Nature Coast Alliance, 350 Eurobodalla not happy with rural LEP approval

Environmental group 350 Eurobodalla has concerns approval of the Rural Lands Strategy will lead to deforestation. File picture.
Environmental group 350 Eurobodalla has concerns approval of the Rural Lands Strategy will lead to deforestation. File picture.

Environmental groups 350 Eurobodalla and Nature Coast Alliance have spoken out against state government approval of the Eurobodalla Shire's rural lands strategy.

Allan Rees, convenor of climate action group 350 Eurobodalla, said the group was "very disappointed" and "the strategy is going to lead to a lot of land clearing".

He said the approved plan "degrades the shire" and "it reduces its value as a place to live and as a place for tourists to visit".

The state government said it addressed RFS concerns but Mr Rees remained unconvinced.

"We're concerned that they'll be new dwellings in dangerous areas that the RFS has flagged there shouldn't be any development in," Mr Rees said.

"It's going to lead to deforestation of timbered land.

"This is a release of carbon to the atmosphere that we think should go the other way."

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He believed there were some changes to the draft, "but as far as we know, certainly not enough".

"The process has been most unfortunate. The strategy was developed by people with an interest in development and maximising development in inappropriate ways.

"It's bad for agriculture, forests and the community, which expects an environment that is cared for here in the Eurobodalla.

"The loss of protections in wetlands, endangered ecological communities is a shocking thing."

Nature Coast Alliance released a statement: "If the LEP has been signed off without the major changes proposed by six state agencies and community experts, this is a dark day for strategic planning in NSW.

"If the NSW Government has ignored this expert advice, it will make a mockery of evidenced based decision-making.

"Opening up high risk bushfire-prone areas to development is irresponsible and negligent and at odds with the NSW Government's own manual on planning for bushfire protection.

"The Rural Lands Strategy was never about supporting tourism and rural economic development.

"It was always about allowing a myriad of additional uses on rural land which will increase the value of property owned by a small number of large land-holders in our shire, such as the members of Rural Lands Strategy Steering Committee which includes current and former Mayors.

"Destroying the Nature Coast will destroy our vital tourism, recreational fishing and oyster industries - the life-blood of our economy.

"Even before the LEP changes were signed off we have evidence of unsuspecting property buyers who have been led to believe that they can build on a block only to find out that the bushfire risk is too high.

"With the removal of important maps from the LEP even more confusion will reign, unreal expectations will be created and pressure will be put on Council and RFS staff to approve developments in unsuitable areas."

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