News | 6th Dec, 2011

Nirvana away from building where wildlife won’t croak

Tuesday, 6 December 2011
John Masanauskas. Herald Sun

Endangered animals would be moved from boom housing suburbs to a safe haven, under a plan to keep more land for housing.

Property developers say that "frog and bandicoot nirvana" could be created for the species while ensuring that enough land was available to build homes, schools and playgrounds.

The Herald Sun revealed last week that draft measures to protect the growling grass frog could stop up to 66,000 houses being built and prevent about $2.6 billion in development.

Special no-go zones in growth corridors would be set aside for habitats used by the frog and for other species like the southern brown bandicoot.

But Property Council of Australia state CEO Jennifer Cunich said yesterday the State Government plans would see 4400 ha of potential housing land locked up, based largely on questionable science and preconceived outcomes.

Ms Cunich said that in the case of the frog, a better option was to keep only high-value habitats in growth areas and to set up alternative locations for frogs outside the urban growth boundary.

"Why are we restricting opportunities for our future communities when we could be creating frog and bandicoot nirvana outside the boundary," she said.

"Greater value needs to be placed on providing homes, schools and playgrounds for these communities in our attempt to get the balance right."

The grass frog lives along several waterways scattered around the growth areas while the southern bandicoot is found on the southeast fringe.

Ms Cunich said alternative sites for the frog and bandicoot habitats could include the Koo-wee-rup Swamp, Western Plains Grassland, Nar Nar Goon, Garfield and south of Pakenham.

Environment Victoria spokesman Mark Wakeham said the grasslands were a unique habitat and species couldn't simply be moved.

Learn more about diverse ecosystems

Photo: The growling grass frog. Herald Sun