Western Australian environmental groups have joined forces to call for the McGowan Government to undertake a major review of the Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Regions, released in draft form by the Barnett Government under the name ‘Green Growth Plan’.
Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen said the Barnett Government’s Green Growth Plan had “major flaws and would lead to unacceptable environmental damage”.
“Environment groups are calling for a total overhaul of the Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Regions,” Mr Verstegen said.
Groups joining forces include: Conservation Council of WA, Bird Life Australia, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, The Wilderness Society, Urban Bushland Council of WA, Wildflower Society of WA and World Wildlife Fund.
“This is one of the most significant and ambitious environmental policy initiatives to ever be undertaken in Western Australia, so it has to be done right,” he said.
“The Perth-Peel region is the jewel in the crown of the South West International Biodiversity Hotspot, but the history of development in the region has left a legacy of profound impacts.
“Approval of individual developments over many years has lacked a strategic focus, ignored cumulative impacts, and has led to a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for our biodiversity.
“Clearly a business-as-usual approach to development in the Perth-Peel region cannot continue. If we are to prevent the permanent loss of iconic species, ecosystems, and cultural sites in our region, major changes are needed.
“In addition to protection environmental values, the [strategic assessment] is a unique opportunity to turn the corner from unsustainable urban sprawl in the Perth-Peel region to a series of compact, sustainable urban centers with connectivity by public transport.
“The statement released by environment groups establishes a benchmark for the [strategic assessment] to deliver for protection of the environment in the Perth Peel region, and we call on the McGowan Government to ensure the [strategic assessment] delivers these outcomes,” concluded Mr Verstegen.
The statement calls for the strategic assessment to be revised to deliver several outcomes including:
- Significantly reduce the area of native vegetation loss and creation of a network of fully protected reserves.
- Protect and restore all remaining Threatened Ecological Communities and habitat for endangered species including Carnaby’s cockatoos and Western Ring-tailed Possums.
- Protect and restore the ecological values of rivers, wetlands, and groundwater dependent ecosystems, including by addressing nutrient pollution and enforcing wetland buffers.
- Ensure adequate resources are provided for ongoing research and management of protected areas.
- Apply sustainable urban development and planning concepts to deliver a compact, connected network city.
- Establish effective governance, implementation, and enforcement measures including legally binding conservation commitments and independent monitoring and reporting of outcomes.
Environment groups have also called for a further community consultation process so that community knowledge of environmental values can be incorporated into the strategic assessment.