Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
ACT Planning and Land Authority
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Moncrieff Residential Housing Estate Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Friends of Grasslands (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 members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
Moncrieff contains areas of partially or moderately modified Box-gum Woodland, a moderate population of Golden Sun Moth and a few uncommon plants, such as a large population of Cullen tenax. In FOG’s view, destruction of these areas for development purposes will lead to a net loss of biodiversity in the ACT.
FOG has been concerned about development in north Gungahlin, including Moncrieff, for some time. In its comments on the original proposal for Moncrieff to the Commonwealth (letter of 28 September 2011 in response to EPBC referral number 2011/6113), FOG opposed “further development or finalisation of development planning in Belconnen and Gungahlin that impacts on endangered and vulnerable grassy ecosystems and species until a strategic review is undertaken (with opportunity for public input) and the best approach to conserving these ecosystems and species into the future has been determined and acted upon”. FOG has been involved in some discussions with Government on its Gungahlin Offset Approach and Strategic Assessment, and understood that Moncrieff was to be included in this strategic approach. FOG is disappointed to see this separate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Moncrieff.
While not supporting any development outside the context of the strategic assessment of Gungahlin, FOG notes a number of mitigation measures in the EIS, including a fauna rescue plan, fencing of “no go” areas during construction, weed management and cat containment. Mention is made of establishing and managing a biodiversity offset package – FOG remains of the view that such an offset package (assuming that one is required due to unfortunate destruction of the Box-gum Woodland and Golden Sun Moth habitat) should be determined and agreed upon before any construction commences, and in fact this should occur as part of the above-mentioned North Gungahlin Strategic Environmental Assessment.
In conclusion, FOG considers that any development of Moncrieff should be included as part of the North Gungahlin Strategic Environmental Assessment.
John Fitz Gerald
13 January 2013