Protect ecologically sensitive areas, wildlife and river corridors, stop development west of Murrumbidgee

Australian Greens

The Greens are calling for a range of critical environmental areas in the ACT to be protected, as part of a strategy to limit the ecological destruction caused by unsustainable development.

To ensure critical environmental areas are protected, the Greens want to guarantee that at least 80% of new development will be infill, with only 20% as new greenfield development.

Key areas of ecological significant that the Greens are calling to protect include:

Woodlands and wildlife corridors:

  • Better protecting the important wildlife corridor between Mount Stromlo and the Murrumbidgee River, including negotiating with landowners to expand Stony Creek Nature Reserve
  • Adding the Lands End and Piney Creek woodland areas (on the western side of Kama Nature Reserve) to Canberra Nature Park.
  • Moving ‘Bluetts Block’ bird hotspot into the Molonglo River Nature Reserve and removing it from ‘future urban area’ zoning, and protecting it from development (including infrastructure such as roads) as this block west of Denman Prospect contains endangered woodland

Critical grasslands to protect from development

  • Ginninderra Creek
  • Yarralumla (Black St and Novar St)
  • Isabella Pond in Monash
  • Newline Woodland
  • Mt Ainslie foothills – ACT land adjacent to ex-CSIRO site

Future development areas

The Greens are concerned that development will continue to clear our precious remaining environment, block by block. We want commitments to:

  • Conduct further environmental studies in West Molonglo to identify areas of environmental significance, and commit to protecting those areas.
  • Not develop West Murrumbidgee.

Both major parties appear to be planning major development at Canberra’s fringes – particularly in Western Molonglo – where there are significant areas of environmental value that need protection. The Greens do not support the degradation or destruction of these ecologically sensitive areas.

The Greens call on the ACT Liberal and Labor parties to match Greens commitments to:

  • Set city limits and stop unending urban sprawl
  • Set and meet an 80% infill/20% greenfield target
  • Protect and restore the ACT’s remaining woodlands and grassland sites
  • Bring remaining unprotected river corridors into nature reserves.

This forms part of a broader ACT Greens Repairing the Land package, which calls for identification and rezoning of key unprotected remnant grassland and woodland sites of ecological significance, by incorporating them into nature reserves or other zones that focus on conservation as a key outcome.

As stated by Jo Clay, ACT Greens Environment Spokesperson

“The Greens call on the other parties to guarantee they’ll protect these important and sensitive environmental areas around the ACT from development.

“We don’t need to constantly expand and overdevelop, destroying the biodiversity and ecosystems around Canberra. These areas can be protected with an ambitious and sustainable approach to planning, and improved management of resources.

“The risk is the major parties will continue to take a casual, business-as-usual approach to development while encroaching into the diminishing areas of ecological significance in and around the ACT.

“We need to protect and expand the bird corridors from the Murrumbidgee River to Belconnen Hills and Black Mountain”

“We call on them to protect and restore the remaining grasslands and woodlands in the urban area, move river corridors into the nature reserve system, and protect the large significant areas at Canberra’s fringes from development.”

As stated by Rebecca Vassarotti, ACT Greens Planning Spokesperson

“We call on the major parties to be more ambitious in avoiding greenfield expansion, with a maximum of 20% of new development to occur in greenfield sites in Molonglo and Gungahlin which are already clearly set. This is a reasonable and achievable target that they should meet.

“We believe that with clever planning and development we can still absorb a growing population in a sustainable way, without needing to grow our ecological footprint.”

“The key to becoming a truly sustainable city is to ensure that we are compact enough to run a sustainable public transport and roads system – the more we sprawl, the more our roads and transport infrastructure will cost us all.”

“The Greens want to see these important ecological areas protected, not developed”

/Public Release. View in full here.