THE endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog is under threat as secret plans to build the WestCONnex toll road through one of its last remaining habitats were quietly lodged to avoid public scrutiny.
Communities from across Sydney have joined the fight to save the unique “Aussie Freddo” after it was learned that the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) tried to keep its referral for the New M5 to the federal Department of the Environment out of the public eye.
“We only learned the referral had been made because a member of Wolli Creek Preservation Society contacted us in distress,” said WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) spokesperson Kathryn Calman.
“This was the first we’d heard of it, even though WestCONnex held a community information session for the New M5 in Kingsgrove just a week before.
“Kogarah Golf Club is home to one of the last remaining colonies of the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog, which WestCONnex wants to rip up to construct the M5 tunnel.
“More than 75 hectares of vegetation will also be destroyed by the WestCONnex New M5, including endangered Turpentine Iron Bark Forest and the critically endangered Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest.
“The RMS has known about this for months and kept it hidden, which is becoming a hallmark of this sham project. It’s clear they were trying to stop people finding out about the threat #WestCONnex poses to these endangered species, and there was a ridiculously short 10-day submission period to object.
“Yesterday we launched an urgent online campaign to make it easy for anyone to email a submission to federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to save these endangered species – and hundreds of people have already done so,” said Ms Calman.
Media contact: Kathryn Calman 0421 181 057, Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106
Photo: Grant Webster