Illawarra’s much loved coastal reserve Killalea will become part of the NSW national park estate from 1 July 2022.
Environment and Heritage Acting Coordinator General Atticus Fleming said the gazettal of the 260-hectare Killaela Regional Park means that the property will be managed in perpetuity for its environmental, cultural heritage and recreation values.
“The transfer of Killalea to National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will ensure visitors can continue to enjoy the park, while adding greater protection to its threatened species and cultural heritage,” Mr Fleming said.
“The transfer won’t create any immediate changes to visitor access, and locals will continue to be able to enjoy the park as they do now.
“Visitors can expect to see new NPWS park entry signs, NPWS vehicles and staff working in the park.
“From August, we will start consultation with local residents, Aboriginal groups and other stakeholders to inform the development of a new plan of management.
“The plan of management will guide the future use of the area and set out how its specific social, cultural and ecological assets will be protected.”
Killalea contains 9 endangered ecological communities including littoral rainforest.
It also contains the endangered Illawarra Zieria, a flowering shrub found only in the Illawarra region.
The NPWS thanks the community for their enthusiasm and support for the transfer of Killalea, particularly Shellharbour City Council who have long supported increased protection for the park.
Crown Lands Deputy Secretary Melanie Hawyes said returning Killalea to NPWS is a win for the local community.
“Visitors and the local community have long appreciated the natural beauty of the park, so it is fantastic that it will now be afforded greater protection,” said Ms Hawyes.
“By transferring the reserve to National Parks, we are ensuring that it will be managed for its ecological and cultural values and guaranteeing it will be valued and enjoyed by future generations.”
Since 2019, the NSW Government has secured 600,000 hectares for addition to the national park estate to protect threatened habitats, wildlife and cultural heritage in perpetuity.