Another 18,000 hectares added for conservation

More than 18,000 hectares of land will be added to the NSW conservation network, providing a significant boost to the State’s biodiversity, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced today.

Valley view and mesa of the Pantoneys Crown, Gardens of Stone National Park

The addition of this extra land will increase the size of the NSW Parks Estate to more than 7.1 million hectares – larger than the size of Tasmania.

“The new national park additions, totalling 5,383 hectares, are a combination of strategic acquisitions and areas of state forest to be transferred to the national parks system,” Ms Upton said.

“A further 13,000 hectares of state forest will be transferred to the care of the National Parks and Wildlife Service as eight new Flora Reserves to improve conservation while maintaining the community’s ability to access these areas for recreation.

“Today’s announcement is in addition to the Government’s announcement on the 6 May to secure more than 24,000 hectares for koala protection so a total increase of more than 42,000 hectares in under a week.”

The Minister said all the additions would contribute practical environmental benefits to the State of NSW.

“These land additions will contribute to fantastic environmental outcomes including protecting threatened species such as the brush tailed rock wallaby, powerful owl, gang gang cockatoo and the spotted tailed quoll,” Ms Upton said.

“Amongst the many additions being announced is the small but important 9.7 hectare addition to the Goulburn River State Conservation Area, securing public access to visitor facilities at The Drip, near Mudgee and an expansion of the Gardens of Stone National Park.”

“Another is the establishment of a new 1873 hectare flora reserve north-west of Gosford adjoining Yengo National Park which will also protect significant Aboriginal cultural heritage.”

The Minister said that management of the new Flora Reserves and park additions will be transferred in stages, with the first transfers commencing on 1 July this year.

The Office of Environment and Heritage will work with Forestry Corporation of NSW as well as other land owners and key stakeholders to develop plans to ensure the land being transferred is managed to deliver maximum environmental gains and where appropriate to  maintain existing recreational uses including camping, mountain biking and horse riding.