2019 State Election – Oatley Candidates responses to our questions

A questionnaire was sent by Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) to 3 candidates for the seat of Oatley to gain insight into candidates’ position and/or opinion on  environmental issues before the coming election.

The questions and candidates’ answers are published below as they become available. Answers are in order of receipt.

1. Establish a Sydney Marine Park – to protect this world class coastal region.

Mannering  Labor has been committed to a single, iconic marine park for  Sydney since     2014 and under a Labor Government a Sydney Marine Park will be established, not a series of disparate reserves tagged with the marine park label. Labor’s multi-use Sydney Marine Park would run from Port Hacking to Pittwater and including the harbour waters in between, and would be open to the public and cater for a range of sustainable activities including fishing, boating, dolphin and whale watching, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.

Dragone -   The NSW Greens believe marine parks are essential to maintaining aquatic biodiversity. I cam endorse of a marine park within Sydney with an emphasis on sanctuary zones.

Coure – our questions were forwarded to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP. Response from the Minister’s Chief of Staff, Mr Kevin Wilde.

2 Create a koala sanctuary in south west Sydney – to protect this iconic species

ManneringLabor has committed to a Koala national park in south west Sydney.

Dragone -I can endorse a koala sanctuary in south-west Sydney. The Greens are pushing for more protections for Koalas in that area (and around NSW), Greens Councillor Ben Moroney has been doing great work in that regard.

3. Set up a $2 billion regional renewable energy fund – to fast track the transition to clean energy away from coal.

ManneringFederal Labor has committed to a $15 billion renewable energy fund and a $10 million Clean Energy Training Fund. State Labor has committed to a new renewable energy corporation and has committed to assisting 500,000 households to install solar panels

Dragone – The NSW Greens have a policy of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Our policy is not exactly to set up a $2 billion fund, but would involve significant investment in excess of $2 billion as direct government intervention into energy production. It is also our policy to establish ‘Power NSW’, a publicly owned and 100% renewable energy provider to address the failure of privatisation in creating clean energy or lowering prices

4. Set up a $1.5 billion land and biodiversity fund and end logging of public native forests – to protect and restore bushland and forest habitat.

ManneringLabor has committed to a new national EPA. I’m not aware of the proposal for a biodiversity fund – is this a state or federal issue? Or both!

Dragone – I can endorse the need for regeneration of our bushland and forests, and to protect them from logging. We do not have a specific dollar value on what we will spend protecting biodiversity, but I can assure you that $1.5 billion is more than reasonable. We will fight to protect the native environment of NSW even if costs exceed $1.5 billion.

5. Remove feral horses from Kosciuszko National Park.

ManneringNSW Labor has committed to repealing the Wild Horses Act and to reinstating the National Parks and Wildlife Act, and also acknowledges the environmental damage being done to a delicate ecosystem by feral horses.

Dragone – The NSW Greens acknowledge the need to manage feral species, especially in such delicate environments like the Kosciuszko National Park. I can endorse policy on feral horse removal, however we also stipulate that the removal of feral horses be done humanely.

6. Legislate to ban light weight single use plastic bags.

ManneringLabor has committed to legislating to ban single use light weight plastic bags.

Dragone – It is NSW Greens policy to ban single-use plastic bags, as supermarkets voluntarily giving up plastic bags doesn’t prevent a return in the future. However, we also acknowledge that the costs of climate change should be taken on by the large corporations who are causing it, rather than it being shifted onto ordinary people. To this end, I support this principle.

We have been distributing a leaflet  with questions you might like to ask your candidates in all  electorates.





Clean Up Australia Day 2019 at Poulton Park

A successful clean up Australia day was held on Sunday 3 March at Poulton Park.

25 people, including some young families and local residents, gave up some of their time to walk through the mangrove forest collecting rubbish.

A shopping trolley, fish trap and netting, timber and large exercise ball were some of the unusual large items found. 18 bags of rubbish were filled with the usual suspects – plastic bottles, cans, plastic bags, drink lids, straws and food wrappers.

