HEZ: A Birds Eye View

Lee Rhianon visit 13.12.12

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon will visit Cessnock today and charter a helicopter from Cessnock Airport to get a birds eye view of critical environmental issues.

Senator Rhiannon hopes to get a better understanding of the areas under threat, particularly those with threatened species which are listed under Commonwealth legislation.

‘Senator Rhiannon will be flying over the Hunter Employment Zone to inspect the 900 of hectares of endangered bushland which is known to host the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater.’ said Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan.

Regent Honeyeaters are so endangered that Taronga Zoo has started a breeding program in an effort to prevent them becoming extinct.’

‘Whenever a Zoo begins a captive breeding program its a sure sign the species is close to extinction.’ said Clr Ryan

‘The bushland of the Hunter Employment Zone is one of the few places where this critically endangered species nests and raises chicks.’

‘Development in the HEZ will destroy breeding habitat bit by bit for this enigmatic bird and put further pressure on a species which is on the brink on extinction.’

‘Currently there is a Development application before Cessnock Council which proposes to clear more of the Regent Honeyeater habitat. The Federal Government’s Sustainable Regional Development Program is currently funding research being carried out by BirdLife Australia to identify important habitat for nationally listed species in the Lower Hunter. The preliminary results of that research indicate bushland in Cessnock is vitally important.’

‘I will be asking Senator Rhiannon to take the plight of the Regent Honeyeater to Canberra and seek stronger protection for our critically endangered species.’

‘Just last week the Gillard Government  did not act on the urging of large business to water down environmental protection.  The message I want Senator Rhiannon to take back to Canberra is to thank Prime Minister Gillard for that step, and to emphasise that our laws are not strong enough.’

‘There are other things in life than making money and we need to prevent our wildlife from becoming extinct,’ said Clr Ryan.

Senator Rhiannon will be guided on the helicopter trip by Hunter Bird Observers Club president and qualified ecologist Mick Roderick.

In addition to HEZ Senator Rhiannon and Mr Roderick will fly over the Kooragang Wetlands and the massive Huntlee development.

James Ryan

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