“Natural jewel” acquired
Wednesday, 9th June, 2021
By Emily McInerney
The second-largest acquisition of land for National Parks will be a “natural jewel” that the state and region will be able to utilise according to Landcare Broken Hill’s president.
Environmentalist and QC, Simon Molesworth said this week’s announcement of the purchase of the neighbouring Lanigdoon and Metford stations, 65km east of Broken Hill, was a wonderful coup.
At the start of the week, Environment Minister, Matt Kean announced the second-largest land acquisition for national parks in the last 10 years.
The plan for the two properties, totalling 60,468 hectares, is to create a new outback reserve conserving significant biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage in the region.
Once this addition is formally reserved, the national parks system will have increased by more than 350,000 hectares since August 2019, well on the way to meet the target of an additional 400,000 hectares by the end of 2022.
The purchase follows on from the recent creation of another outback reserve - Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park, which was the largest purchase of private land for the national parks estate.
“It’s made up of some pretty special places and it’s a large acquisition within ‘coo-ee’ of Broken Hill,” Mr Molesworth said.
He went on to say it will be a boost for the Mutawintji and Kinchega National Parks.
“Landcare Broken Hill is pleased to have another natural environmental attraction,” he said.
“Eco-tourism is the fastest growing sector. If it wasn’t for COVID, we would have a lot of travellers.
“People want to come and see the great open space and the wilderness. It’s an enormous addition to the National Parks network.”
Mr Molesworth said the next step is for the State Government to provide resources for the National Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure proper conservation practices are taken into account.
“The government needs to ensure that the proper reservation processing occurs and then they need to look at fencing.
“It’s better to fence in the valuable areas of the National Parks and fence out the threats.
This new park will be an important refuge for wildlife including at least 14 threatened animal species including habitat for the Australian bustard, white-fronted chat and the pink cockatoo.
In time, it is expected visitors will be able to explore sandplains and stony desert, gibber chenopod shrublands, floodplain woodland along watercourses and a lake system that, when it floods, provides habitat for a range of migratory bird species.
The properties also contain important Aboriginal heritage including artefacts such as grinding plates and stones.
“If the resources are properly provided, it’s a win/win for everyone,” Mr Molesworth said.
“It’s good news for Broken Hill, good news for NSW and good news for the environment.
“It’s a natural jewel. The Barrier Ranges sub-region is unrepresented. As a park, it will now be at a level that is desirable and attract people to the region.”
Mr Molesworth said Landcare Broken Hill is happy to offer assistance in any way they can.
“We have a partnership with Mutawintji National Park to help replant and regenerate.
“We have seedlings and are growing hundreds of plants to go back to Mutawintji.”