Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan finalised

A first-of-its-kind plan that protects important biodiversity and koala populations, while supporting more than 73,000 new homes in Western Sydney, has been finalised by the NSW Government.

Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts said the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan (CPCP) represented a clear vision for Western Sydney, carefully balancing the environment with the delivery of new housing, jobs and infrastructure.

“This is one of the largest strategic conservation plans to be undertaken in Australia, setting the standard for streamlining development processes in growth areas, without sacrificing essential conservation considerations,” Mr Roberts said.

“The CPCP will provide all the necessary state biodiversity approvals upfront for more than 11,000 hectares of land. Having those approvals in place from the get-go for landholders will result in more homes being built faster.”

Minister for Environment and Heritage James Griffin said the plan was the first strategic biodiversity certification under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

“Western Sydney is home to an incredibly diverse variety of plants and animals, including one of the state’s healthiest koala populations, as well as some rare species only found in the Cumberland Plain, such as the Cumberland Plain Woodland and the Cumberland Plain Land Snail,” Mr Griffin said.

“This plan is an important step in ensuring the long-term protection of these species, working alongside the programs in the NSW Koala Strategy to conserve local biodiversity values.

“The plan has now been submitted to the Australian Government and, if approved, federal biodiversity approvals will be provided up front as well to reduce the administrative burden on local development.”

The final plan incorporates advice provided by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, regarding the protection of koala populations. This includes establishing koala corridors, restoring habitat, installing exclusion fencing, and constructing two crossings to enable koala movement across Appin Road.

It also includes a dedicated reserve to be managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, to protect and restore up to 1,830 hectares of koala habitat along the Georges River, with the first land dedications having already been made in April this year.

As part of the finalisation, a ‘What We Heard’ report has been released publicly, summarising the feedback received during the exhibition period.

In total, the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan has 26 commitments and 131 actions which, by 2056, will see the protection of more than 11,500 hectares of conservation land, including connection, restoration, and preservation of at least 5,325 hectares of threatened native vegetation, to offset development impacts.

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