Franklin, grasslands are worth giving a damn about

Michael Weaver 21 November 2019 2

Member for Yerrabi Minister Suzanne Orr (centre) with ACT Parks and Conservation ecologist Thea O’Loughlin and Friends of Grasslands president Geoff Robertson inspecting a striped legless lizard. Photos: Supplied.

The ACT Government has moved to protect a new nature reserve that is home to threatened species in Franklin as a trade-off to the environmental impacts of an upgrade to the Yarralumla Brickworks.

Ministers Mick Gentleman and Suzanne Orr made the announcement on Tuesday (19 November) that the Franklin Grasslands would remain a reserve for native threatened species under its requirements to protect the site.

“The Yarralumla project requires a protected site to counterbalance impacts on the Golden Sun Moth and Natural Temperate Grassland ecological community.

“We are committed to preserving what you love about the bush capital through environmental offsets for new development, unlike the Canberra Liberals who have promised to pursue urban sprawl with no conservation plan,” Mr Gentleman said.

While meeting with staff from ACT Parks and Conservation, Member for Yerrabi and Minister for Community Services and Facilities Suzanne Orr said the government needs to consult with the community to encourage nature reserves in urban areas.

“I have been working passionately on this issue with Friends of Grasslands and the Franklin and Harrison communities over a number of years,” Ms Orr said.

“Our grasslands are critically endangered, with less than 10 per cent in South-East Australia remaining in good condition, so it’s great to see a site not only preserved but improved.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and I’m really looking forward to seeing the result for our community and the environment.”

ACT Parks and Conservation staff chat about the Franklin Grasslands with Friends of Grasslands president Geoff Robertson and Member for Yerrabi Minister Suzanne Orr.

The ACT Government will manage conservation values on the site with the assistance of the Friends of Grasslands community group, which is based in Canberra.

Friends of Grasslands president Geoff Robertson said the group has been aware of the site since the 1990s and has been liaising with ACT Government to declare the site as a nature reserve.

They would eventually like to see the Franklin Grasslands included in the Canberra Nature Park, made up of 37 nature reserves in and around urban Canberra.

“It [Franklin Grasslands] will be a site where the grasslands and threatened species are protected and work is done to maintain the area’s historic and indigenous values,” Mr Robertson said. “At the same time, the public can make use of it for a number of recreational and research purposes.”

He said the Friends of Grasslands are also working with the National Capital Authority to have similar areas at Stirling Park at Yarralumla and Yarramundi Reach at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin declared as nature reserves.

“We have a number of sites where there are threatened species, so Friends of Grasslands generally does not want to see those sites destroyed. With sites like this, we can see their natural values and the community, in turn, become advocates for these areas,” Mr Roberston said.

The community is invited to comment on the proposed changes, outlined in Territory Plan Draft Variation 366, to establish a nature reserve over block 5, section 47 Franklin.

Written comments on the draft variation can be made until 20 December 2019.

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2 Responses to Franklin, grasslands are worth giving a damn about
Spiral Spiral 6:51 pm 22 Nov 19

It is a real pity the Greens don’t have any power in the ACT. Surely they are outraged at the loss of habitat for a critically endangered species and are vocally and publicly chastising the government over this decision.

I wonder how many of our Greens believe the Victorian timber industry shouldn’t be able to log any area occupied by the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum? Would they be happy about a similar habitat trade off done by the Victorian loggers?

Surely our own critically endangered species deserves a similar attitude towards its continued existence.

Is it a case that our own moths aren’t as valuable as an interstate possum?

Or are our “Greens” not really green but really only social justice warriors?

If the moth is critically endangered then protect it. Don’t build on its habitat.

That seems to be a rather simple conclusion to me.

Extinction may be forever but the Green’s concerns about our endangered creatures apparently isn’t.

Acton Acton 11:33 pm 20 Nov 19

The ACT Government is causing a localised extinction of a critically endangered species.
The Golden Sun Moth is a critically endangered species that has a significant habitat near the Yarralumla brickworks, which will soon be bulldozed by development, approved by the ACT Government, with the subservient Greens looking on.
Creating at offset site in Franklin does not protect or preserve a critically endangered species in Yarralumla.
Will the moths somehow find their own way from the Yarralumla site to Franklin? No.
Will Environment and Heritage officials be collecting and transporting the moths to their new home? No.
Preserving grassland in one area does not justify destroying habitats in another area.
But the ACT Govt justification is that any endangered species can be sacrificed if developer mates can profit.

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