Bushland and biodiversity
Objective 27 of A Metropolis of Three Cities outlines how the NSW Government seeks to protect and manage biodiversity values across Greater Sydney, from national and State biodiversity conservation legislation to information such as biodiversity mapping. This Planning Priority reinforces the importance of Objective 27 and provides a context for District issues.
Bushland areas protected in national parks and reserves support the District's significant biodiversity, while bushland and remnant vegetation throughout the District's urban and rural areas also provide habitat, help cool the environment and support cleaner waterways and air.
Bushland covers around seven per cent of the Central City District20, with valuable areas of bushland and remnant vegetation such as Wategora Reserve, Galaringi Reserve, Bidjigal Reserve and Shanes Park within the urban and rural parts of the District. National parks and reserves in the District include Cattai National Park, Prospect Nature Reserve, Newington Nature Reserve and Wianamatta Regional Park. These preserve a number of important ecological communities.
Many areas of urban bushland are on public land managed as green infrastructure by councils, while some are on privately owned land.
Urban bushland, close to some of the District's most densely populated areas, supports opportunities for nature-based recreation and enhance liveability. Areas of bushland at the edge of urban neighbourhoods need to be managed and enhanced to reduce edge-effect impacts, such as pollution and nutrients from stormwater run-off, weeds, litter and unmanaged or informal recreation trails.
For the Central City District, conservation planning will focus on opportunities to protect and enhance areas of endangered ecological communities such as Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and Cumberland Plain Woodland, the critically endangered Blue Gum High Forest and other valuable native vegetation close to national parks.
A strategic approach to protecting the biodiversity in the Central City District involves investing in connected bushland corridors and protecting larger pockets of remnant vegetation, as large and connected areas of bushland give the District's wildlife the greatest chance of survival. Also, councils are also working together to map opportunities to restore and reconnect areas of habitat in established urban areas. This approach complements the delivery of the Greater Sydney Green Grid. Selected species of trees and understorey plants for parks and street planting in targeted areas support the movement of wildlife and help strengthen connections between areas of habitat.
Strengthening the protection of bushland in urban areas will help to conserve the District's biodiversity, preserve its scenic landscape, and enhance its tourist and recreational values. Remnant vegetation should be recognised as an asset that can be incorporated into the planning and design of neighbourhoods, for example in parks, school grounds and streets.
Bushland in the District's rural areas will be protected and managed through place-based planning and incentivised as potential biodiversity offsets (refer to Planning Priority C18).
The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 provides a framework and tools to avoid, minimise and offset impacts on biodiversity through the planning and development assessment process. There are a range of tools available to protect biodiversity on private land, including biodiversity stewardship agreements, conservation agreements and wildlife refuge agreements.
Scenic and cultural landscapes
The scenic and cultural landscapes of the Central City District such as the Western Sydney Parklands, Prospect Hill, Prospect Reservoir, Rouse Hill Regional Park, Nurragingy Reserve and Duck River contributeto the identity and international profile of Greater Sydney. Scenic and cultural landscapes encourage an appreciation of the natural environment, protect heritage and culture, and create economic opportunities, particularly for recreation and tourism. Aboriginal culture is deeply entwined in the landscapes of Greater Sydney.
Scenic and cultural landscapes can complement green infrastructure, particularly where scenic landscapes include waterways and urban bushland.
Parklands associated with rivers and creeks, as well as street tree planting and the public spaces in the District's centres provide a diversity of landscapes. In recent years, the development of large office blocks in strategic centres has reinforced the need for quality design to enhance new skylines. Within the District's growth areas, vistas to historic colonialera homesteads have been protected through the planning and design process. View corridors around key sites in the Parramatta North Urban Renewal Area have also been protected.
Continued protection of the Central City District's scenic and cultural landscape can complement the protection of biodiversity and habitat, help manage natural hazards, support tourism and help preserve links to Aboriginal cultural heritage.