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National park push grows

Date

Michael Inman

THE push for a new national park in Canberra has gained momentum after a local environment group petitioned the ACT government to fund an investigation into the proposal.

The ACT National Parks Association used a budget submission to the ACT government to urge the development of the park which would rebrand many ACT nature reserves as protected areas.

The proposed park, stretching from Mulligan's Flat in the north to Wanniassa in the south, aims to protect endangered lowland grassy woodlands, particularly yellow-box red-gum ecosystems.

The reserves are a stronghold for many endangered species, including the golden sun moth, button wrinklewort, superb parrot and grassland earless dragon.

The idea was first pitched early last year and a report by the then ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Maxine Cooper, published in July, lent support to an investigation.

The association president Rod Griffiths said rebranding urban reserves as national park would afford the imperiled ecosystems greater protection.

He said the proposed area was subject to planning pressures.

''Along the northern border of the ACT there is the potential to maintain a magnificent crescent of land that would link up existing reserves and support threatened grassy woodlands,'' he said.

''One of the key recommendations to come out of the investigation was about improving the condition and resilience of our nature reserves by improving connectivity between them.

''Without the maintenance of biodiversity corridors that join them, our reserves become vulnerable islands,'' Mr Griffiths said.

''The creation of a new national park … would be a major achievement for the ACT and would be recognised both nationally and internationally.''

If approved, the bushland would be the ACT's second national park.

Namadgi National Park covers 46 per cent of the ACT and is the most northern park in a 1.6 million hectare chain of protected areas that form the Australian Alps national parks across NSW, the ACT and Victoria.

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