Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

NSW Government condemned on move to allow flooding of national parks


NSW conservation groups have condemned the Berejiklian government’s move to change the National Parks and Wildlife Act1 to allow the flooding of the Blue Mountains National Park.

The legislative changes are being sought to legalise the NSW Government’s proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall, a project that is currently illegal under the National Park and Wildlife Act.

Colong Foundation for Wilderness Campaign Manager Harry Burkitt: “This Bill2 is an existential attack on the National Parks and Wildlife Act, World Heritage, the Blue Mountains, wild rivers and wilderness. It is unprecedented in modern times.

“Not since the Franklin Dam proposal have we we seen such a blatant disregard for a World Heritage site in Australia.

“Over 65 kilometres of wilderness rivers and thousands of hectares of World Heritage-listed wilderness would be submerged under the equivalent of two Sydney Harbours if the dam wall was raised.

“The NSW Government have themselves said the dam raising is being driven by developer interest to allow over 130,000 additional people to settle onto western Sydney floodplains. It’s just madness.”

Oisin Sweeney of the NSW National Parks Association: “What is deeply concerning is that the the Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair is amending the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Why is Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton not defending our national parks?

“There has been no EIS or expert consultation on this proposal. Now the government is asking the parliament for consent to flood one of Australia’s most iconic national parks.”

Kate Smolski, CEO of the Nature Conservation of NSW: “This is the second time this year the Coalition has white-anted the National Parks and Wildlife Act with anti-environmental amendments.

“In May, the government ignored the advice of scientists and its own experts to give feral horses in the Snowy Mountains special protected status.

“That decision increased the extinction risk for more than 30 uniquely Australian species, including the Corroboree Frog.

“Changes to the act proposed by the Berejiklian government this week would legalise the destruction by inundation of almost 50 species of threatened plants and animals.

“This dangerous precedent is completely unacceptable. We call on all MPs to vote against this environmentally destructive legislation.”

Media contact:

Harry Burkitt
0490 010 909

1 National Parks and Wildlife Act currently prohibits inundation of National Parks under section 153B. Available online at

2 Water NSW Amendment (Warragamba Dam) Bill. Mr Niall Blair (Minister for Primary Industries) - Mr President: I give notice that next sitting day I will move: That leave be given to bring in a bill for an Act to amend the Water NSW Act 2014 to make provision with respect to the temporary inundation of national park land resulting from the raising of the wall of Warragamba Dam and the operation of the dam for downstream flood mitigation purposes. (Water NSW Amendment (Warragamba Dam) Bill). Available online at