Open Space: Berejiklian cannot hide Liberals' horror environmental record with one policy and no details

In Parliament | 09.04.18

The NSW Labor Opposition today called Premier Berejiklian’s Open Spaces and Greener Sydney package a fig leaf that fails to hide her government’s horrific record of destroying open green space across Sydney and New South Wales.

For the past seven years the Liberal-National Government has introduced laws that make it easier to pull down trees, clear blocks of land and sell off or rezone public land for development. The Government has presided over development without planning for enough green space to cater for growing communities.

Today’s announcement is playing catch up long after the green space has already been lost. As the chainsaws and bulldozers have taken down trees and removed green spaces, today’s announcement does nothing to make up for failures that include:

  • Sydney Park – removal of 6,000 m2 space and destruction of up to 800 trees for Westconnex;
  • Wolli Creek – clearing of a 1.14 ha parcel of bushland, home to a critically endangered tree species;
  • Moore Park & Anzac Parade – removal or pruning of approximately 1,277 mature trees, including 871 trees of significance, and chopping down an avenue of 80 Moreton Bay figs up to 160 years old;
  • Rockdale & Kogarah – threatening sports fields and parklands at Bicentennial Park and seagrass beds and sensitive wetlands at the Kings Road Wetlands for the proposed F6 extension;
  • Bundeena & Royal National Park – clearing of trees and bushland for a tourism development and planning a possible route for the F6 through the Royal National Park; and 
  • Parramatta Park – the removal of the local pool for the new stadium.

The package is completely lacking in detail and gives no certainty about preserving the precious green space that is currently under threat from the planning decisions of the Berejiklian Government. The amount of funding gives no detail about what it can be used for and is only a fraction of what is needed to ensure adequate parks, playgrounds, sporting fields and bushland for Sydney into the future.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe MLC 

“It takes a lot of nerve to spend seven years in government hacking away at urban green space and environment protection laws and then claim to be the friend of parks and open space as the next election looms. 

“Labor supports policies to increase open green space, playgrounds and increased tree coverage, but today’s announcement falls well short of protecting the open spaces that are left. 

“Under the Liberals our urban green spaces have shrunk, we are losing our tree canopy, we have critical biodiversity loss and almost every bowling club or golf course is getting rezoned for apartments. 

“Today’s announcement is a fig leaf for the lack of action from this government and needs to be backed up by a commitment to protect what open space is left.”