Our koala conservation initiatives
While no koalas were detected on site during more than 1,700+ hours of ecological surveys and inspections, we’ve put in place a $35 million comprehensive koala conservation plan to protect and grow koala habitat and corridors. Over time, this will increase the site’s koala carrying capacity by more than 80 per cent.
Now to the specifics:
- 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.
Initial conservation works have already been completed on site, including the installation of emergency wildlife watering stations across 36 hectares of adjacent land, and active conservation of 22 hectares of bushland.
All works will be undertaken in accordance with management plans approved under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Agreement between NSW Government, Campbelltown Council and Lendlease.
A map of our site, including planned corridor routes (in yellow) and areas of existing trees being retained (shaded green) is below.
On 10 December 2020, Campbelltown City Council noted that Lendlease’s Figtree Hill proposal is, “consistent with the requirements of the Chief Scientist and Engineers Report and addresses the findings of Dr Steve Phillips, whose peer review was recently presented to Council”.
The facts on tree removals at Figtree Hill
Our Development Application, approved by Campbelltown City Council in December 2020, permits the removal of 386 trees scattered across 215 hectares of ex-farming land during the coming four to five years. About 15 per cent of these trees – 59 in total – are classified as preferred koala habitat trees. As part of our commitment to creating more koala habitat, we’ll be planting five times as many trees (more than 290 in total) within the site’s conservation areas.
In January 2021, we soft-felled 17 scattered paddock trees under the supervision of ecologists and licenced wildlife rescuers. Most of the trees removed were independently assessed as having a life expectancy of 10-15 years or less.
We also worked with our conservation partners, including Greening Australia, to collect seed from these trees for replanting, while logs and hollows will be placed into our conservation areas to provide habitat for native wildlife.
Economic benefits and infrastructure upgrades
Figtree Hill will deliver around 1,700 new homes for families seeking to call Mount Gilead home, helping to take some of the stress out of Sydney’s housing market. The Mount Gilead development represents a $1.6 billion investment into the New South Wales economy, creating 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs annually for the next 10 to 15 years.
We’re working with NSW government to upgrade 2.5 kilometres of Appin Road to fix a known black spot for motorists and wildlife alike. This $90 million upgrade will duplicate the road, upgrade existing intersections and provide fauna fencing to protect local wildlife.
For more information, please refer to the documents available here.
This response was originally uploaded on 14 January 2021 and has since been updated with the latest information following ongoing strategic planning advice from NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment and Campbelltown City Council. We’ll continue to update this page as our project progresses.