Golden Bay dune protection blow

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
Adult southern brown bandicoot.
Camera IconAdult southern brown bandicoot. Credit: Cherriman, Simon Cherriman

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has dismissed community calls to further protect 31ha of land within the Golden Bay development site.

Community members and lobby group Save Our Dunes Golden Bay have urged the State Government to protect an additional 25ha of land at a development site at Lot 3 Warnbro Sound Avenue in Golden Bay.

While Golden Bay’s central 37m-high sand dune will be protected as part of 6.6ha of land already set aside as a Landscape Protection Area, the group is seeking protection of the entire 31ha landscape as a conservation park or “Bush Forever reserve”.

A petition to stop further clearing at the site — given the geo-heritage value of the area, its biodiversity, the role of the area as habitat for the southern brown bandicoot and feeding grounds for Carnaby’s black cockatoos, and the lack of natural open space for people’s mental well-being — received more than 330 signatures.

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While the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs considered the petition, the group was last week told its petition would not be investigated further.

In a letter to the standing committee, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti rejected the petition to save the dunes, saying the development was “consistent with the site’s longstanding zoning” and the environmental approvals which had been granted.

Save Our Dunes Golden Bay spokeswoman Anna-Marie Jackson said the group was disappointed by the Government’s decision. “Past flawed decisions are not sufficient justification for this destruction,” she said.

“They say the protection of the bandicoots must be monitored, which it is, but monitoring is showing the population is declining year after year despite fauna management plans.

“The other argument of protecting the landscape value of the parabolic dune ridge through four fragmented areas was not based on expert opinion.”

Initial earthworks began at the Peet and Department of Housing subdivision in Golden Bay in August last year, with almost 2000 medium-high-density housing lots already on less prominent coastal dunes in the area.

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