Yanchep Carnaby’s Budget win

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Carnaby's black cockatoos have been feeding in Yanchep gardens after pine trees, one of their few remaining food sources, were cut down. Picture: Anita McInnes

 

CARNABY’S black cockatoos, which visit the Yanchep pine plantation, have turned out to be one of the few winners from the Barnett Government’s latest State Budget.

On Monday, May 16 Treasurer Mike Nahan said $1.5 million allocated in the 2016-17 Budget to the Forest Products Commission was for the replanting of an extra 500ha of pine trees as foraging habitat for the threatened Carnaby’s black cockatoo in the Yanchep area.

Dr Nahan said the extra 500ha was in addition to the 1500ha, which had already been replanted.

“The precise location of the planting will be determined in consultation with the Department of Parks and Wildlife and will start in 2017,’’ he said.

“[The] funding is part of the Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Regions.’’

He said to increase ground water recharge into the Gnangara Mound, which was Perth’s biggest groundwater resource and supplied about 30 per cent of the city’s drinking water, the State Government made a decision in 1996 not to replant the pines within the Gnangara, Pinjar and Yanchep pine plantations following harvesting.

“The draft Green Growth Plan for 3.5 million outlines a strategic approach to the future land use of the pine plantations, which balances a number of factors, including foraging habitat for Carnaby’s cockatoo, the demand for drinking water supply, timber supply under State Agreement obligations, future urban and industrial land use, basic raw materials supply and the health of ground water dependent ecosystems.

“To compensate for some of the loss of Carnaby’s habitat associated with the harvesting of pines, the draft Green Growth Plan indicates that 5000ha of pines will be replanted and maintained in the Yanchep area on a non-commercial basis for the purpose of Carnaby’s cockatoo foraging habitat.’’

Conservationists and the Opposition have recently criticised the government for clearing big areas of the pine plantations.

On Friday, May 13 the day submission’s closed for the draft Perth and Peel Green Growth Plan for 3.5 million Western Australia’s Environmental Defender’s Office published a 120-page white paper critical of the plan and the digital mapping and other information, released by the government in December 2015. Spokesman Patrick Pearlman said the EDOWA’s white paper also raised numerous concerns about how the Carnaby’s black cockatoo would be affected by clearing pine plantations northeast of Perth that made up about 50 per cent of the subpopulation’s feeding and foraging habitat, as well as the loss of “superlative” carbon dioxide-absorbing pines and other, less absorptive native woodlands on the Swan Coastal Plain.

“It’s disturbing because the pines are being removed primarily because of their impact on water supplies, without an immediate alternative food source for the cockatoo – but the state has repeatedly missed its commitment to enact comprehensive water management legislation that would better manage water in the long run,’’ he said. “The EDOWA paper concludes that the draft Green Growth Plan should be sent back to the drawing board for more consultation, legal rethinking and careful consideration of future environmental impacts.’’

The EDO’s white paper is available at www.edowa.org.au