Governments' collective failure to act
Probably not, because although it made front page news in our Daily Examiner for a
couple of days with the report that the Department of Natural Resources was
investigating a case of alleged illegal clearing, the story soon disappeared out of the
news, replaced by more important issues like an ex-policewoman being interrupted
having sex in her laundry somewhere in north Queensland.
The simple facts of the case are that the land is a part of an area originally proposed
for rezoning under the West Yamba Local Environment Plan. It comprises Swamp
Sclerophyll Endangered Ecological Community (EEC), and is an area protected
under legislation, requiring buffer zones to protect adjacent mangroves.
The land was also affected by the former Maclean Shire Council's attempts to reduce
the mangrove buffer to 40 metres, an application that was rejected by Planning NSW.
Nevertheless, environmentalists claimed the work to be a classic example of
preemptive clearing, to degrade the value of the land. Not only did the clearing
destroy integral parts of the EEC, but it also encroached on the buffer zone; revealed
evidence to suggest the area may contain acid sulphate soils, and, according to an
archaeologist brought in to look at the work, destroyed an Aboriginal midden.
Land-clearing at West Yamba, 2005