Lendlease Australia responds: The Sydney Morning Herald

  • 10 Apr 2021
First, the article claims that our Figtree Hill development, south west of Sydney, represents an “egregious despoliation” of the local area. Second, it insinuates we’ve shown a lack of concern towards Campbelltown’s koalas as well as their ongoing preservation. On both accounts, we categorically disagree.

The existing development site

Firstly, it must be understood that continuous and progressive agricultural activities have occurred on the development site since the 1800’s, which has led to the progressive clearing of native vegetation across the majority of the site. 

As part of the broader development, approximately 55% of the Gilead property is proposed to be retained as farm, park or nature reserve. Integral to the success of the transition away from 100% agricultural use is the improvement of the natural environment, specifically the management and protection of Shale Sandstone Transition Forest (SSTF), Cumberland Plain Woodland (CPW) and koala habitat. 

Campbelltown’s koalas on ongoing preservation

We share the passion of local environmental groups to protect and grow Campbelltown’s koalas. In fact, koalas have been our key environmental consideration during planning for Figtree Hill. 

This is evident in our $35 million comprehensive koala conservation plan, which will almost double the site’s koala carrying capacity over time. 

Now to some specific actions we’re taking:

  • Protecting and restoring more than 240 hectares of koala habitat on site, an area bigger than Sydney’s Centennial Park.
  • Constructing underpasses under Appin Road and installing koala protection fences – these will form safe and continuous corridors (designed in accordance with the Chief Scientist’s recommendations) for koalas and other wildlife between the Nepean and Georges rivers.
  • Converting 5.7 hectares of cleared pasture lands to high-quality bushland.
  • Enhancing an additional 16.6 hectares of low-quality habitat to create high-quality bushland.
  • Installing continuous dog proof fencing so that koalas can move freely and safely through and around the project.
  • Pledging 36 hectares of land on the eastern side of Appin Road for the proposed Georges River Koala Reserve. 

The Sydney Morning Herald’s romanticised notion of “forests and fine wines, creeks and colonnades, marsupials and sandstone” suggests the publication would greatly benefit from a tour of our site. It’s something we’ve offered the newspaper numerous times previously and we’d sincerely love them to take up.