Wetlands to rehabilitate and protect threatened flora and fauna have started at Teven as part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade biodiversity offset program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project was testament to how the Australian and New South Wales Governments were working together to build vital road infrastructure while minimising the environmental footprint.
“The Pacific Highway upgrade we delivered last December was the largest road infrastructure project in regional Australia and since work to duplicate the stretch from Hexham to the Queensland border began in 1996, we’ve seen the number of fatalities reduced by about 75 per cent,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“We have been able to provide a 220-hectare property at Teven to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure the ongoing protection of native wildlife and vegetation for the community, ensuring that as work continues apace, our environment is not left behind.”
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Pacific Highway upgrade had been a major investment in regional communities, creating more than more than 100,000 jobs over the lifecycle of the project – 3,000 of those on the final Woolgoolga to Ballina section alone.
“The project to duplicate a 657-kilometre stretch of the Pacific Highway from Hexham to the Queensland border has delivered safer and faster journeys right up and down the coast, but I’m also proud that we’ve been able to deliver that project while finding new ways to improve sustainability during its construction,” Mr Toole said.
“We’ve used about 1,500 tonnes of recycled glass sourced from Lismore City Council and after being crushed and washed, it went into the concrete paving used on the Wells Crossing to Glenugie section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade. These Teven wetlands is just another example of how we’re getting on with the job of delivering road projects that make a real difference to locals while ensuring the environment they treasure is protected.”
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the Australian Government continued to work hard together to deliver on projects that really matter to North Coast communities.
“This Teven property is a flagship wetlands rehabilitation project – a sanctuary for native wildlife and flourishing vegetation, including threatened species such as Black-necked Stork and Freckled Duck,” Mr Hogan said.
“The wetlands also have large tracts of threatened flora, including mangroves and salt marsh, with water management on site providing habitat to help keep fish stocks healthy in the neighbouring Richmond River.”
State Member of the Legislative Council Ben Franklin said other sustainability initiatives used on the Pacific Highway upgrade included using cleared mulch for sediment controls, reusing rock and dirt cut from one site to fill other sections and fuelling a biomass-fired power generator with green waste.
“More than 500 root systems and 800 timber pins recovered from the vegetation removal process along the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the upgrade have also been reused to stabilise local river banks and restore fish habitat in the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed River catchments,” Mr Franklin said.
“On top of that, biodiversity offsets provide an opportunity for landowners to receive a guaranteed long-term income in return for managing some or all of their land for wildlife.”
As part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade, more than 3,600 hectares of land is being protected with about 1,400 hectares of this land managed by private landowners through biodiversity stewardship agreements.
The NSW Government has invested about $26 million to provide in-perpetuity protection for these sites to date. The Pacific Highway upgrade has provided about 9,000 hectares of biodiversity offsets in total between Hexham and the Queensland border.