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NSW Government licences Lend Lease to remove all Emus from former ADI Site at Penrith

The people of Western Sydney have been betrayed by the NSW Government after it was revealed (see bottom of page) they issued Lend Lease a licence that will allow the removal of all the Emus from the controversial former ADI Site. Despite years of protests by locals and their supporters further afield (see ADI site history on ), the 1535 hectare former Australian Defence Industries Site is now owned by Lend Lease which is developing 5400 houses. 900 hectares of the site, the future home of the Emus and Kangaroos, is meant to become a Regional Park.

“For nearly a decade all levels of government, specifically the NSW Government, have stated that Emus and Kangaroos would be retained within the proposed Regional Park. So this is a major betrayal to the people of Western Sydney” said Geoff Brown President of the Western Sydney Conservation Alliance and who led the ADI Residents Action Groups fight to save the ADI Site.

Lendlease and Penrith Council go back on word to keep emus on site

“The NSW Government had previously said Emus and Kangaroos would remain within the proposed Wianamatta Regional Park. Their own Masterplan for the Wianamatta Regional Park states retaining a sustainable population of Kangaroos and Emus as a desired outcome. Lend Lease's own Macrofauna Management Plan (A plan they had to come up with due to conditions applied by the NSW Government) states: It is part of the vision for this plan that eastern grey kangaroos and emus will be present in the SMP in the long term. Penrith Council in its submissions on the future of Macrofauna within the Regional Park talked of the creation of viewing areas so that Emus and Kangaroos could be seen by the public visiting the Regional Park.

Sad news - you cannot trust developers or development oriented councils

“This is very sad news especially to those people whose homes backed onto the ADI Site are and were visited daily by the Emus that roamed the fence lines. To many they would have been like pets. I myself lived on this fence line for many years and have fond memories of Emu families visiting. I also filmed a father Emu leading about 8 tiny chicks as they wondered through the bushland.”

“This is what happens when a developer is left in charge of managing a proposed 900 ha Regional Park and its flora and fauna. 11 years ago the NSW Government and Lend Lease signed the legally binding St Marys Development Agreement that included an obligation for Lend Lease to transfer ownership of the Regional Park to the NSW Government as soon as possible. 11 years later and only about 63 hectares of the 900 hectares is in NSW Government ownership. What's going on?”

You can't trust a developer oriented State Government either

“Serious questions need to asked of Robyn Parker the NSW Environment Minister about this betrayal, the issuing of the licence and why 11 years after the St Marys Development Agreement was signed Lend Lease still owns about 835 hectares of the promised 900 hectare Regional Park.”

State parks were able to manage emus; how come Lend Lease cannot?

“The only reason these Emus are being evicted from their home of 50 years is because of Lend Leases mismanagement. One would assume that if the entire 900 hectare Regional Park was under the ownership and management of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service that 27 Emus would not be a problem to manage. There was never any major issues with Emus escaping until the ADI Site was sold to Lend Lease in the mid 2000's. Lend Leases primary focus has been on generating massive profits from their adjoining housing development than properly implementing their management plans for the sites animals and vegetation.”

“Lend Lease should tell us exactly where the Emus are to be sent so that any questions about their ongoing welfare can be properly addressed. What happens if there are young chicks at foot?”

Download NSW Government Wianamatta Regional Park Management Plan here and Macrofauna Management Plan here search the pdfs using keyword retained

Comments Geoff Brown 0431 222602

Lend Leases statement

In accordance with the provisions of Section 127 National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has issued a licence to Maryland Development Company to relocate emus located at the former ADI site to specified localities within NSW.

§ The reason for the relocation of the emus is due to the increasing incidents of vandalism by the public to the boundary fence of the site.

§ Emus will be relocated 3-4 birds at a time to ensure their welfare and safety. They will be accompanied by a vet at all times.

§ The 2013 census indicates a total of 27 emus live on the St Marys Property.

§ Recipient sites have been selected in NSW that have native Australian bushland habitats and the necessary infrastructure in place to allow safe, careful and humane handling of emus.

Lend Lease Regional Development Manager, Arthur Ilias said:

“There has been a growing need to relocate the emus to a remote and safe location as a result of an increase in incidents of vandalism to the boundary fence. This vandalism has allowed emus to enter on to public roads where they are a hazard to both themselves and the public.”

“A fully accredited and experienced Vet will supervise all capture and transport and will ensure animal welfare is addressed and maintained throughout all aspects of the relocation process.”

If you would like to speak to National Parks and Wildlife I suggest you contact Roger Bell 9995 6484

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Media Release
14th December 2013

Save Sydney’s Last Wild Emu population
Public Meeting organised – Politicians invited to front upset locals

A public meeting has been organised due to widespread community anger at the news the NSW Government is allowing Sydney’s last wild Emu population to be removed. The fight is on to save Sydney’s Emus.

