Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems

 

PO Box 987

Civic Square ACT 2608

Phone: 02 62.. ....

 

 

Referrals Section (EPBC Act)

Approvals and Wildlife Division

Department of the Environment and Water Resources

GPO Box 787

CANBERRA  ACT  2601

 

Dear Madam/Sir

 

Project ref no. 2007/3756

Transfer of Defence land at Majura ACT

 

This project, referred under the EPBC Act, proposes to transfer land from the Department of Defence at Majura to the Department of Transport and Regional Services for on-sale to Canberra Airport Group (CAG) which proposes to construct an access road into the airport. The road construction stage will potentially affect an endangered ecological community ('high quality Natural Temperate Grasslands') and four threatened species listed under both EPBC Act (one critically endangered, two endangered and one vulnerable) and ACT legislation - the golden sun moth Synemon plana, the striped legless lizard Delmar impar, the grassland earless dragon Tympanocryptis lineata pinguicolla and the button wrinklewort Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides.

 

Friends of Grassland (FoG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of native temperate grassy ecosystems, such as grasslands and woodlands. FoG is based in Canberra and its members, numbering over 200, include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public. FoG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on‑ground work.

 

FoG's reasons for believing that the proposed development may lead to significant impacts relevant to EPBC follow.

FoG is very concerned that, although this proposal is just the first stage in the project - which (together with on-sale) does not directly physically threaten the community/species, CAG's expectations regarding road construction will be being raised as these decision steps are taken. FoG's view is that no implicit commitment to final approval for road construction on any alignment should be given until further information is available on the actual intentions regarding construction (i.e. placement and extent).

 

FoG is keen to ensure long term conservation outcomes for lowland native grassland remnants and the threatened species they contain. There appear to be various purposes for the proposed road, which should become clearer in a proposal seeking approval for construction. However, FoG's view is that further development of land in/around Canberra Airport 'to [improve] commercial development opportunities' is not supportable; the grassland is far too valuable to the local, regional and national community for conservation. A solution to the current traffic congestion - caused to a significant extent by commercial development to date at the Canberra Airport, approved without sufficient mitigation - should be found without destroying more grassland.

 

Threatened grassland and species are being lost - forever - through many 'small' decisions; this is an alarming example of cumulative impacts not being resolved through environmental protection legislation. FoG looks forward to your consideration of these comments, and effective administration of the EPBC Act.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

Kim Pullen

President

18 October 2007

 

1] A vision splendid of the grassy plains extended: ACT lowland native grassland conservation strategy, Action Plan No. 28