Hunter Economic Zone, HEZ
The news today that HEZ P/L, the private company which promotes the industrial estate, has been placed in recievership is a predictable result of a planning process in which political lobbying overcame common sense and merit assessment.
Media Release 2/3/10
White Elephant Industrial Zone should become a National Park
Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan is calling on the NSW Government the convert the Hunter Employment Zone into National Park after its parent company, HEZ P/L, was placed in receivership.
‘This is the latest installment in a 10 year old farce which saw one of the most ecologically significant areas of the Hunter Valley rezoned for industrial use. We have been warning the NSW Government for over ten years that the site is home for so many threatened species (32), and so poorly located that no industry would want to locate there. We warned that Cessnock would end up with a lose-lose scenario, by losing the environment and not gaining investment, instead of the win-win Cessnock could have had if the industrial zone was more suitably located. It now looks like we were correct.’ Clr Ryan said.
It has always been a controversial industrial estate and was the subject of a NSW Parliamentary Upper House Inquiry in 2004.
The site is of National ecological significance. It is almost entirely covered with endangered woodland. It is known that up to 10% of the Endangered Swift Parrot use the area for winter foraging. The most successful breeding event for the Endangered Regent Honeyeater in the past few years occurred on the industrial estate. The Regent Honeyeater is so endangered a breeding program has been established at Taronga Zoo to try and prevent the bird from becoming extinct.
‘Despite the obvious ecological value of the area not a single hectare of private land was set aside for permanent conservation when the HEZ was rezoned.’ Clr Ryan said.
‘The HEZ is obviously struggling to attract investment. It is now time to make this area a National Park.’
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