Stirling banksia woodlands now ‘threatened’

Stirling banksia woodlands now ‘threatened’

STIRLING banksia bushlands have been formally recognised as ‘threatened’ by the Federal Government, but environmental groups are still concerned about land clearing.

Conservation groups have called on the State Government to place an immediate freeze on further clearing of banksia woodlands to protect the remaining areas after their recent formal recognition as a threatened ecological community under Commonwealth environment law.

Urban Bushland Council president Mary Gray said the listing was welcome news to the group.

“Perth is like no other city in the world – set in a natural landscape and global biodiversity hotspot dominated by banksia woodlands,” she said.

“These woodlands provide a critical habitat for an astonishing diversity of unique species of birds and animals. These incredible woodlands were once distributed throughout the Perth region, but now only fragments remain and those are under threat.”

A City of Stirling spokeswoman said the City had 70 bushland sites, most of which would be classified as banksia woodlands.

“The City has not undertaken any bushland clearing in the past few years except for purposes exempt under Native Bushland Clearing Regulations like for the maintenance of firebreaks,” she said.

“Bushland clearing has occurred on privately owned land for residential development such as the media precinct in Dianella, which were cleared before the threatened listing of the areas under the Environmental Protection Act.”

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said it would be “totally irresponsible” of the Government to support a ban on clearing.

“Environmentally sensitive planning for urban development is essential to ensure affordable access to housing and services for future generations,” he said.

“There are existing strong regulatory processes for the clearing of native vegetation under the State Environmental Protection Act and the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.”