The UBC Bush Forever Campaign
Bush Forever is a world class plan in Australia’s only global biodiversity hotspot but its implementation is incomplete. This unfinished business is putting our irreplaceable natural assets of unique flora, fauna and vegetation systems at risk.
Bush Forever is a huge initiative for protection of our biodiversity in the Perth region and now is the time to complete it. Our priority site issues for action can be found here.
Government Action Required
- Initial capital works For all sites already owned by the WAPC, using Metropolitan Region Improvement Trust funds (MRIF) immediately conduct initial capital works required (dieback mapping, fencing, gates, signage, security and wildlife cameras, initial weed control etc) to establish them as conservation areas.
- Secure all sites in the conservation estate in 1 year Acquire (via MRIF) or secure all Bush Forever sites and nominated additional sites and transfer them to the conservation estate under the Land Administration Act as ‘A’ class Nature Reserves for the purpose of nature conservation and passive recreation, with no other uses permitted. Clearing should be expressly prohibited.
Completion of this process (under WAPC) in one year by a special unit of properly resourced staff. Notably there has been no audit released on Bush Forever implementation despite the promise by the Planning Minister December 2012
All government agencies and utilities must be legally bound to respect the conservation estate and revise their operational plans so that there are no incursions and impacts on the network of Bush Forever Areas, local reserves and ecological linkages.
Assign land managers
For each unmanaged Bush Forever site, assign a suitable land manager. For example, Burns Beach bushland and Anstey-Keane Damplands have suffered preventable degradation due to unmanaged parts and multiple land managers.
Past proposals require review and it is suggested that for each sub-region, workshops be held with key stakeholders (LGA’s, local community Friends groups, UBC, DPAW, DOP and relevant government landholders) to determine the best management arrangements and land manager.
Operational budget for management and promotion
For each unmanaged Bush Forever Area, prepare a comprehensive management plan with budget including weed and feral animal control, maintenance and security costs, surveys (eg flora, fauna, weed, dieback mapping, condition mapping), local promotion, education and awareness raising.
Some LGA’s such as Cambridge, Wanneroo and Gosnells have done this for lands vested in them.
Mandatory Local Biodiversity Strategies
Bush Forever recognises the importance of retaining and protecting local natural areas to support the network of regionally significant bushland. To achieve this, prepare and implement Local Biodiversity Strategies (LBS) according to an endorsed methodology.
This must be made mandatory under planning law via new planning guidelines. A full team of professional support staff in WALGA to be employed to continue facilitating implementation, including establishment of ecological linkages, for each LGA. Only the Shire of Mundaring has completed the process with their LBS included in their Local Planning Strategy and Scheme.
No new transport corridors in Bush Forever sites
No new transport corridors – especially roads – to be permitted in Bush Forever sites.
No mining or mineral exploration in Bush Forever sites
Mineral exploration and mining to be legally prohibited in all Bush Forever sites.
Introduce a legally binding State policy for the establishment of ecological linkages (greenways) and their inclusion in regional and local land use planning frameworks
Environmental and land use planning guidelines require the identification of ecological linkages.
The new State policy and guidelines need to define an effective ecological linkage (using local native species), and provide a framework for their identification and recognition in land use planning schemes as an addition to the existing land use provision.
Promotion and celebration of our unique bushland
Introduce a public education program to give the community and generations to come an appreciation of the beauty and wonder of our natural bushland. The Swan Coastal Plain is a critical part of the Southwest Australian ecoregion, Australia’s only global biodiversity hotspot, rich in endemic species and a centre of plant diversity.
Tourism statistics demonstrate that most international and interstate tourists visit Perth, but not regional areas.
Bush Forever sites are ideally located to showcase our unique bushland to this increasingly important economic market. Additionally, recent research into the health benefits of natural areas to adults and particularly to children, combined with the known positive effects of bushland on urban heat sinks, provide compelling reasons why Bush Forever areas must be not only protected, but understood, appreciated, promoted and celebrated.
Public report on the status of implementation of Bush Forever
Prepare an annual public report on the status of Bush Forever, providing public accountability for the implementation of the plan as well as the ongoing management and uses of our unique natural heritage, one of the most important assets of the Western Australian public estate.
Read more about Bush Forever here.