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
ACT Second Electrical Supply Project
Referral no: 2016/7784
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.
In responding to this referral, FOG notes that several options for the proposed substation and transmission lines have been assessed using criteria that include environmental values, and that the option that best meets these criteria is being presented. In particular, we note that the action has been designed to avoid impacts on Box-Gum Grassy Woodland areas. However, there is some impact on Pink-Tailed Worm Lizard (PTWL) habitat. For this reason, FOG considers the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) essential and also supports the proposed development of detailed mitigation measures Spring/Summer targeted surveys. As the exact nature of impacts on the PTWL will not be known until these surveys are done (and offsets may be necessary if impacts cannot be avoided), FOG believes that this should be a controlled action.
FOG also notes that the Little Eagle is a particular matter of ACT significance (as a Vulnerable species known to be active near to Strathnairn, hopefully nesting at present) and recommends specific consideration in the EIS even though this is not technically an EPBC matter.
Finally, as highlighted in Section 5 "Measures to avoid or reduce impacts", any loss of hollow-bearing paddock trees is a specific concern for FOG, as is possible introduction of invasive species threatening biodiversity. FOG submits both must become topics of detailed analysis in the proposed EIS process.
11 October 2016