WestCONnex action group urges public to hop to defence of endangered frogs

Golden boy: WestCONnex Action Group has called on the community to protest plans for tunnel construction on Kogarah Golf Course at Arncliffe because of the threat to their colony. Picture: Nick Moir
Golden boy: WestCONnex Action Group has called on the community to protest plans for tunnel construction on Kogarah Golf Course at Arncliffe because of the threat to their colony. Picture: Nick Moir

WestCONnex Action Group has called on the community to protest urgently against plans for tunnel construction on Kogarah Golf Course at Arncliffe because of the threat to a colony of endangered Green and Golden Bell Frogs.

However, the WestConnex Delivery Authority said the frogs's ponds would be "undisturbed" by the work.

The deadline for submissions to federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt is is 5pm tomorrow, Friday July 31.

WestCONnex Action Group said on its Facebook page that Roads and MaritimeService "quietly" lodged a referral to the federal Department of the Environment on July 17.

"Thankfully, this referral was picked up by one of our supporters, and the information it contained was devastating," the group said.

It said Kogarah Golf Club was "home to one of the last remaining colonies of the beautiful and endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog".

Choosing this location as the tunnel's midway construction site "will surely spell the end for these fragile creatures," it said.

"More than 75 hectares of vegetation will be destroyed by this stage of WestConnex, which includes endangered Turpentine Iron Bark Forest and around 80 per cent of a rare stand of critically endangered Cooks River Castlereagh Iron Bark Forest."

The group said  the public had been "kept in the dark" about the plan, which road officials would have known about for months.

Submissions to Mr Hunt can be sent via the group's Facebook page.

A spokeswoman for WestConnex Delivery Authority (WDA) said the nearby Green and Golden Bell Frog population has been a key consideration in the design and configuration of the new M5 midway tunnelling point construction site.

"The configuration of the midway tunnelling point construction site will ensure the breeding ponds are undisturbed," she said.

"As is standard practice, WDA made a referral to the federal Department of Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, because this frog population is vulnerable, and a Commonwealth approval may be required in addition to the state approval process.

"We are carrying out specialist studies as part of the environmental assessment. 

"WestConnex Delivery Authority’s ecological management procedures will be set out in detail in the environmental impact statement due to go on public display later this year.

See related story and link to documentary film The Corridor which shows what lies within the land set aside in 1951 for a future extension of the F6 motorway.

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