Stop the Zombies that threaten wildlife & biodiversity in NSW

Stop the Zombies that threaten wildlife & biodiversity in NSW

13 July 2022
Petition to
Anthony Roberts (NSW Minister for Planning) and
Signatures: 2,519Next goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Sleeping Development Applications (DAs), some that are over 30 years old, are putting critical habitats and endangered species at risk throughout NSW. These DAs have now become known as Zombie DAs.

The recently released  State of the Environment Report shows that "Habitat loss & clearing" are one of the 2 key pressures that have caused the most extinction of Australian terrestrial species since the beginning of colonisation.

Local Councils have acknowledged that if these Zombie DAs were reviewed under today’s legislation they would not be allowed to go ahead. Despite that,  loopholes and the pedantic way some Councils are assessing these Zombie DAs mean they are being given the green light to raze everything to the ground.

With a mass extinction already underway and the obvious impacts of Climate Change hitting NSW (and the world), this is not the time to allow wanton destruction of old growth trees, and rich natural habitats.

Photo credit: David Cook CC BY-NC 2.0

The Carbon impact alone from the Zombie DAs would be massive. These types of bushland areas can hold between 86-860 Tonnes of Carbon above ground per hectare, and capture between 2-17 Tonnes of Carbon capture per hectare per year. Some estimates say another roughly 76 Tonnes of Carbon can be stored in the soil per hectare too.

Just one example of these Zombie DAs is in Tura Beach where 10 Hectares of old growth trees and endangered plants are about to be razed to the ground.

This area is full of hollow bearing Bloodwood and Blackbutt eucalypt stands. Wildlife that rely on this corridor for food and habitat include:

  • Yellow-bellied Gliders
  • Eastern Pygmy Possums
  • Eastern Grey Kangaroos
  • Wombats
  • Echidnas
  • Long nosed Potoroos
  • Bandicoots
  • Antechinus
  • Lace monitors
  • Possums
  • Red-necked Wallabies
  • Swamp Wallabies
  • a wide range of reptiles
  • insects and much more…

Plus a myriad of bird life including:

  • Swift parrots
  • Glossy Black Cockatoos
  • Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos
  • Gang-gangs
  • Powerful Owls
  • Barking Owls
  • Bowerbirds
  • Lyrebirds
  • Kookaburras
  • Magpies
  • Eastern Spinebills
  • and much more…

Below are several photos that show a number of endangered Merimbula Star-Hair plants that have already been damaged by the installation of a construction fence on lot 1087/-/1240676 in Tura Beach/Mirador.

The Merimbula Star-Hair is listed as an endangered species on the Schedules of the NSW Biodiversity & Conservation Act 2016 and has special status in NSW as a ‘Species at Risk of Irreversible Impacts of development’ (SAII) under this Act due to its very limited distribution. Following the Biodiversity & Conservation Act, the consent authority must not grant development approval if it is determined that a development proposal is likely to have a serious and irreversible impact on this plant (Clause 6.7 of the Biodiversity Regulation 2017). Zombie DAs are treated as magically exempt from this and given permission to destroy these habitats.

Damaged Merimbula Star-Hair Image 1
Damaged Merimbula Star-Hair Image 2
Damaged Merimbula Star-Hair Image 3
Damaged Merimbula Star-Hair Image 4
Damaged Merimbula Star-Hair Image 5
Damaged Merimbula Star-Hair Image 6

Locals have been notified by Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) that they intend to issue a Subdivision Works Certificate to the owner of the lot within the next week or two, so they can start demolishing this habitat to prepare for a new subdivision. Construction equipment is already on site and the installation of construction fencing shows they are actively preparing to start this work.

This area is mapped as a sensitive area on the NSW Biodiversity Values Map with 52 separate Biodiversity Values entries dating back to 25-8-2017 and as recent as 28-3-2022. These listings include "Threatened species or communities with potential for serious and irreversible impacts" and "Biodiverse riparian land".

Locals have reported these plants and the damage caused by the fences to the BVSC on Monday 20th of June. Later that afternoon BVSC attended the site and inspected the fences and took a number of photos. So they and the developer are clearly aware of the existence of these plants and their significance. This is an offence under section 2.3 (Damaging declared areas of outstanding biodiversity value) of the Biodiversity & Conservation Act 2016. These plants should not be damaged and BVSC should instruct the developer to remove or at least move the fences. 

This is an urgent issue with only days before this population of plants may be permanently destroyed. This is clearly a serious and irreversible impact.

But sadly this is only one example of Zombie DAs raising their ugly head throughout NSW. 

We call on the NSW Minister for Planning (Anthony Roberts), the NSW Minister for the Environment (James Griffin), the NSW Minister for Local Government (Wendy Tuckerman) and the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water (Tanya Plibersek) to take action to stop these Zombie DAs and protect our environment. 

A simple change to legislation that requires:

"Within 12 months any holder of a Development Consent that is over 10 years old needs to apply for an extension that will be re-assessed under current legislation, otherwise that Consent would lapse".

A change like this should be simple and nobody should be exempt from the current legislation!


Please support our GoFundMe campaign to ‘Help cover the cost of
Saving Tura Beach Biodiversity’


You can see a list of just some of the posts on Zombie DAs below.

Support now
Signatures: 2,519Next goal: 5,000
Support now