UBC – Campaigning Since 1993
Twenty-five years ago on Sunday 21st March 1993, the Urban Bushland Council (UBC) was launched in Kings Park. It formed with the support of the Conservation Council in the aftermath of the highly publicised community campaign to stop clearing of much valued bushland at Hepburn Heights. The community groups who formed UBC realized they needed to work together and to advocate for conservation through a peak body.
The UBC’s initial objectives were to seek statutory protection for urban bushland, provide networking, education and support to local Friends groups, and to advocate to government on these matters. A major step forward by government was the introduction of Bush Forever in December 2000, but its implementation has stalled and its completion is now 7 years overdue. One of UBC’s priority campaigns is to ‘Complete Bush Forever implementation’.
There have been some recent successes. When Labor came to power in March 2017, pre-election promises were kept to:
- stop Roe 8
- reject the rezoning and development in Lot 59 Wilkins Road Kalamunda (supposed to be protected in the Darling Range Regional Park);
- reject the housing proposal in Bayswater Wetlands; and
- reject road proposals by the MRA in coastal dunes of two Bush Forever sites in Scarborough.
More recently, the Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has accepted the recommendation, by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC), to not proceed with the Mangles Bay Marina MRS amendment to enable a marina to be built at Point Peron.
In all of these cases, there were huge local community campaigns by volunteers to raise the issues of proposed destruction of precious and priceless natural areas.
This is good progress, but to properly secure and protect these sites for conservation, the transfer of each site to ‘A’ class nature reserve status is needed. And those transfers should be for the explicit purpose of nature conservation and passive recreation only, with no other uses permitted.
But outcomes are still to be decided for so many other sites with ongoing community campaigns for their protection. The list includes sites such as Underwood Avenue bushland, Ocean Reef bushland, Dianella bushland, Farrall Road bushland/wetland, Alfred Cove and adjacent bushland, and more.
Furthermore. there is now a new bundle of threats to Bush Forever sites and significant bushland such as Banksia woodlands, Tuart woodlands, and other TEC’s, with the Metronet proposals. One example is the rail line extension to Yanchep. Do we really want to justify spending $500 Million dollars on a railway through threatened bushland to justify more clearing with linear urban sprawl all the way to Yanchep?
At the same time, we are being told there are budget restrictions and cost cutting in agencies because of the big state budget deficit.
This is being used as the excuse for the lack of funding to complete Bush Forever and supply conservation management for all sites. Funding to complete Bush Forever must come first, before a questionable Metronet railway to Yanchep.