The iconic and internationally recognised Yalgorup National Park will be expanded to accommodate 1001 hectares of land that was an offset of the Roe 8 project.
Yalgorup National Park, located more than 50 kilometres south of Mandurah, is home to the world-renowned Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar wetlands and boasts diverse flora and fauna.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, Mandurah MP David Templeman and Member for Murray-Wellington Robyn Clarke made the expansion announcement at Martin’s Tank campsite near Preston Beach on Friday.
The park provides a habitat for western ring tail possums, critically endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos and various migratory shorebirds such as the hooded plover.
“This park is internationally significant because of the fantastic migratory birds that spend time here,” Mr Dawson said at the announcement.
“The land that we’re adding to the park was purchased in 2016 as part of an offset for the Roe 8 project. Even though the project didn’t go ahead, the clearing was done, so this was done as an offset.”
The Roe 8 project – also know as the Perth Freight Link – was the proposed final stage of the Roe Highway redevelopment, aimed at creating a heavy-haulage route.
“The intent was always to protect it, but the decision has been made in the last few days to actually put it in the national park and make it a Class A reserve,” he said.
The state government has set aside an extra $400,000 for the management of the area that will be added to the existing national park,
The funding will also be used to bring the park up to the standard of an A Class reserve.
“The extra $400,000 will bring it up to speed. That will allow us to put in fire breaks and the other necessary activities in the park to make it an A Class reserve,” Mr Dawson said.
“At this stage we’re not looking to increase the camping space but that could happen in the future.
“It really is a pristine environment; it’s a beautiful place. [It’s] my first time here today but having seen it, I’d love to come back down.”
Mr Dawson said the endangered banksia woodlands in the area would also benefit from the expansion.
“There’s a magnificent banksia woodland in here and so by adding this extra 1001 hectares into the park it will ensure that we're protecting those endangered plants as well,” he said.
Staff that currently manage the park will be responsible for the new land, with no new staff expected to be hired despite the expansion.
Ms Clarke said the expansion was a boon for residents at Preston Beach and campers.
“It’s a fantastic announcement that we’ve been able to expand it and protect the environment,” she said.
“Preston Beach residents and the locals just absolutely adore this region and this area.
“It really brings tourism down here and brings some money into the local community.
“I think it’s important that we maintain it.
“People need to come down and see it. It’s a treasure. I fully recommend a visit.”
Mr Templeman congratulated Mr Dawson on the announcement.
“A thousand hectares is a very significant addition to this biological hotspot,” he said.
“It’s very important for migratory birds.
“We want to share this with the rest of the world but make sure it’s protected, which is what the minister is absolutely focused on.
“We want to share the story that is the Peel-Yalgorup system. It’s a unique story to tell.
“There isn’t a lot of sights that are Ramsar listed in Western Australia. This is one of them.
“Hats off to the minister because these additions will… continue to consolidate the Yalgorup National Park, showcase it as a great place for people to visit with there families and loved ones and enjoy the pristine ambiance of what this place provides.”
Mr Templeman also made special mention of the work the parks and wildlife staff poured into the region.