New South Welsh government ministers are seeking to stop university administrators from taking over land to build a forest university at Wake Forest University in South Australia.
In a draft motion, the state government wants the Department of Education to ensure the Forest Council of Australia (FCA) doesn’t acquire any of the land the university will use for the university.
The move comes after the Department last month announced it would build a university in the Murray-Darling Basin at Wake’s campus in Melbourne.
In its submission to the state cabinet, the FCA said it was “unfortunate” that “a company is taking control of land” in the area where the university is proposed to be built.
“The land will be used by the Forest Commission for the purposes of a university, the commission and the council,” the submission said.
But the proposal is also controversial in the community.
Dr Andrew McKeown from the Forest Science Research Centre at the University of Queensland said he would oppose the proposal.
“The Forest Council is a member of the Forestry Commission and is required to seek public consent to use land for a particular purpose,” he said.
“In my view, it is inappropriate for any organisation to be allowed to take control of a land and then to turn around and use it for something it shouldn’t have.”
Dr McKeon said the proposal would create a “huge risk” for the Murray River, which runs through the area.
“That could be catastrophic for the river and the fish and birds and other species that depend on it,” he told the ABC.
“It would also have a massive impact on the Murray Basin itself.”
Topics:environment,forest-conservation,education,education-industry,education-,southeast-asia,south-africa,australiaContact Heather MartinMore stories from South Australia