City of Mandurah moves to protect banksia woodlands


A typical banksia woodland in the South West.
A typical banksia woodland in the South West.

CITY of Mandurah has thrown its support behind helping save endangered banksia woodlands.

The council made a submission to the Threatened Species Scientific Committee supporting the nomination of banksia woodlands as a threatened ecological community.

Banksia woodlands have gone into substantial decline across the Swan Coastal Plains with threats from clearing for urban development, weed invasion, groundwater extraction, loss of fauna, dieback and climate change.

The woodlands are being assessed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Listing them under the Act would mean any activity likely to have a significant impact would need to be referred for assessment or approval.

Banksia woodlands stretch from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay.

They occur on the Quindalup, Bassendean and Spearwood dunes and occasionally the Pinjarra plains, the dominant landforms of the Swan Coastal Plain on which Mandurah sits.

The woodlands have an important role, according to a council report, particularly as a food and habitat source for more than 90 species of birds, including the critically endangered Carnabay’s black cockatoo.

Their valuable understoreys also support insects, frogs, snakes, skinks and many native animals such as the honey possum.

Councillor Caroline Knight told the council it was incredible that although it was known how important banksia woodlands were to the survival of many species, particularly the endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoo, so much had been lost across the Swan Coastal plain.

“There is currently very little protection under WA law; in fact the world renowned biodiversity relies on legislation from the 1950s,’’ she said.

City chief executive Mark Newman said listing the banksia woodlands would have benefits for the ecological community but could have impacts for landowners.

“Until the assessment is finalised by the Department of the Environment, we are unsure of the impact, if any, and will continue to monitor this issue,” he said.

The committee’s findings will be provided to the Federal Minister for the Environment for consideration.