Conservation Agreement relating to development proposals affecting Carnaby's Cockatoo habitat

Question On Notice No. 1397 asked in the Legislative Council on 10 November 2009 by Hon Lynn Maclaren

Question Directed to the:
Minister for Environment
Minister responding:
Hon D.E.M. Faragher
38 Session: 1


(1) Can the Minister outline the approach that the Government is taking in the negotiations with the Commonwealth for a Conservation Agreement relating to development proposals affecting Carnaby's Cockatoo habitat?
(2) Can the Minister clarify the timeline for these negotiations and the development of the Conservation Agreement and subsequent Strategic Impact Assessment, if these are agreed to?

(3) Will there be any opportunity for expert, stakeholder or public comment on the proposed Conservation Agreement before it is finalised?

(4) If yes, at what stage of the proceedings will this happen and how will it be advertised?

(5) What is the progress on the 2004 proposed MRS amendment to establish Special Control Area over Bush Forever sites and reserve a number of BF sites for Parks & Recreation?

The draft East Wanneroo Structure Plan that is currently out for public comment proposes the re-zoning of some Carnaby's habitat from rural to urban. Comparing the current zoning on p20 to the proposed Structure Plan map on p 26, and compare each against the map of estimated Carnaby's Black Cockatoo Habitat in the City of Wanneroo, the habitat under threat is clearly visible, mostly just south of the lake at Jandabup.

The plan points out that ‘any clearing over 1 hectare of Carnaby's habitat is likely to require referral to DEWHA’ and ‘Preservation of habitat areas will be a key requirement for areas subject to urban development and relevant approvals will need to be gained from the Federal Department for Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Clearing of habitat areas may require offsets to be provided for, in consultation with DEWHA’.

(6) Is the Minister aware that the East Wanneroo Draft Structure Plan (currently open for public comment until 16 December) proposes to re-zone some areas of likely Carnaby's Cockatoo habitat from rural to urban?

(7) Does the Minister think it is appropriate to create more uncertainty for landowners and developers by zoning land containing habitat for a Matter of National Environmental Significance as urban, in the knowledge that any development proposal taking place on that land will need to be referred to the EPBC Act for assessment?

(8) How is it appropriate to consider making changes to the current zoning of known Carnaby's habitat, prior to the finalisation of any negotiations with the Commonwealth around a Conservation Agreement and/or a Strategic Impact Assessment?

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Answered on 27 November 2009

(1-2)The State Government is continuing discussions with the Australian Government on approaches to matters of national environmental significance on the Swan Coastal Plain (including Carnaby's Black Cockatoo) under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Both Governments agree that an approach that emphasises strategic conservation and planning outcomes and avoids assessment on case-by-case basis is preferred. The Australian Government has proposed an interim conservation agreement under Part 14 and a subsequent strategic assessment under Part 10 of the EPBC Act. Negotiations commenced in June 2009 and are continuing.

(3) State environment and planning agencies have been providing advice to the State Government. It is expected that any final draft agreement will be provided to key stakeholders as part of consultation.

(4) Consultation would occur when agreement in principle has been reached on the terms of a draft agreement. The terms of the consultation will be determined at that time.

(5) This question should be referred to the Minister for Planning.

(6-8) It is necessary that orderly planning continues until any agreement with the Australian Government is reached. I am satisfied that the planning and environmental approvals processes are capable of protecting significant Carnaby's Black Cockatoo habitat and other environmental values. The draft structure plan is a framework for future amendments to the Metropolitan Region Scheme and does not itself rezone land to urban.  Any amendments to planning schemes require referral to the Environmental Protection Authority under section 48A of the Environmental Protection Act 1986. In receiving a planning scheme amendment, the Authority considers the significance of the environmental impacts in making a decision on whether or not an environmental review is required. The implementation decision may require that certain conditions be met to protect important environmental values.

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