Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems

PO Box 440
Jamison Centre
Macquarie ACT 2614

email: advocacy@fog.org.au
web: www.fog.org.au

Australian Heritage Council
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
email: heritage@awe.gov.au

 

Dear Sir/Madam

Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands heritage listing

Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.

FOG has a long standing interest in the areas of Natural Temperate Grasslands (NTG) at Yarramundi Reach and the Box Gum Woodland (BGW) at Stirling Park and Attunga Point. We have been holding regular working bees in both areas for over a decade to control weeds, undertake other work to improve their biodiversity and liaise with the NCA about management of these important natural areas.

The foreshores and surrounding areas of Lake Burley Griffin include remnant areas of natural significance which are important for our national environmental heritage. Prior to the development of Canberra, the native vegetation comprised extensive areas of natural grassland in the lower parts with Box-Gum woodland on the slopes. Now only scattered fragmented remnants of these widespread ecosystems remain. Within the Central National Area at Scrivener’s Hut, Yarramundi Reach and Stirling Ridge, there are areas of Yellow Box – Red Gum Grassy Woodland (YBRGGW), and of Natural Temperate Grassland (NTG), both critically endangered ecological communities. Several endangered or vulnerable species also exist in these sites: the endangered Rutidosis leptorhynchoides (Button Wrinklewort) on Stirling Ridge; the critically endangered Synemon plana (Golden Sun Moth) and the vulnerable species Delma impar (Striped Legless Lizard) at Yarramundi Reach.

These sections of Lake Burley Griffin Adjacent Lands meet the Commonwealth Heritage List criterion 3: “The place has significant heritage value because of the place’s possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Australia’s natural or cultural history”. Both NTG and BGW have recently had their listing under the Commonwealth’s EPBC Act upgraded to critically endangered, with Yarramundi Reach and Stirling Park, Attunga Point and Scriveners Hut all considered high conservation areas. The presence of the endangered Button Wrinklewort, critically endangered Golden Sun Moth and vulnerable Striped Legless Lizard adds to the natural heritage values of these sites. In addition, there has been a recent sighting of the vulnerable Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii) on Stirling Ridge.

We believe that both Yarramundi Reach and Stirling Park also meet criterion 4: “The place has significant heritage value because of the place’s potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Australia’s natural or cultural history”. They provide an opportunity to test small scale management of NTG and BGW before applying it elsewhere. Examples are early work undertaken to investigate the best season for control burning of NTG, and a current project to find out if relocation of native grass species adds in control of invasive grassy weeds.

In preparing this submission we have not been able find a map of the area to be listed. In our view it should include Yarramundi Reach and all of Stirling Park, given the restoration work we have been undertaking, rather than just the historically recorded intact bushland. There should also be consideration of including the State Circle YBRRGW.

We should note that the Admiral Sir James Stirling after whom Stirling Park is named was the Governor who ordered the first massacre of Aborigines in WA. We suggest that the two Indigenous names for the area should be used instead: Gurubang Dhaura (stony ground) for the western end and Bullen Mura. This would also reflect the Ngunawal cultural sites on the land.

While FOG cannot comment on the heritage values of other parts of Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands, we believe that its natural values are sufficient to meet the criteria and justify its heritage listing.

Yours sincerely

 

Geoff Robertson
President

26 February 2021