THE Coalition for Property Rights (CPR) claims a Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) document has been downplayed to conceal its potentially serious impact on land use in WA.
CPR chief executive Leo Killigrew said CALM's 'Towards a Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for WA' paper was a "propaganda issue for the feel-good tree huggers and the government, in establishing their credentials as protectors of the environment."
He said the paper, released in December 2004, had been kept under wraps as the end of its public submission period neared, to give the appearance that it had been accepted by the public.
At the time of its release, Environment minister Judy Edwards said the paper contained a 100 year vision for conservation in WA, but proposed strategies for the next 25 years.
"Over the next 25 years we will need to reverse the rates of decline in our biodiversity as well as improve the protection and rates of recovery of the natural habitats that remain," Dr Edwards said.
She said WA was at the forefront of international and national biodiversity conservation actions.
CALM said it aimed to provide a pathway for conservation actions to protect and recover WA's biodiversity, including all threatened species and ecological communities.
Altered grazing and fire regimes were specifically mentioned in regards biodiversity loss.
Mr Killigrew said that at the same time as it was promoting its environmental credentials, the Gallop Government was developing on pristine wetlands at Harvest Lakes, allowing the CSIRO public open space site at Marmion to be developed for $9 million, and running a railway through resumed Bush Forever sites at Baldivis.
He said there were several flaws in the CALM paper, including the lack of a provision for fair and just compensation where land was to be resumed for public use, and the lack of consideration for landowners retaining their property until they wished to place it on the market.
It also failed to restrict local councils in their efforts to rezone and develop their own public open space, when this land could be exchanged for public use land.
"It is clear they are not interested in a fair or democratic solution," he said.
He encouraged all landowners to obtain a copy of the publication and accompanying documents from CALM, and return a submission by April 15.