Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina, has welcomed $166,000 in funding to be used to save an endangered ecological community of Coastal Cypress Pines at Brunswick Heads in Northern New South Wales and three species of large forest owls that live in the area.
Ms Smith today asked Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton at Question Time to preserve the Coastal Cypress Pines in the Terrace Reserve at Brunswick Heads and prevent damage to them from large vehicles and intensive year-round camping.
“In response to the concerns I raised today and in May this year, funding has now been awarded under the state-wide Save Our Species program to secure threatened plants and animals in the wild in NSW,” said Ms Smith.
“The Minister gave me her assurances in May that the Coastal Cypress Pines EEC are protected under the requirements of the Biodiversity Conservation Act, but it is my fear that the current application for camping within the EEC by Reflections Holiday Park avoids these requirements.”
“The latest ecological report on the area says that any development or camping within the EEC is a threat to this precious community of trees.”
Ms Smith said, “We now know that the stand of Cypress Pine trees in the Southern Terrace Reserve in Brunswick is up to 300 years old and is part of a larger endangered ecological community of trees. It is absolutely vital that we protect these trees and the Biodiversity Conservation Act demands their protection.
“It’s very disturbing that Byron Shire Council staff feel that they have been strong-armed into agreeing with developers’ demands to allow camping in the EEC.
“I think Council is well within its rights to delay making a decision on camping pending further ecological reports, meanwhile I am calling on the Minister for the Environment to tap her colleagues, the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Crown Lands on the shoulders and remind them that corporate interests should not trump the protection of a significant EEC, part of which is on Crown land.”
“Any proposed development within the Brunswick Heads Coastal Cypress Pines EEC should be held to the strictest requirements of the Biodiversity Conservation Act with the preservation of the Coastal Cypress Pines taking priority over potential profits,” said Ms Smith.