Waratah Project - Liverpool Plains Biodiversity

In January 2022, the NSW Government and the China Shenhua Energy Company Limited (Shenhua) (Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd) reached a $100 million agreement in which Shenhua agreed to withdraw its mining lease application and surrender its development consent for the Shenhua Watermark Coal project. The NSW Government acquired more than 6000 hectares of high biodiversity land across the Liverpool Plains in North West NSW with sites in the Barraba, Breeza and Tambar Springs areas. Under the Waratah Project, this land is to be actively managed by the Local Land Services on behalf of the government to safeguard the environmental and cultural significance of the area.

What is the Waratah Project?

Announced as the Liverpool Plains Biodiversity Project, the Waratah Project will see Local Land Services manage 6000 hectares of high biodiversity land with significant emphasis placed on the long-term protection and improvement of biodiversity values, enhancing habitat for koalas and other endangered species, including protecting significant Indigenous cultural sites and artefacts in perpetuity. This will be achieved by building relationships with stakeholders and investing funds towards priority targets, along with honouring pre-negotiated agreements between the NSW Government and Shenhua.

View from Mount Watermark, Breeza.
View from Mount Watermark, Breeza. 

Waratah project sites

Sites are located at Breeza, Barraba, Mt Watermark, and Tambar Springs. Local businesses have been engaged to implement work activities across all sites.

Map of Waratah Project locations
Map of locations in the Liverpool Plains area to be managed under the Waratah biodiversity project.

Waratah project goals and progress updates

Land management will have a strong focus on long-term protection and enhancement of native biodiversity, while ensuring environmental and cultural assets are protected. This work will include, but will not be limited to:

  • Protection and revegetation of koala habitat and corridors
  • Regenerating endangered ecological communities and enhancing habitat for threatened species
  • Protecting native flora and fauna through targeted control of pest animals and weeds.

Local Land Services are working with landholders, Aboriginal groups, community, local council and other stakeholders to ensure triple bottom line outcomes are achieved across the landscape.

In the first six months since project launch, Local Land Services has completed over 1,500 hectares of weed control targeting African box thorn, prickly pear, tiger pear, tree pear, mother-of-millions and honey locust. Aerial pest animal controls have also been conducted across all sites culling 814 pest animals.

A total of 55km of Aboriginal cultural heritage surveys were conducted  to ensure the protection of culturally significant sites and objects. Fencing and earthworks has begun with access tracks, easements, and new fence lines between neighbours and public roads to improve access and ongoing management.

As of September, 78 Ha of revegetation is due to commence across the Breeza site to establish a vegetation corridor to connect Long Mountain to Breeza State Forest. This corridor will improve koala habitat and connectivity across the landscape, as well as providing direct habitat connectivity to over 5900 ha remnant vegetation.

Project contacts

For any enquires regarding the project please feel free to contact Caleb Doyle – Project Coordinator at caleb.doyle@lls.nsw.gov.au or on 0428 641 858.

Updates on the project will be made through the North West Local Land Services e-newsletter and linked below. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Latest project updates

Click below to read the latest project updates:

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