Category Archives: planning permit

Endangered Legless Lizards threatened by bulldozers

Endangered (and legless) lizard facing bulldozers on Melbourne’s fringe

Populations of the endangered striped legless lizard in Melbourne’s outer west are set for destruction by bulldozer for new housing, and our Premier Daniel Andrews has dismissed any efforts to protect them!

The species looks like a snake but its closest relative is the gecko, and is deemed endangered within Victoria and vulnerable nationally.

15 green and community groups, led by the Victorian National Parks Association say that the federal and state governments should adopt further protections for the existing populations of the creature, potentially in the path of new housing developments.  Nothing seems to be able survive the bulldozers when it comes to housing and population growth!


(image: The distribution of the Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar))

How can governments promise that there can be both urban growth and conservation of grassland native species?  You can’t have habitats bulldozed for housing, and large conservation areas, co-existing!  It’s a contradiction in terms.

In any conflict, the threatened species will lose out.  There’s large swathes of money to be made, and benefits for real estate and property investors, leaving intrinsic and environmental values lost in any considerations.  It’s about spawning more mortgages, and being able to by-passing any environmental laws that protect endangered species.

Under a deal with Canberra, the state government was required to explore a relocation trial for the species.  This pays lip-service to consideration for species, and assumes that they can simply be “relocated” to neatly comply with developers!  According to VNPA, “900 lizards would be required for successful translocation but this number is based on the most conservative estimates and is much too high.

“The Striped Legless Lizards will now be left to await the bulldozers as habitat hotspots continue to be cleared for urban growth in Melbourne’s west”.

“The habitat for one of Victoria’s most significant endangered species, the Striped Legless Lizard, is rapidly being destroyed and the animals now face death by bulldozer,” the Victorian National Parks Association’s Yasmin Kelsall said in a Media Statement.

The harmless, endangered legless lizard lives in one of Victoria’s critically threatened habitats – the native grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plains.

Green Wedges Coalition spokesperson Rosemary West said the lizards now face local extinction.

The steamroller of housing growth just keeps clawing out further into Melbourne’s fringes, with 100,000 more people each year to be accommodated.

Australian National University researchers believe that big mobs of kangaroos destroy the grassland habitats of reptiles.  They found grass over 20 centimetres tall housed the greatest number of reptiles.  An ultra-brutal and extremist conservation policy has seen thousands of ACT kangaroos  “culled” to protect grassland native species.    But, when it comes to the much greater and devastating impact from mechanical, behemoth bulldozers, and the deadly impacts of urban sprawl, any scientific objections are completely overlooked! There were funded studies to condemn the native kangaroos as being environmentally destructive to threatened grassland species, but there will be no condemnation of housing growth!
It’s a tragic example of the failure of conservation in Victoria, and reflects a Third World problem of environmental negligence, ignorance and the destruction of habitat due to prioritizing industries over Nature, and rampant corporate greed!

Download the Joint Statement: (pdf)

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Save, Protect and Rezone Tootgarook Swamp on the Mornington Peninsula

Petition: We call on levels of government Local, State and Federal and their departments as well as Melbourne Water.

The Tootgarook Swamp is the largest example left of an Shallow freshwater marsh in the Port Philip bay region, at 381 hectares it is worthy of international Ramsar protection.

Much of the Tootgarook swamp is inappropriately zoned as residential, and industrial with only half of it inside the green wedge.  Currently approximately 80 hectares is marked with present development proposals totalling almost a quarter of the entire swamp.

There are only 4% of total wetlands left in Victoria that are greater than 100 hectares.  Of the original wetlands in the state we have already lost over 37% in the last 200 years.


Of the 100% of shallow fresh water marshes in Victoria, 60% has been destroyed.  It has high cultural significance for the Bunurong / Boonerwrung people of the Kulin nation, as well as high scientific value as pointed out by Sir Frederick Chapman in 1919, Australia’s first nationally appointed palaeontologist and world authority in the field of ostracods (a type of small crustacean), and close companion and co-worker with Sir Douglas Mawson.

Sir Chapman personally visited and studied within Tootgarook Swamp where he catalogued numerous fossils and ostropod species not seen anywhere else but in Tasmania showing a link of a land bridge between the two states.

Tootgarook Swamp has so far recorded 145 bird species, 13 reptilian species, 9 amphibious frog species and 12 mammals, including 5 bats, no full survey of the entire swamp has ever been done to show its true value, and much of the current data has been collected during drought time.

The swamp contains fifteen state, federal, and international protected species of fauna, along with another seven species listed as vulnerable. The majority of species threatened with extinction in Victoria are wetland dependent.

The swamp is also home to at least nine bioregional endangered plant communities. A local ecologist believes up to 24 bioregional endangered plant communities exist within the swamp and updated on ground flora surveys need to be commenced.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire is considering a proposal by Lifestyle Communities Ltd to build a 99-lot residential development for people aged over 55 on part of the wetlands.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire has released an information sheet (Tootgarook Wetland Information Sheet #TWMP15.pdf) about planning together, for the future of the Tootgarook Wetland in developing a Wetland Management Plan.

It assumed that with “management” the biodiversity and fragility of species and ecology can co-exist with housing growth!


Save Tootgarook Swamp webpage

Petition: Save and Protect and rezone Tootgarook Swamp on the Mornington Peninsula

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