For World Wetlands Day – 10,000 signatures to save Mambo Wetlands
In Parliament | 01.02.18
Port Stephens residents have celebrated the collection of over 10,000 signatures on a petition supporting the buy-back of the Mambo Wetlands. This petition will now trigger a debate on the issue in the NSW Parliament and reignite urgent calls for the NSW Government to admit their mistake and buy back the wetlands.
After a six hectare section of the Mambo Wanda Wetlands was sold by the NSW Liberal Government in 2016 to a local property developer for a tiny $250,000, local residents have been campaigning for the government to buy it back.
This petition is part of these efforts with the local community group, the Mambo Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group, holding regular petition signing stalls at local markets, shopping centres and main streets. The petition has found support from both angry locals and shocked tourists.
The 10,000 signatures were gathered shortly before a rally by residents on Thursday morning to mark World Wetlands Day on Friday.*
The Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter has since labelled the sale a ‘mistake’ but refused to buy back the land.
A campaign by residents has already defeated a development application to Port Stephens Council to build housing in the wetlands. This proposal reportedly received the highest number of submission for any DA in Council’s history.
A second DA has now been submitted and is being considered by Council staff.
The Mambo wetlands are an important habitat for the local endangered koala population. The section of the wetlands sold off by the Liberal Government includes several known koala pathways and breeding grounds.
The Wetlands also contain other threatened species such as bats, squirrel gliders, powerful owls, Wallum froglets, green bell frog and various migratory birds which exist in the area and contribute substantially to the aquatic processes of the estuary.
The wetlands are also a vital part of the local environment contributing to flood control and the filtering and cleaning of stormwater. They are also home to endangered ecological communities of woodlands and forest.
*World Wetlands Day is celebrated every 2 February to mark the adoption of the Ramsar Convention in Iran in 1971. The convention is a treaty and commitment to action and international cooperation for the conservations and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
Quotes attributable to Penny Sharpe MLC, Shadow Minister for the Environment
“Wetlands are a vital part of our environment. The Mambo Wetlands are no exception.”
“These wetlands should never have been sold. The Government has admitted that. It is time for them to right this wrong and buy them back. Our native animals and especially our koalas are depending on it.”
“Unless the wetlands are delivered back into public hands they will never be safe from development.”
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP, Member for Port Stephens
“Our community fought to stop this sale and we will keep fighting until this precious koala habitat is back in public hand.”
“With over 10,000 signatures collected, this issue will now be debated in the NSW Parliament. The Government will need to tell residents why they still refuse to buy back this precious habitat.”
“I want to thank everyone in the community who has signed the petition, collected signatures, attended rallies and wrote submissions.”
“Since the ‘for sale’ sign went up, the community has opposed this sale. The Government ignored the community when they sold it off, but this petition means they can’t ignore the community again.”