On 28 June 2019, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was amended, including changes to 34 threatened species and 3 threatened ecological communities (TEC). The EPBC Act is the Commonwealth’s main piece of environmental protection legislation and protects matters of national environmental significance (MNES). Under the EPBC Act, any project or action (e.g. native vegetation clearing) that will have or is likely to have a significant impact on a MNES must be referred to the Department of the Environment and Energy. It is therefore important to understand how these changes may affect you as a developer or a land manager.
Of particular interest to many developers and land managers in NSW and Qld is the new listing of Poplar Box Grassy Woodland on Alluvial Plains, now listed as an Endangered TEC. The new federal listing focuses legal protection on patches of Poplar Box Grassy Woodland that are in the most functional natural state and in relatively good condition.
Poplar Box Grassy Woodland typically occurs west of the Great Dividing Range, between north of Cowra in NSW and south of Charters Towers in Qld. Despite its wide distribution, it has been in decline and become severely fragmented with only 24% of its pre-European extent remaining. This is mostly attributable to historical land clearance, agriculture and pastoral activities, and more recently mining and peri-urban development. Consequently, fewer and more isolated patches are now spaced further apart across the landscape.
If you currently have a project in the planning phase or for any future projects whereby Poplar Box Grassy Woodland is impacted, the CO2 Australia Team can support you with advice regarding these changes.
Alternatively, if you are a land manager who wants to retain good quality woodland, such as Poplar Box Grassy Woodland, or if you intend to restore any woodland on your property, CO2 Australia can advise on opportunities for environmental funding programmes available in Qld, as well as provide assistance with setting up a biodiversity stewardship site in NSW under the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.
For more information about recent amendments to the EPBC Act, click here.