Key piece of Western Sydney conservation puzzle to be protected

A major agreement between the NSW Government and the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council (DLALC) will support the development of land managed by DLALC in Western Sydney, while protecting 1100 hectares of important woodlands on the Cumberland Plain.

Cumberland Plain Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion Eucalyptus tereticornis Forest red gum

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said preparation of the biodiversity assessment and approvals for Deerubbin's Penrith Structure Plan will be fast-tracked, providing economic opportunities for Aboriginal people while securing more land to be protected under the NSW Government's Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan.

"The Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan is our greatest defence for the ancient woodlands of Western Sydney. When certified, this plan will permanently protect many important threatened native plants and animals, while giving the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council certainty to plan its future," Mr Stokes said.

Biodiversity certification of DLAC's Penrith Structure Plan has been declared as 'strategic' by the Minister for Energy and Environment. Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said this declaration is the first of its kind and demonstrates this Government's commitment to support Local Aboriginal Land Councils and work collaboratively to deliver the best outcomes for our growing communities.

"The DLALC is a significant landholder in Western Sydney and cutting the green tape to enhance job creation and opportunity for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people is a huge step forward. This is practical reconciliation in action," Mr Ayres said.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the proposed conservation measures include protecting around 1100 hectares of native vegetation and is only made possible by the opportunity to partner with DLALC.

"The strategic declaration of the Penrith Structure Plan will deliver significant conservation outcomes and enable us to protect one of the largest remnant areas of intact vegetation on the Cumberland Plain by expanding Agnes Banks Nature Reserve and Castlereagh Nature Reserve while enabling DLALC to realise the socio-economic opportunities of their lands," Mr Kean said.

Chairperson of the DLALC Athol Smith said: "The Penrith Structure Plan represents a nationally significant partnership between the NSW Government and a Local Aboriginal Land Council, delivering benefits for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities of Western Sydney."

Chief Executive Officer Emeritus of the DLALC Kevin Cavanagh said: "It is historic that the DLALC is willing to provide 1,100 hectares of land in Western Sydney for biodiversity conservation – the scale of this gift to the citizens of NSW cannot be underestimated."

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is working with DLALC and an independent accredited assessor to prepare the relevant statutory and public consultation documents.

For more information visit the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan webpage.