Department defends decision to poison reserve in Taree

The highlighted section of land on High Street, Taree is NSW government owned land that has been voluntarily maintained and transformed into a garden for the community by Ed Rotgans.
The highlighted section of land on High Street, Taree is NSW government owned land that has been voluntarily maintained and transformed into a garden for the community by Ed Rotgans.

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The NSW Department of Industry Lands is defending its decision to poison plants and order the removal of garden structures on reserve land in High Street, Taree.

The Manning River Times put numerous written questions to the department’s media unit in relation to its letter to Mr Ed Rotgans, the neighbouring resident who worked to remove weeds and transform the reserve into a garden over more than eight years. Click here to read story.

The media unit provided a response to the questions, however it failed to answer the following two key questions from the Manning River Times: 

“Is the department prepared to allow Mr Rotgans to continue to use the land and permit the retention of minor structures and garden features?”

“When did the Department of Industry Lands last act to do any work on the land?”

This is the official response:

“The Department appreciates Mr Rotgans’ passion for improving the area and we understand he has been given guidance by the MidCoast Council on what can be safely planted and what should be avoided. 

“The plot of land adjoining Browns Creek is Crown Reserve and a request was recently received from MidCoast Council to inspect the site for weeds. 

“On inspection a number of invasive and noxious introduced species including Cockspur Coral, Ginger Lily and Mickey Mouse plants. They are considered high risk to native environments and agricultural lands and must be removed and managed.

“As is required under the law, the department arranged for a contractor to destroy all invasive species on the plot, but was instructed to allow non-invasive species to remain.  

“Standard, well-known and tested weed control chemicals were used, including Roundup and Brush Off. 

“The reserve is also subject of an Aboriginal Land Claim, so any structures built on the site need to be considered in line with the Native Title Act.”