5.30pm Thursday the 19th Dec. Jim Anderson Park, Greenbank Drive, Werrington Downs.
Robyn Parker, Stuart Ayres, Bart Bassett, Penrith Councillors, NSW Opposition and Greens were invited

“We’ve organised this public meeting to give locals a chance to express their anger at the NSW Government about their treacherous decision to allow the removal of Sydney’s last wild Emu population said Geoff Brown”

“The NSW Government needs to unshackle itself from Lend Lease and reverse this appalling decision. The fight to save the 1535 ha ADI Site was also a fight to retain our Emus and Kangaroos. We may not have stopped the housing but we got a 900 ha reserve saved and were promised by government the Emus would be retained in that reserve. This decision by Robyn Parker on behalf of the O’Farrell Government is an act of treachery. They have betrayed the people of Western Sydney that put them in government.”

“Robyn Parker and Stuart Ayres the Minister assisting the Premier on Western Sydney, Bart Bassett the local member for Londonderry and all the Penrith Councillors have been invited to front the public. They need to answer why the Emus need to go due to Lend Leases mismanagement. Why is Lend Lease even managing the proposed 900 ha Regional Park when in 2001 we were promised it would be owned and managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service? This whole blame the vandals and Emus line is just a smoke screen for a major stuff up by Robyn Parkers Department and Lend Lease.”

“If we are to save Sydney’s last wild Emus then the public needs to get very vocal and turn up in force to this public meeting. We must let the NSW Government know loud and clear that we love our Emus and we want them to stay.”

Comments Geoff Brown co – organiser, local resident, President Western Sydney Conservation Alliance and former convenor ADI Residents Action Group
0431 222602
Petition to Robyn Parker (which shows public comments) and more info see
To the Sydney media: please contemplate the significance of this decision and report the loss of our last Emus. Western Sydney issues deserve a voice.


The Emu population existing on the 1535 ha former Australian Defence Industries site at St Marys/Penrith may be removed over the Christmas period by developer Lend Lease which has been granted a licence to remove them by Robyn Parker the NSW Environment Minister. The Emu population has existed on the old munitions factory site since the 1950’s. It was common place for defence bases to place the Coat of Arms, Kangaroos and Emus, on their properties. The Emus are much loved icons of the Penrith region.

Lend Lease has written to local residents informing them of their intention to remove the Emus and this has upset and outraged them. Lend Lease are claiming vandalism of fence lines as the reason the Emus must go. That some Emus are getting out into public areas and are putting themselves and the public at risk of injury. Yet there are no reported cases of any public injury.

There was never an issue with fence vandalism and escaped Emus until Lend Lease commenced its development in the mid 2000’s. In 2001 Jackie Kelly the then Member for Lindsay famously declared 900 ha of the 1535 ha site would be set aside as a Regional Park to be run by the NSW Government. The NSW Government then promised that Emus and Kangaroos would be retained in the proposed reserve. Its now stated in their 2011 Wianamatta Regional Park Plan of Management. Yet in 2013 Lend Lease are still managing 836.5 ha of the zoned Regional Park and the NSW Government has only accepted ownership and management of 63.5 ha. A major factor in this dilemma is that the NSW Government is refusing to accept ownership of the entire Regional Park.

So we have a developer, whose expertise is housing development, in charge of the majority of the sites wildlife and threatened ecological communities. 828 ha of the site is listed in the Register of the National Estate due to its outstanding conservation value. The problem is Lend Leases unsuitability to manage a wildlife reserve not vandalism or the Emus. What is needed is for the NSW Government to finally take responsibility for the full 900 ha reserve. Surely 27 Emus can be managed with a 900 ha reserve.

The 1500-hectare former Australian Defence Industries site is now partially owned by Lend Lease, which is building three suburbs there, including Ropes Crossing. They say the emus must go because vandals are breaking fences, and the emus are a threat to themselves (?!) and the public, on the roads. There haven't been any incidents of the emus being hurt or of any people being attacked by emus in the local area.

There are 27 emus and several hundred kangaroos living on the site.
There will be three new suburbs built on the land, by the property developer. The destruction caused by this industry of course is overlooked!

Human population growth, engineered by heavy immigration levels, is the underlying threat to wildlife, and habitat destruction in Australia. Emus and kangaroo are being pushed further out to more remote areas, outside their normal safety zones. No wonder, with money and urban development underlying our economy, we are the world's greatest species extinguishers.

The O'Farrell government is undertaking a version of "conservation triage" where limited funding will target 1000 threatened species with the best chance of survival. This means using a formula to rank spending priorities, based on a cost-effective analysis. Some species will be evaluated as being worthy of saving, and others allowed to die off.

The government says 59 per cent of all native mammal species in the state are threatened, as are 28 per cent of bird species, 18 per cent of reptiles and 13 per cent of plants. It's a death-row toll.

We have Tony Abbott signing a MOU for the Government's 'One Stop Shop' Policy for streamlining environmental assessment and approvals. NSW and Victoria are also in the processes of winding back native vegetation protection laws, and planning laws are also being "streamlined."

In a country famous for extinctions, recovery plans for threatened species need to outpace the threatening processes of habitat destruction, and loosening environmental laws.