Incursion: The green area with yellow outline shows land zoned for Environmental Management. The red area is land proposed as urban in NSW. An even larger area in the ACT to the south is proposed as urban.
What’s at Stake
The area around the Ginninderra Falls and Murrumbidgee River has been considered very important for the protection of the natural, cultural and scenic values ever since the local Ngunawal people first started looking after the area.
The value was recognised by early European occupants and a large area adjacent to the falls declared a reserve. The role of this land for protection of significant environmental and scenic values was again recognised in the ‘80s when the land was reserved for ‘Environmental Management’.
Now protection of much of the area will be rolled back with the proposal for urban development in the area. This will disrupt regional connectivity for wildlife and set a precedent for development all along the Murrumbidgee River Corridor to the north in NSW.
Millions of years of wind and water and evolution acting on the area has resulted in a unique and spectacular landscape with a rich diversity of plants and animals including rare and threatened species.
Experts on the threatened animals found in the area have advised that the proposed urban development could lead to loss or decline of over 75% of threatened animals. Almost a third of the threatened animals could be lost from the area altogether.
Rare and threatened (clockwise from top left): Rosenberg’s Goanna; Crowea exalata ‘Ginninderra Falls’; Pink-tailed Worm Lizard and; Pale Pomaderris.
All photos, unless otherwise indicated © Ginninderra Catchment Group and taken by David Wong. Rosenberg’s Goanna photo: Damon Cusack. Cover photo: © Rosemary Blemings
Is it Worth the Risk?
An expert report about fire risk in the area has found that the steep slopes in the area combined with the prevailing north-westerly winds create a high fire risk for the proposed urban development. This could lead to unpredictable fire behaviour and mass spotting of embers with devastating consequences as was experienced in Duffy in 2003.
It is not only human life and property that would be put at risk. Pressure to burn forested areas to reduce fire risk is likely to put the native and fire-sensitive Black Cypress Pine community at risk.
Other fire-sensitive plants such as the threatened Pale Pomaderris and the habitat of threatened animals could also be compromised by fuel reduction burns. Changes in fire frequency would have knock-on effects for the whole ecosystem.
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage
The local Ngunawal people have been taking care of the whole area for tens of thousands of years. There are numerous sites of significance in the area. Having urban development in this area is likely to result in the complete destruction of some of these sites and a significant degradation of many others.
A Complex Arrangement
The proposed development will have impacts on the make-up of the Yass Valley Local Government Area and the local electorate. It could mean that several thousand new households with urban issues will be vying for the attention of the local council, a council that has traditionally dealt with the issues within a rural and regional context.
What Can be Done?
Everyday people like you are working hard to protect this special place in a range of ways. This is grass-roots action with people from all walks of life& concerned about the development. It is a ‘David and Goliath’ style battle, but with your help we can have an impact on decisions.
There are many ways to help preserve this unique and important place for future generations.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be sent more information on this issue.
- Talk to or write to your local representatives or your local council.
- ‘Like’: www.facebook.com/GinninderraFalls.
- Visit www.ginninderra.org.au for more information.
Together we can push for better protection of this amazing place.