Exciting news: The NSW government has purchased over 60,000 hectares of land in the state’s far west for a brand new outback nature reserve! The purchase of Langidoon and Metford sheep stations — located 65km east of Broken Hill — represents the second-biggest national parks land acquisition by the NSW government in the last decade.
From Sheep Station To National Park
This recent acquisition is part of the NSW government’s plan to protect more of Australia’s beautiful land and biodiversity. In 2019, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean unveiled the ambitious goal to expand the national park system by 200,000 hectares, which was met a year early. By the end of 2022, we should expect to see an extra 400,000 hectares of land in the national park system!
This is great news for people and native wildlife. These massive sheep stations — soon to be part of the national park system — will draw in tourists to explore the region’s beautiful landscape. According to the NSW government, visitors will be able to explore sandplains, stony deserts and gibber chenopod shrublands, and maybe catch a glimpse of some migratory bird species.
Protecting Aboriginal Heritage Sites & Native Wildlife
The sprawling, arid landscape is culturally and biologically important! It’s home to native plants, wildlife and wetlands, as well as sacred Aboriginal heritage sites and artefacts.
"Land to the west of the Great Dividing Range supports a great diversity of wildlife, unique natural heritage and culturally important places, worthy of protection," Matt Kean said in a statement.
"This new park will be an important refuge for wildlife including at least 14 threatened animal species including habitat for the Australian bustard, white-fronted chat and the pink cockatoo,” plus the blue-billed duck and freckled duck. Only 3.4% of the Broken Hill bioregion is currently protected, so this recent acquisition will boost that percentage to 4.4%.
Here’s Why Land Conservation Matters!
The landscapes of outback Australia are wild, harsh and beautiful; legally protecting these areas from land clearing, cattle grazing and urban development is crucial to their survival! It’s estimated that 19.75% of Australia's landmass is currently protected in the National Reserve System (NRS).
Land conservation isn’t just about protecting biodiversity, although that is a major aspect of it. It’s actually essential for our survival! In fact, the CSIRO has estimated the value of Australia's ecosystems — its air, water, forests, flora and fauna — at more than $1,300 billion per year.
Unfortunately, Australia isn’t doing enough to protect its unique biodiversity. We actually have the world’s highest rate of mammal extinction, and since European colonisation, we’ve lost over a dozen endemic species — forever.
We’re extremely excited to hear about this new outback nature reserve! As a nation, we need to step up our game to protect our wonderful native wildlife, and these new national parks represent a massive leap in the right direction.
You can read about more inspiring conservation efforts in our Eco News category, or check out the blogs below.