THE 6,500 hectare Dharawal National Park has been officially
The national park will indefinitely preserve the area’s unique biodiversity, including several endangered species and Sydney’s largest surviving koala population. It will also protect a large number of Aboriginal rock art and significant cultural sites. The listing also has a “no depth restriction”, meaning the park is protected to the centre of the earth for the first time.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says it kills off plans by BHP subsidiary Illawarra Coal to mine within the park and he says there will be no compensation paid to the mining company.
The park is located along the Appin Road west of Bulli, north of the Cataract Dam road.
The NSW Government has committed $1 million to improve visitor facilities and opportunities in Dharawal. These will include a new lookout with access for the disabled, improved walking access to the pools on Stokes Creek and picnic facilities.
A loop walk to Maddens Falls has also been proposed for the Illawarra end of the National Park at Darks Forrest, which would allow visitors to walk down to the base of the falls.
State MP for Heathcote Lee Evans has welcomed the official establishment of the park as a historic milestone for the region.
“I am very proud that the NSW Government has guaranteed the protection of this priceless natural asset,” Mr Evans said.
“This fulfils a key election commitment for the Government and rewards almost two decades of tireless campaigning from the local community.”
Mr Evans congratulated community campaigners who fought to protect the area.
“The legacy of their tireless efforts will be enjoyed by countless future generations,” he said.
A community celebration of Dharawal National Park will be held on May 5.