Below is an extract of the report from the Office of the Appeals Convenor to the Minister for Environment dated July 2011.
Our application was dismissed but there was some minimal conditions added to the clearing permit.
If you would like to see the full 31 pages of the report please contact Tracey, 0427 442 781.
Taking the above into account, I believe the decision of the DEC to grant the permit was justified. However, consistent with the decision of the State Administrative Tribunal, and noting the important environmental values of the Lake Clifton area, I have determined to partly allow appeals to the extent that:
1. The area of clearing for the quarry footprint be reduced by approximately one half and limited in time to align with the decision of the State Administrative Tribunal to review the performance of the proposal after four years;
2. The clearing be undertaken in a staged manner, consistent with the permit holder’s Excavation and Rehabilitation Management Plan, with progressive revegetation and rehabilitation of each stage prior to progressing with new stages; and
3. Conditions relating to habitat trees and replacement nesting hollows be modified in the manner recommended by the Appeals Convenor, namely:
a. the requirement to install artificial hollows be triggered for the clearing of any confirmed or potential habitat tree, with the definition of “habitat tree” being reviewed for consistency with other decisions;
b. ratio of artificial hollows to habitat trees removed be six to one, consistent with recent EPA advice on clearing proposals in Collie;
c. the specification of the use of PVC for artificial nesting hollows be reconsidered by the DEC in light of recent research findings referred to in the Appeals Convenor’s report;
d. artificial and relocated hollows be the subject of annual inspection and (where necessary) maintenance for the duration of the permit; and
e. artificial and relocated hollows to be installed at locations to reduce the likelihood of nest robbing and vandalism.
In relation to ongoing water abstraction relating to dust suppression, this is not a matter that is best considered through the conditions of a clearing permit. Rather, water abstraction is more appropriately a matter for the Department of Water under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914. In this regard, I have written to the Department and requested that in considering water abstraction applications for the area, it has regard to recent advice of the EPA in respect to the values of Lake Clifton. In respect to dust control, I am satisfied this can be covered the clearing permit.
Thanks to everyone to came to the public meeting, and those who helped to put the appeal application to the Appeal Convenors office together, Nancy Fardin, Jenny Rose, Chris Kotz and Tracey Timmins.