cobaki residential development for some 5,000 homes, the first stage of which coincidentally received the tick of approval from the Joint Regional Planning Panel yesterday.
This initial stage includes bulk earthworks but the Greens are concerned that illegal earthworks already undertaken at the site have contributed to runoff into the system.
The JRPP said in a media release it had approved the application ‘subject to conditions, including environmental management plans.’
The panel Chair, Garry West said, ‘Conditions placed on the project will help achieve a balance between the environment and housing for future residents.’
But Mr Brown said that despite the Cobaki and Terranora broadwaters being a protected wetland and listed as an Endangered Ecological Community the ecosystem was still under threat.
Migratory bird habitat
‘The Broadwaters contain a high diversity of flora and fauna including many threatened species, as well as significant ecosystems like rainforest, migratory bird habitat, mangrove and seagrass habitat important fish breeding grounds.
‘The area is also a significant Aboriginal cultural landscape with a history of regular large gatherings of Aboriginal peoples.
‘Landscapes and special places, like the Cobaki and Terranora broadwaters, are under threat of destruction because successive governments in NSW and federally have weakened the laws that are supposed to protect the environment,’ Mr Brown said.
As part of the policy, the Greens are proposing to apply for Ramsar listing of the wetlands.
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
Ms Walker said that despite its natural and cultural values the area is ‘subject to pollution and sediment load from nearby construction projects.’
‘The proposed Gold Coast airport extension will only make this worse,’ she said.
‘The Greens are proposing a sustainable way forward for the Cobaki and Terranora broadwaters that protects our unique wildlife and environment.
‘Ramsar listing commits governments to wise use and conservation of our wetlands, and puts our unique environment in the international spotlight.
‘Protecting our precious environment is key component of our election platform. If elected I will work with my state colleagues Jan Barham MLC and Senator Lee Rhiannon to see Ramsar protection of this precious environment,’ Ms Walker said.