World Wetlands Day in Australia

08/02/2007

Illawarra Greens call for wetland protection


Illawarra Greens, PO Box 430, Thirroul NSW 2515
www.illawarragreens.org.au



For World Wetlands Day, 2 February, Illawarra Greens candidates and community groups will be at:
· Once designated Wetlands (Shellharbour Swamp) at South Shellharbour Beach, GREENS candidate and SPACE,10am
· Sandon Point Hill St Picket site, GREENS candidate and Sandon Point community groups, 1pm

Members from different community groups will then unite with the community trying to save Lake Illawarra salt marsh wetlands:
· Koona Bay, end of Waroo Street along the foreshore, Albion Park Rail, 4:30pm.


GREENS CALL FOR WETLAND PROTECTION
ON WORLD WETLANDS DAY

In honour of World Wetlands Day, the Illawarra Greens remind the Iemma government of the importance of wetlands throughout NSW, but especially in the sensitive areas along the Illawarra coastline. This coastline was originally a string of wetlands from north to south, but now less than a third of the area's original wetlands remain.

Wetlands play a vital role in filtration of pollution, flood mitigation, and providing diverse habitats for wildlife. World Wetlands Day marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention in 1971.

Illawarra Greens candidates today will meet with community groups in support of attempts to save the wetlands, at Sandon Point, South Shellharbour Beach and Lake Illawarra's Koona Bay (see over for times and places).

Shellharbour candidate Sonya McKay said, 'Shellharbour Council, with state government approval, are set to destroy what was once designated protected wetlands at South Shellharbour Beach, under their state environmental planning policy (SEPP 14).'

'Works are reportedly planned for later this year at a time when the Shell Cove land sales, said to pay for the 100 million dollar Marina project, have only produced a 1.2 million dollar surplus to date. Council funds, from money owed by developers for infrastructure, have already been implicated in Marina remediation works for contaminated soils.'

Salt Marsh wetlands at Lake Illawarra's Koona Bay are also under threat from a cycleway construction model recently recommended by a Shellharbour Council document.

'A cycleway construction option, from the six on exhibtion, should be chosen on the basis of protecting the Lake Illawarra Salt Marsh at Koona Bay along with its diverse birdlife,' Ms Mckay said. 'It doesn't need to be a decision between recreation and environmental protection. A less costly cycleway option that doesn't destroy the Salt Marsh exists.'

Heathcote candidate Jill Merrin said, 'The wetlands at Sandon Point have already been damaged by the first stage of Stockland's residential development. We mustn't risk any more damage here.'

'But the next development is many times larger, and will destroy large areas of native forest and threatened wetlands. These wetlands are supposedly on the state government's protected list, but the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, has agreed to sacrifice them for one of the Labor Party's big donors.'

'The Greens call on the Iemma government to show some courage, stand up to the big developers, and actually implement their own wetlands protection policies. Wetlands are recognised throughout the world today as some of the world's most vulnerable and important ecosystems.'

Contacts: Sonya McKay, Shellharbour candidate 0407910029,
Jill Merrin, Heathcote candidate 0422 655 711, Michael Sergent, Convenor 0408 610 298

Jill Merrin, Candidate for Heathcote
smallpond@fishinternet.com.au
Jill Merrin
9 Wigram Rd, Austinmer NSW 2515, Australia
smallpond@fishinternet.com.au

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