Thanks to Alan Fairley for organising the day and manning the OFF marquee.

See more photos in album.



Public Land Remains in Public Hands

Georges River Council on Monday 17th December 2018 unanimously approved a mayoral minute to not proceed with the Planning Proposal to rezone and reclassify the former Oatley Bowling Club site for seniors housing. A subsequent rescission motion was also lost on 21 December with all Councillors keen to ensure the public that the land is to remain zoned open space and for recreational use.
The St George and Sutherland Leader has already reported this on its web site : https://www.theleader.com.au/story/5817176/oatley-bowling-club-site-to-remain-as-open-space/?cs=1507
Thanks to all who have fought against this proposal over 12 or more years.

Streamwatch – Up The Creek?

The future of the long running Citizen science program Streamwatch is in jeopardy.

The local group which includes representatives of the Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society, Friends of Oatley and the Georges River Environmental Alliance. Plans by the Australian Museum to not continue with the community-based Streamwatch program has raised concerns amongst volunteers about the future of Georges River’s water quality.

The Streamwatch program has been going for almost 30 years and is run by 53 volunteer water monitoring groups at 120 sites across Sydney. Streamwatch was established in 1990 by Sydney Water and in 2012 it was transferred to the Australian Museum which runs it under its Citizen Science programs. The groups share free on the Streamwatch website giving a snapshot of the standard of Sydney’s creeks and rivers.

Pollution is extremely common in the creeks on Oatley especially after high rain fall. In addition Sydney Water sewer mains frequently overflow after heavy rain and this ends up in the Georges River and becomes a serious health and environmental issue. It is often volunteers who report these indents. The Sydney sewer system is collapsing under the pressure of growing population. 

The volunteers believe that the Australian Museum should see this volunteer program as part of its core business as it is about the environment, it is about science and has a huge role also in educating the public.

It is believed the Steamwatch program costs around $100,000 a year to run support the entire network of more than 50 Streamwatch groups testing more than 150 waterway sites throughout Sydney. Sydney Water reported a record profit of $447 million in 2016-17. The search is on for a new organisation to host the program from mid-2019.


READ OFF member Sharyn Cullis letter to The Leader (26 September)

Oatley West Public School Festival

The society participated in the Oatley West Public School festival on the weekend of 25 & 26 August. Our stall was staffed by OFF Committee members. We demonstrated the Australian Museum’s catchment model which shows where the rain and waste water ends up.

Other focuses were recycling, reducing the use of plastics (e.g., cloth bags), and there were brochures available. We also encouraged people to submit photos for our 2019 calendar and even sold a few 2018 ones. There was a lot of interest and participation from the public.


People Power Cleans Georges River

On 19 August despite bitter wind, 24 volunteers from Oatley Flora and Fauna, Bankstown Bushland Society and Oatley Kayak Crew participated in a clean-up of the beach and surrounds at Beauty Point Reserve, on the Georges River at Padstow Heights.

In four hours, we collected 49 large bags containing 100’s of straws, bottle tops, lighters, syringes, and glass and plastic bottles. Not to mention thousands of polystyrene pieces. But we all wondered how a tyre and wheel, a suitcase and even furniture ended up in the river!!



Community Planting Day at River Road Reserve

Over thirty Oatley Flora and Fauna members, friends and community members gathered on Sunday (5th August)  morning at River Road Reserve to extend our successful planting from one year ago near the railway underpass in Oatley.

We planted over 500 native trees, shrubs and grasses purchased from the Sutherland Shire Nursery, with a grant from the Minister for the Environment’s Conservation Fund, which was sourced through local member Mark Coure who attended on the day..

We hope that this planting will provide a balance to the increasing urban density and paved areas in Oatley which have resulted in a loss of green space.


Photo Challenge 2019

Challenge is finished Thank You to those who contributed photos.

Calendar will be on sale at the Oatley Lion’s Fest.

