In the “critical pre-election window” – less than five months out from the NSW election – the Blue Mountains Conservation Society had a public meeting to hear how party environmental policies will affect the region.
A full house heard how Blue Mountains Labor MP Trish Doyle went into battle on issues like coal licences – even against her own party members.
While, with no endorsed Greens candidate, NSW Upper House Greens MP Justin Field stepped in to outline his party’s clear environmental credentials, prior to the coming election on March 23.
The Liberal’s Owen Laffin attended the event and took notes, but was not officially endorsed as their candidate for several days afterwards, and so did not speak at the meeting.
The 2019 state election forum on October 31 at Lawson Mechanics Institute called for a “Cleaner Greener NSW and Blue Mountains”.
The Conservation Society’s president Madi Maclean asked for the politicians to not raise the dam wall, issue a ban on coal licences and “double funding for the National Parks Service now national parks funding has gone to a trickle”.
“This is the critical pre-election window when parties are really paying attention to what electorates want,” she said.
The Society wants to see five strategic additions made to national parks in the area including: Radiata Plateau; the ‘Lost Lands’ – an area surrouding Govetts Creek catchment critical to the Grose River system around North Katoomba/North Leura; an area at Kings Tableland near the Old Queen Victoria Hospital at Wentworth Falls which acts as a major feeding area for the glossy black cockatoo and a feed and rest spot during the annual honeyeater migration; Faulconbridge Mallee Ridge which houses the rare Faulconbridge Mallee Ash and is located at the headwaters of Linden Creek a major tributary of the Grose River and finally West Glenbrook reserve which includes rare plants as well as the critically endangered Shale Sandstone Transition Forest.
Ms Doyle listed a range of environmental failings by the current state Liberal government including the most recent attempt to de-gazette the Murray Valley National Park.
She said many locals working for national parks were on “tenterhooks” worrying about their jobs.
Her party was committed to not raising Warragamba Dam, to growing the national parks estate and to overturning the government’s biodiversity laws.
Audience members expressed concerns about the “collapse of the web of life” with “habitat loss the primary reason” created by land clearing.
The Conservation Society will contact all endorsed candidates before Christmas with an extensive questionnaire to get a firm commitments on their policies.