ALMOST 900 submissions to stop WestCONnex destroying endangered species such as the Green and Golden Bell Frog were sent to federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt in 48 hours after WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) launched an online campaign last week.
WAG launched the campaign after discovering the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) had quietly lodged a referral to Minister Hunt’s department that included plans to conduct major construction work for the WestCONnex New M5 at Kogarah Golf Club, which is home to one of the last remaining colonies of the endangered frog.
The WestConnex Delivery Authority (WDA) scrambled to try and dismiss concerns by claiming the construction site would avoid the frogs’ breeding ponds and foraging grounds. But a scientist who has studied the frog population at Kogarah Golf Club labeled the attempt to downplay the construction site’s impact as “bizarre”.
“It suggests the WDA is either not seeking ecological advice or ignoring the advice they’re being given,” said Grant Webster of All Environmental and Conservation Services, who surveyed the Green and Golden Bell Frogs at Kogarah Golf Club on multiple occasions.
“The breeding ponds may be outside the planned construction site, but the frogs don’t just stay in the ponds. They go all over the golf course.
“And genuinely avoiding the foraging grounds would make it near impossible for the construction site not to impact the frogs, as a single frog can move over a kilometre a night.”
“It’s extremely worrying that the WDA has put up such an easily discredited defense,”said WAG spokesperson Pauline Lockie. “It implies they’re either completely incompetent or deliberately trying to mislead the public about WestCONnex.
“It’s just one more example of the shambolic way the WDA under Roads Minister Duncan Gay is trying to push WestCONnex through with no business case and no transparency.
“The massive response we received to our campaign shows that the people of NSW are not willing to put up with being treated with such contempt – and neither should federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt,”said Ms Lockie.
Media contact: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106
Photo: Grant Webster