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
Reference: 2018/8151 Mugga Quarry overburden expansion project, ACT
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 principle FOG opposes any development proposal that impacts on our native grassy ecosystems. In relation to this particular proposal, we would like to draw your attention to the nomination to the ACT Government of the loss of hollow-bearing trees as a threatening process in the ACT. We are yet to hear the results of this nomination. While EPBC processes may not directly take regard of ACT legislation, the fact that this nomination has been made points out the importance of loss of hollow-bearing trees, which will happen with the current proposal.
FOG is concerned about the cumulative impacts of such developments in the Mugga Lane area. It is not the first project to impact on the box gum grassy woodland and, in particular, the large hollow bearing native trees along Mugga Lane. We provided comment on the expansion of the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre, both via the EPBC process (referral number 2011/5808) and later ACT government planning processes, and also on a proposal for a solar farm in this area (EPBC referral 2012/6670, not implemented). We accept that essential infrastructure may have impacts on our endangered species and ecosystems at times, and that at least some of the quarry outputs may fall into that category, but are still concerned about the cumulative impacts of “essential” developments in this area over the long term.
The area in question is actually part of the area covered by the ACT Government’s Eastern Broadacre Study, and is identified as Investigation area I in that report. Our view is that the results of this study should be made available for public scrutiny before any further development impacting on grassy ecosystems occurs in the Majura and Jerrabomberra valleys. A strategic approach to environmental concerns and impacts from development across the whole area needs to occur before any more developments go ahead.
If, despite this, the proposal is approved, FOG believes that it should be a controlled action with appropriate offsets. In addition, the proposed planting needs to have some commitment to long term care to ensure its survival if it is to be of any benefit.
17 February 2018