Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Referral Business Entry Point, EIA Policy Section (EPBC Act)
Approvals and Wildlife Division
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Expansion of the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre, ACT
Reference Number: 2011/ 5808
FOG notes that “the expansion of the landfill into adjacent land is considered the only way to cater for the ACT’s future waste needs, as the current cells only have limited capacity remaining”, and that the proposed action will remove approximately 8.2 ha of Box – Gum Woodland. We also note that no threatened flora species were observed despite targeted searches for Small Purple Pea Swainsona recta and Button Wrinklewort Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides, but that there is potential for an impact on the remnant woodland adjacent to the site.
While FOG recognises the need for the ACT Government to provide sites for essential infrastructure such as waste management, it cannot support the proposal in its current form. FOG continues to witness the steady whittling way of important remnant sites containing threatened ecological communities (grasslands and woodlands) and species such as the golden sun moth, striped legless lizard and pink tail worm lizard (although not applicable on this occasion). In the past we have called for some type of overall consultation to formulate a strategy that would ensure the eventual cessation of such practices and/or an appropriate offset policy. Many years ago the Legislative Assembly passed a resolution on waste management which appears to have been lost sight. On this occasion, there is no accompanying statement about the long-term plans for waste-management, no firm statement about offsets, and no strategy in place to ensure the adequate protection and management of woodlands.
In relation to offsets, the development of the ACT offset policy appears to have been stalled (at least in terms of its finalisation and availability to the community). As well, there is insufficient detail provided in the documents to comment on the nature of the suggested offsets. However, a potential offset that could be considered is the reservation of an area of land opposite the landfill site on Mugga Lane that is adjacent to, but not included in, Isaacs Ridge Nature Park. This area contains the endangered Box-Gum woodland in good condition.
FOG is concerned that in future, more land will be required to again extend the landfill, potentially resulting in the removal of further areas of the endangered Yellow Box – Red Gum woodland. We believe that incremental loss of woodland at this site is untenable and a long-term strategy to deal with future waste is required.
Should the proposal go ahead, FOG supports the proposed mitigation measures such as fencing adjacent sensitive habitats to protect them from stockpiling of materials, vehicle movement and parking, and actively managing the Box-Gum remnant to decrease edge effects such as weed invasion into the adjacent remnant. As well, FOG considers that, as suggested in the Main Report attached to the document, offsets should be offered and put in place before the project proceeds.
FOG is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its more than 200 members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
24 January 2011