Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 440
Macquarie ACT 2614
Environment Assessment Branch
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
IKEA Canberra - Northern Access Road
Referral no: 2016/7742
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.
FOG has a long-standing interest in the Natural Temperate Grassland (NTG) and associated endangered fauna in the Majura Valley and has responded to earlier referrals concerning both access to the IKEA site and the Majura Parkway development, as well as the 2010 discussion paper on planning for the Eastern Broadacre area.
As FOG said in its submission on the Majura link road to the IKEA development (June 2015), while the initial development for which this link road is necessary did not need to be assessed due to the poor quality of the vegetation on the IKEA site, in FOG’s view the impact of the access road should have been included as part of the initial approval of the development. This is supported by the cumulative effects of not just the original development, but also the various infrastructure developments occurring concurrently or subsequently, such as this link road. It is important that the total impact of all developments and associated infrastructure that potentially might impact on the endangered species and communities in this area be considered before any are approved. Otherwise we will see a slow loss of these endangered species and communities over time.
Accepting that the IKEA development is in place and that some impact due to provision of a northern access road is unavoidable, FOG notes (from the Ecological Assessment) amendments to the design which have reduced impacts on habitat for endangered species (Golden Sun Moth (GSM) and Striped Legless Lizard (SLL)) from the original proposal. FOG supports the proposed minimisation and mitigation measures. In terms of the destruction of GSM and SLL habitat, the cumulative impacts are over the EPBC threshold so, at the very least, compensatory offsets should be put in place.
In conclusion, FOG’s view is that
- The proposed mitigation actions be part of the conditions of approval for the development;
- Compensatory offsets for destruction of GSM and SLL habitat should be put into place; and
- Other such developments in the area should not be approved until the ACT Government releases its draft Eastern Broadacre Strategic Assessment and the community has had the opportunity to input to it.
30 July 2016