An update of activities from our conservation officer Sue Proust:
- Biodiversity Conservation and Local Land Services Draft Regulations
The regulations came into force on 25th August, even though many elements of the regulations have not been finalised. I read through the new regulations and found the code based clearing was quite easy to understand (as well as concerning). There is a sentence in this part of the regulations which seems to suggest that code-based clearing has limited application where there are threatened species and/or communities. This would mean little clearing out west then! The Biodiversity Conservation regulations are very complex and I would need feedback from a professional ecologist. Before the regulations came out, I phoned the premier’s and the environment minister’s offices again, as well as my local member. I was objecting to the regulations being pushed through before all regulations and maps had been finalised. I received a reply from Tom Celebreeze. I have emailed him for feedback on how much clearing is already occurring and what oversight there is on this.
- Narribri Gas Project Proposal in the Pilliga
I expressed an interest in getting feedback on this process, as part of the submission process and a senior advisor from the Department of Planning rang me on 2/8.She said Santos was still going through all 23,000 submissions, the majority against the proposal. This will take several months, then the department will take about 3 months to consider the proposal and response. The minister may then direct the Independent Planning Assessment Commission to review the proposal (another 4-6months). This may involve public meetings and a call for more submissions. So a decision could be a long way off, whatever pressure the Prime Minister applies.
- Birdlife Conservation sub-committee
We now have 5 members of this informal sub-committee- me, Linda Brannian, Janis Hosking (Dubbo), Denise Kane (Tamworth) and Sandy Eager (Belligen). As issues pop up, we will in touch with one another. Janis recently attended the meeting about environmental flows in the Murray Darling Basin.
- Wading Bird Signs – progress.
This has now been finalised, the 4 signs are in place and the report has been submitted to the BLNNSW committee.
- Tax-deductibility and Conservation Organisations.
I contacted Sam Vine about this issue and she felt it was more appropriate for national office to put in a submission opposing any move by the federal government to remove the tax deductibility of these organisations, unless their work had a percentage component of on ground work. 50% was one of the figures being proposed. Have not heard back how this issue is progressing.
- Submission on the Pilliga Outwash Parks Draft Statement of Management Intent
I wrote a submission on this matter on behalf of BLNNSW and have not had follow up as yet.
Basically, I just made the point that if these areas were conservation areas and the intention was to reintroduce locally extinct mammal species there, then mining and CSG should not be allowed. There is also now a call for submissions on “Public exhibition of the Pilliga State Conservation Area Review of Environmental Factors for the Reintroduction of Locally Extinct Mammals”. Submissions are due on October 28.
Sue Proust, Branch Conservation Officer