Fresh correspondence from the Planning Minister Rob Stokes to Greens MP David Shoebridge shows the Minister and Department are aware of the imminent clearing for development in Manyana and sending state compliance officers onsite tomorrow to review the proposed destruction.
There is a clear recognition of the importance of the site even in the 2008 conditions of approval which specify that clearing of Bangalay Moist Woodland/Open Forest cannot occur between the start of October and end of February because of the impacts on this critical habitat of the migratory Black Faced Monarch and the Rufous Fantail birds.
The community of Manyana have been online, on the bush telegraph, to Parliament and are now exercising in their local area while standing up for the protection of the remaining unburnt forest in their community. All the exercise is socially distanced and compliant with public health orders.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“While we are disappointed the Minister has not issued a stop work order, the fact compliance monitoring will start from tomorrow is a positive step.
“The approval to clear this forest dates to 2008, yet even then the clearing was limited because of the impact on migratory species. Given the decimation of the surrounding forest by the bushfires this impact will be magnified.
“It’s clear that in the 12 years since the consent was granted, conditions on the ground have changed – not least due to the unprecedented bushfires in the region which have burned hundreds of surrounding hectares.
“While the Minister is being advised that clearing is prohibited under the DA, a close review of the consent conditions suggests that broadscale clearing will occur under the DA conditions.
“Locals have had strong support from Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findlay but the Mayor is not getting the support needed from a conservative majority on Council who are ignoring local concerns.
“We have seen thousands of signatures brought to the NSW Parliament by concerned local residents, and emails and letters from around the state and the country in support of protecting these trees and the birds and animals that rely on them.
“The local community are fighting hard to protect this precious remaining forest, and should be commended on their creative and socially distanced walking protest,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Copies of the correspondence are available on request