The New South Wales government has announced plans to turn 60,468 hectares of land near Broken Hill into an outback reserve.
The state has purchased the Langidoon and Metford stations, which environment minister Matt Kean says will be used to conserve significant biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage.
“Land to the west of the Great Dividing Range supports a great diversity of wildlife, unique natural heritage and culturally important places, worthy of protection,” he said on Monday.
“This new park will be an important refuge for wildlife including at least 14 threatened animal species including habitat for the Australian bustard, white-fronted chat and the pink cockatoo.”
The properties, located 65km east of Broken Hill in the far west of NSW, are home to important Aboriginal artefacts such as grinding plates and stones. They also contain a ‘diversity of ecosystems’, the state government noted.
“In time, it is expected visitors will be able to explore sandplains and stony desert, gibber chenopod shrublands, floodplain woodland along watercourses and a lake system that provides habitat for a range of migratory bird species,” it said in a statement.
The outback reserve could provide habitat for a range of threatened fauna species — particularly birds — including the blue-billed duck and the freckled duck.
The purchase is the state’s second largest land acquisition for national parks in the last 10 years, followed by the Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park, which was established last year.
Under state national parks laws, land must be assessed, approved and acquired before it can be officially reserved and declared as a new park or an addition to a park.
NSW has a target of an additional 400,000 hectares by the end of 2022. The state government noted that, once this addition is formally reserved, the national parks system will have increased by more 350,000 hectares since August 2019.