EPA underestimates climate change impacts on proposed marina

The Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, Greens spokesperson for planning, has appealed a decision by the Environmental Protection Authority to approve the construction of a marina and associated navigation channel at Point Grey in the Harvey estuary, arguing that the Government has not properly considered the impacts of climate change on the proposal and that the proposal should be rejected.

“I’m deeply concerned that the EPA have failed to give sufficient weighting to the impacts of climate change on the proposed development, stating that it is ‘not considered to be a key environmental factor'”, said Ms MacLaren. “The EPA has also failed to consider the impact of the development on the coastline and on the surrounding habitats,” she added.

“The project’s proponents have claimed that there will be no change in the intensity and frequency of storm surges in this area as a result of climate change. This completely contradicts the findings of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre which found that events that happen every few years now, are likely to occur every few days in 2100 if mean sea-level rises by just 0.5 m.”

“The Peel-Yalgorup System is a wetland of international importance and it’s very important that any proposed development in this area is properly assessed,” Ms MacLaren continued.

In her appeal Ms MacLaren also raised concerns regarding the impact of the proposal on aquatic ecosystems, water birds and the endangered Carnaby’s Black-cockatoo.

“The EPA’s assessment of the impact of the proposed marina on aquatic ecosystems was based solely on a desktop study. This is completely unacceptable,” said Ms MacLaren.

“I’m also concerned that the EPA has not properly assessed the disturbance impact that an additional 300 recreational vessels will have on migratory bird species in the area. Twenty birds of high conservation significance have been recorded in this area – 14 of which are waterbirds,” added Ms MacLaren.

The proposal will also result in the clearing of over 7 hectares of native vegetation – including three Priority Ecological Communities. These are home to 116 vertebrate species, including 46 of conservation significance - such as the Carnaby’s Black-cockatoo.

“If the Government continues to allow the bulldozing of Carnaby’s Black-cockatoo habitat in this way it will oversee the extinction of one of WA’s most enigmatic species. This can’t be allowed to happen,” concluded Ms MacLaren.