For the past few years, OFF has produced a calendar that we normally release for sale at the Oatley Festival in October. The 2018 calendar featured wildlife of the Georges River area, this calendar proved to be very popular with very few copies left. Consequently, we are planning to produce a calendar with a similar theme for 2019. The major difference is that there will not be a competition for the images. However, photographers will get the satisfaction of seeing their images in the calendar.

The criteria for the images are that they must of flora or fauna of the St George area. Entries will close on  Sat 8th  September 2018 in order to make the Oatley Festival deadline. Therefore, all photographs start clicking!


Annual General Meeting & 2018 Program

Presidential Address 2018 By Graham Lalchere

Graham thanked the outgoing committee, In particular Shaun Keays-Byrne who will not be standing for the committee this year and resigning from the position of Newsletter editor. He thanked Shaun for the great work he has done on the Newsletter, meeting posters and calendar this year as well our banners. He will be missed both as editor and from the committee.

We heard about an inspirational community campaigner from the Botany area of Sydney ; Nancy Hillier OAM. She was a truly outstanding campaigner for her local community, in development of services, championing the interests of residents, and protection of the environment in the Botany Bay region. A “Relentless rebel with many causes”.



……”Nancy began work at age 14 at Australian Paper Mills at Matraville, sorting paper for recycling into cardboard. She also took up her first issue. One of Nancy’s work companions said workers were not allowed to take toilet breaks in work time. Nancy thought this was wrong, and she told her fellow employees during their break that they should take off their underpants and wash them in the hand basin. She then took the wet garments and hung them on a line at the bottom of the stairs leading to the boss’s office. Naturally, the boss took offence, but Nancy said if employees were allowed to go to the toilet when they felt the urge, they would not wet themselves.”

Hillier was given many public roles, including a place on the Botany community consultation committee, the Botany industrial park environmental committee, the Port Botany expansion committee, the senior citizens’ advisory committee and the emergency management planning committee. In 2006, she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. Still she did not sit back. In August, 2012, the 88-year-old called on residents to fight and stop the state government’s plan to remove the container cap at Port Botany. She did not win that fight, but she would never be silenced.

Graham reminded us that we must remain vigilant to the issue of tree cover in our area.   We must ensure that the council’s announced tree canopy policy is a sound one and implemented properly, particularly when it comes to developments which are denuding our area. See more on Community Tree Watch

Read OFF-Presidents AGM Address 2018



Our Secretary Liz Cameron gave a good synopsis of the year’s happenings.

Some highlights include:

  • Initiation of a Research Grants Program

  • Establishment Community tree Watch

  • Completion of the wheel-chair accessible pathway in Oatley Park

  • Photographic competition that resulted in  Oatley – Nature in the Suburbs Calendar 2018

  • Greening of the River Road Reserve near the railway underpass in Oatley with 850 native plants.

  • We fielded 6 stalls at community events , these enable us to promote OFF’s objectives to a wider audience.

  • We continued to lobby MPs, Georges River Council and other authorities about environmental matters

  • OFF involves itself in a wide range of issues and we have made submissions on draft plans and legislation.

 Read Secretary’s Annual Report for 2017













Appeal to New Councillors to Save Bowling Club Site

The society has written to the new Georges River Councillors informing them of the history of the acquisition of the land on which the Oatley Bowling Club (OBC) was built and issues important to the community in retaining the site for recreational community use. 

Please write to your Councillors asking them to consider retaining the site for community recreational use.

OFF letter to Georges River Councillors on planning proposal for OBC

Click here for list of Councillors and email addresses


Three facsimiles below are of 1944 Hurstville Council minutes that relate to the original acquisition of the land on which the former Oatley Bowling Club is situated.

Council minute 680 on 16/11/44- The blocks of land that make up this reserve were acquired in 1944-45 by council for a park




Minute 680 states quite clearly that the land was purchased for a park, lists the blocks bought, and includes all of the blocks on which the Bowling Club was built.






Minute 884 – Grant for acquisition of the lands.