Kariong Sacred Lands Action Group performed a flash-mob dance at Erina Fair on Saturday, June 10, to raise awareness about a proposed rezoning of land at 300 Woy Woy Rd, Kariong.
The 25 strong members of the action group danced to Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi with new lyrics about a “big yellow bulldozer smashing up the sacred lands” at Kariong.
The iconic song’s chorus remained the same: “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.
Save Kariong Sacred Lands Action group said it consists of local Traditional Custodians and concerned Central Coast residents with an aim to inform the public about the issues involved in the proposed rezoning of the land.
It says it also wants to bring local and state governments and the Greater Cites Commission to account.
Spokesperson for the group, Lisa Bellamy, who stood as an Independent in the recent state election, said the group wanted to try a different way to the matter to the attention of the public.
“ We thought a bit of fun and street theatre would help raise awareness about the dreadful environmental destruction happening right on our doorsteps,” she said.
“The land up at Kariong is one of these areas.
“Zoned C2 (Environmental Conservation) it is home to endangered flora and fauna species as well as a hanging swamp.
“The hanging swamp is a vital water source for the land below the ‘project area’.
“This water feeds through the Brisbane Water National Park ensuring a healthy ecosystem,” she said.
Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council (DLALC), has applied to the State Government to rezone about 13 hectares at 300 Woy Woy Rd, Kariong for housing.
The Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council has indicated it is committed to providing a biodiversity offset strategy that appropriately compensates for any unavoidable loss of biodiversity values.
“Future development of the site will need to consider a site-specific
development control plan, which will be required to include provisions for environmental conservation,” the State Government’s Gateway report states.“The planning proposal has the potential to facilitate up to 50 dwellings near the Kariong local centre, near the western end of the Somersby to Erina growth corridor,” the report states.
While the planning proposal will result in the removal of bushland, a significant portion of the site will remain undisturbed and contained in an E2 Environmental Conservation zone, the gateway report notes.
The action group says the rezoning creates a dangerous precedent for many more hectares of vital native habitat and culturally sensitive areas all over NSW.
Local conservationist and member of the action group, Emily McCallum said Australia holds the title for the highest extinction rates of native species in the world, with habitat loss and land clearing being key factors.
“This is truly an indictment on our society and we must work together to turn this situation around,” she said.
She said the area was listed as an Area of Regional Koala Significance.
“With our iconic Koalas recently being officially listed as an endangered species, I’m truly hoping the Aussie spirit will shine through and our community will rise up before the habitat of this little Aussie battler is lost forever,” she said.
Back in 2019, when the Central Coast had councillors, the councillors voted to relinquish the planning proposal authority for this site and later it added other Darkinjung sites.
As the Planning Proposal Authority, Council would have been responsible for ensuring studies and technical reports to support the proposals were completed to an appropriate level of adequacy, undertaken agency and community consultation and making any final recommendations to the consent authority.
The rezoning decision will be made by the Hunter Central Coast Regional Planning Panel.
The Central Coast Council is under administration until September 2024 when local government elections will be held across the state.