NSW government buys 37,000ha grazing property for national park

Sheep Central, July 30, 2023

THE New South Wales state government will establish a 100,000ha area of national park in the state’s north-west, after buying the cattle and sheep property Comeroo station.

The acquisition of the 37,000ha Comeroo, Muttawary and Maranoa stations — known collectively as Comeroo — 150km north west of Bourke, from owners Bruce and Chris Sharpe, will produce an expanded national park covering 100,000ha in the region, containing endangered ecological communities and an array of threatened species.

Comeroo Station near Bourke, in north-west NSW. Click on image for a larger view

The estate will be managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Comeroo features diverse habitat including alluvial floodplains and swamps with permanent waterholes, ephemeral wetlands, grasslands, woodlands and shrublands.

More than one quarter of the new park stretches across Yantabulla Swamp, that is recognised as an important bird area. Yantabulla Swamp hosts thousands of internationally protected migratory shorebirds as well as up to 50,000 water birds including threatened freckled ducks, pink-eared ducks, grey teals, night herons and many other species.

Three ecological communities listed as endangered cover one-third of Comeroo. These are the Coolibah-Blackbox woodland, Brigalow-Gidgee woodland/shrubland and critically endangered artesian springs.

At least 13 known threatened species will benefit from permanently protecting the area, a NSW Government press release said. They include the stripe-faced dunnart, ringed brown snake, black-breasted buzzard, brolga, pink cockatoo, little eagle and Hall’s babbler.

Comeroo is located in in the traditional Paroo and Warrego River country, and contains extensive Aboriginal cultural sites including wells, waterholes, stone arrangements, artefact scatters and scarred trees.

When combined with nearby recently reserved Brindingabba National Park and properties Yantabulla and Naree that have agreements with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, the acquisition secures a contiguous area of more than 100,000ha for conservation.

The purchase is funded by the NSW Government with support from The Nature Conservancy which has brokered funding from the Wyss Foundation.

The new National Park will be established after the statutory process is completed, and is expected to be named then opened to the public in late 2024.

NSW minister for the environment Penny Sharpe said the addition to the NSW national parks estate would protect vital wetlands in the Cuttaburra basin, part of the Paroo and the Warrego floodplains and some of NSW’s and Australia’s best waterbird breeding sites.

“Wetlands are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet, which is why this acquisition is so important.

“National Park management and visitation are an important economic driver for regional NSW. In time, this will become another must-see National Park destination. The construction of visitor experiences and driving tours will help people explore this vast new park.”

The Nature Conservancy spokesman James Fitzsimmons said these types of partnerships would be critical to achieving large-scale protection outcomes and meeting Australia’s commitment to protecting 30 percent of land, freshwaters, and ocean ecosystems by 2030.

Source: NSW Government



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