Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
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
Throsby Denominational School Site, Gungahlin, ACT
Reference number: 2012/6251
In responding to this request for development, Friends of Grasslands (FOG) notes that the proposed development of the school site is independent of any future development in Throsby and is in response to an existing demand for such a school in Gungahlin. However, developing this site may, by placement of infrastructure and other construction, influence consideration of development proposals for the remainder of Throsby. This is yet another example of piecemeal development proposals that in the end have a negative impact on grassland biodiversity, and again FOG would like to see a strategic approach taken to such developments.
The letter indicates that the ACT Government is finalising a Gungahlin Strategic Offsets Package and even shows a proposed offset area in one of the maps (figure 2). It states that this Package is “a means by which this type of impact can be offset in a strategic context with the greatest potential benefit to conservation…”. FOG’s view is that offsets should be in place before any development occurs and that it is insufficient for this Package to be only at proposal stage. We have been waiting for close to two years for public release of the ACT government’s offset policy (which presumably underlies the Gungahlin Strategic Offset Package), an event that still has not occurred. Until both policy and Package have been made available for public scrutiny, FOG opposes any development in Gungahlin (including Throsby).
FOG is a community group dedicated to the conservation of indigenous 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.
John Fitz Gerald
30 January 2012