Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Board Political Support for an expanded Gardens of Stone Reserve

“ All major political parties support an expanded Gardens of Stone Reserve in the western Blue Mountains, giving a significant boost to the push toward protecting this outstanding natural area. This support is great news for the people of the Blue Mountains and Lithgow regions who will benefit from enhanced tourism and recreation,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Mr Michael Richardson's office yesterday advised that the Coalition would definitely consider a state conservation area extension to the Gardens of Stone National Park, which they established in November 1994. The Coalition would make the Gardens of Stone one of their priority areas for consideration if they were elected on March 24 th . Mr Michael Paag, the Liberal Candidate for the Mountains goes further, he expressed his total support for the proposal at a public meeting held earlier this month”, Mr Muir said. 

“The Greens and the Democrats are both strongly supportive of the proposal and both will continue to campaign for it, along with Ms Clover Moore, the independent member for Bligh”, said Mr Muir.

“The Labor Party, being in Government, has more detailed plans for the conservation of the area, based on advice from the Department of Environment and Conservation,” he said.

Mr Phil Koperberg, Labor candidate for the Blue Mountains, has advised that the “Government intends to continue to pursue reservation over the Mt Airly crown land in consultation with the Department of Primary Industries (Minerals) (DPI Minerals) and Centennial Coal, and to resolve the longer term management of the Western Escarpment as part of the Blue Mountains Public Lands Rationalisation process. Arrangements are already in place to secure the Canyon Colliery site for addition to the Blue Mountains National Park once remediation works are complete.

Department of Environment and Conservation will also consult with NSW State Forests and DPI Minerals to explore the possibility of reserving Ben Bullen and Wolgan State Forests as State Conservation Areas (SCAs) in the medium term. SCAs permit the co-existence of well-managed mining activities with the achievement of conservation objectives”.

“Labor also recognises that there are difficulties, and that there is still a lot of discussion needed with interest groups, particularly regarding the Newnes Plateau,” Mr Muir said.

“I believe that with this level of support the future of the Gardens of Stone area now looks much brighter”, said Mr Muir. 

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)