Joan Vickers, Harlaxton, Queensland
The Kings Forest Residential Development was notified as a Controlled Action under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act on Friday, 16 November 2012. This was on the basis of listed threatened species and communities.
The notification states: ‘The project will require assessment and approval by the minister (The Hon Tony Burke) before it can proceed’. It also says that it will be assessed by preliminary documentation, which means that the proponent must make available for public comment documents that describe the proposal, its impacts and mitigation measures. The documents may be those already published by the proponent, or in addition further information, if that received by the minister had been insufficient.
Surely this must mean that the first stage of the proposed township must be deferred, not only until a koala plan of management is completed, but also until the first stage is assessed and approved by the federal minister. Concerns about impacts on koalas, raised by Crs Milne and Bagnall and planning director Vince Connell (Echonetdaily, ‘Koala priority at new township urged’, 14 Dec 2012) can then be assessed at both state and national levels.
The earthworks and clearing would also impact on threatened Wallum Sedge Frogs in Cudgen Paddock, where they and their habitat would be dug up and dumped to build up western precincts. It is likely that the impacts would be significant for both species.
Tweed residents will have one more chance to voice their concerns about dogs in the new township, koala corridors, koala fencing, population recovery and koala food trees. Crs Milne and Bagnall may win their bid for limited bulk earthworks and management plan reviews, which may be required at each stage under EPBC legislation.