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Statement from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Statement from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

This proposal strikes the right balance between providing new homes for a growing area and preserving Appin’s unique village character while protecting crucial habitat for the endangered koala.

Two-thirds of the Appin site will be set aside as environmental conservation land, preserving the main bushland corridor along Ousedale Creek, with its important koala habitat.

The site with both the environmental zoning and the new housing has been incorporated in the draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Management Plan. Before the rezoning, the land was zoned rural and could be cleared as part of routine agricultural activities.

The Department and proponent are negotiating a voluntary planning agreement to achieve the dedication of approximately 562ha of conservation land (including the Macquariedale Road site) at no cost to Government. This will enable important conservation lands to be established in perpetuity and managed to protect and enhance their biodiversity values.

Since the original lodgement in 2011, the State Government has done extensive environmental, infrastructure and biodiversity work as part of the Greater Macarthur 2040, an interim plan for the Greater Macarthur Growth Area and the draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Management Plan.

Both of these bodies of work are each supported by a range of technical studies, such as biodiversity and ecology, bushfire, and water management among others. The draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Management Plan is supported by extensive scientific research on koalas that has been reviewed by State and Commonwealth environment departments.

The draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Management Plan was also informed by the “priority koala habitat restoration layer” from the Wollondilly Koala Conservation Project which aims to improve koala habitat regional connectivity and habitat restoration in South Western Sydney.

Finally, the Cumberland Plain Conservation Management Plan has been prepared with the benefit of the Chief Scientist report on koalas in South Western Sydney.