June 5 - 11, 2016: Issue 266

 Bill to Facilitate Mona Vale Road Upgrades Passes: Vital Fauna Bridge Discussed

The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Adjustment of Areas) Bill 2016 was passed on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016. Item () (iii) of this allows for the taking an area of about 0.768 hectare, from the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to facilitate the upgrade of Mona Vale road west. Part of the speeches during the Reading of this Bill focused on the necessity to make provision for a fauna bridge.

This part of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, where it relates to the Mona Vale Road West upgrade, will be transferred to Roads and Maritime Services, Mark Speakman, Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, and Assistant Minister for Planning, reiterated during this week's Parliamentary  sessions. 

Compensatory land will be offered by Roads and Maritime Services, in almost two hectares of land being added to the adjoining Garigal National Park. This will include land surrounding Whale Rock, a significant Aboriginal rock engraving, which will greatly benefit from increased protection under the reserve system.'

The pre passage speeches and readings included a noting by the the Hon. John Ajaka, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Multiculturalism, who moved the motion for the second reading, that the Mona Vale road west upgrade includes a proposed fauna bridge that will connect Garigal and Ku-ring-gai Chase national parks. 

Ecologists have identified the need to improve fauna connectivity between Ku-ring-gai Chase and Garigal national parks to address known fauna mortality on roads in the northern beaches area and to support the long-term survival of swamp wallaby populations. The proposed fauna bridge will promote the safe passage of native animals and allow dispersal and movement between the two national parks that are feeling the pressure from nearby residential development. 

Local organisation members of the Pittwater Natural Heritage Association, the Wildlife Roadkill Prevention Association (formerly Northern Beaches Roadkill Prevention) and Southern Cross Wildlife Care have all provided input into this vital fauna pass. 

This will be the first fauna bridge in metropolitan Sydney.

Southern Cross Wildlife Care is also currently raising funds for a Mobile Wildlife Clinic. See: Mobile Wildlife Clinic Fundraiser for Sydney's Northern Beaches: Please Help Save Our Resident Sick and Injured Animals

The NSW Government states this proposal to revoke a small section of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to facilitate the Mona Vale Road west upgrade will provide positive outcomes for public safety, cultural heritage and conservation and recreation, with an overall net gain of reserved land.

The bill facilitating the Mona Vale Road west upgrade is a necessary response to safety and congestion issues. It will also rationalise road boundaries to improve management. 

Roads and Maritime Services is upgrading Mona Vale Road west on Sydney's northern beaches, to provide a four-lane dual carriageway. This section of Mona Vale Road suffers traffic congestion in peak periods and requires upgrading to improve safety and reduce travel times.

Stage 3 – Mona Vale Road West upgrade is the upgrading of 3.2 kilometres of Mona Vale Road from two lanes to four lanes between McCarrs Creek Road, Terrey Hills and Powder Works Road, Ingleside. 

Find out more about the Mona Vale road upgrades here: www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/sydney-north/mona-vale-road/

Overview of Bill

The object of this Bill is to amend the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974:

(a) to change the reservation of Ben Halls Gap National Park (which consists of about 3,018 hectares) to a nature reserve to be known as Ben Halls Gap Nature Reserve, and

(b) to change the reservation of about 2,020 hectares of Khappinghat Nature Reserve to a national park to be known as Khappinghat National Park, and

(c) to revoke the reservation of about 88.42 hectares of Gwydir Wetlands State Conservation Area, and

(d) to revoke the reservation of the following land and to vest the land in the Minister for the purposes of Part 11 of that Act, which enables the Minister to sell, grant leases of, dispose of or otherwise deal with the land:

(i) about 0.1 hectare of Jervis Bay National Park,

(ii) about 140.94 hectares of Kosciuszko National Park,

(iii) about 2.018 hectares of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park,

(iv) about 0.04 hectare beneath the surface of Lane Cove National Park,

(v) about 0.34 hectare of Middle Brother National Park,

(vi) about 18.5 hectares of Morton National Park,

(vii) Penrith Lakes Regional Park (which consists of about 6,656 square metres),

(viii) about 13.4 hectares of Royal National Park,

 (ix) about 1.6 hectares of Wollemi National Park,

(x) about 0.11 hectare of Yaegl Nature Reserve, and

(e) to provide that the Minister must not transfer the parts of that land currently forming part of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Middle Brother National Park, unless satisfied that appropriate compensation has been provided, and

(f) to revoke the reservation of about 86.31 hectares of land in Macquarie Pass State Conservation Area that has been transferred to the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, following a claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.

The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Adjustment of Areas) Bill 2016 Bill (and Explanatory note) are available here http://legislation.nsw.gov.au/bills/0918905e-4c51-49d1-83cf-61443869e0b6 

Revocation of part of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park 

(1) This clause applies to the following land: (a) land having an area of about 1.25 hectares, as shown by blue hatching on the diagram catalogued Misc R 00337 (dated 11 February 2015) in the Office of Environment and Heritage, (b) land having an area of about 0.768 hectare, as shown by pink shading on the map marked “DS2015/001182”, held in the office of Roads and Maritime Services at Parramatta. 

(2) The reservation under this Act as national park of land to which this clause applies is revoked.

The other 1.25 hectares is to enable the expansion of the St Ives Pistol Club. 

St Ives Pistol Club is located on Crown land adjacent to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The club wishes to upgrade and expand its facility to accommodate an expanding membership. It currently has about 400 members, including men, women and juniors. Club members have represented Australia at the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the World Shooting Championships. 92% of club members are from the area north of Parramatta River to Palm Beach. The club was established on its existing site in 1964 under lease from Crown Lands.

The expansion proposal is currently constrained by existing Aboriginal land claims on its southern and eastern boundaries and by Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park on its northern and western boundaries. Because the expansion of the club is not a permissible activity under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, the most practical and viable option available to enable the expansion to proceed was to revoke 1.25 hectares of the national park on the club's western boundary. 

The land proposed for revocation is already degraded, most likely been caused by neighbouring land uses, including a quarry. Its revocation will not have an impact on the park's overall conservation values. The vegetation on the land to be revoked has weeds, including lantana, pampas grass, Crofton weed, whiskey grass, and cassia. There is also evidence on the land of former quarry uses, including earth mounds and areas of fill.

The St Ives Pistol Club currently occupies a 1.3 hectare parcel of Crown land under a lease agreement administered by the Department of Primary Industries—Lands that is in addition to the area being revoked. Under the terms of the Crown land lease agreement the club currently pays a market rental of $9,556 a year. Once the land is transferred, and after compensatory land has been added to the national parks system, the department will enter into negotiations with the pistol club for a new lease to cover the existing 1.3-hectare site and the additional 1.2 hectares. 

As part of the lease negotiations, the department will engage a valuer to undertake a valuation of the whole of the site with a view to determining a market rent. The club may be eligible to rental reduction up to a maximum of 50 per cent from the market rent in accordance with departmental longstanding rental policies that can apply to not-for-profit, single-purpose sporting organisations.

The speeches this week stated 'An enormous amount of compensation has been agreed to for the revocation of the 1.25 hectares. '

The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Adjustment of Areas) Bill 2016, passed by both Houses of Parliament and is now awaiting assent.


 Report/Pictures A J Guesdon, 2016.