The WA Greens, along with a handful of other appellants, have won a landmark appeal which will force the EPA to assess a Wheatlbelt landfill proposal that threatens WA’s iconic species, the numbat.
"Our successful appeal means the EPA cannot pass the buck on this project and will now have to closely examine the well-documented concern that landfill sites such as this create habitat for scavenger and feral predator species, including cats, foxes, Australian ravens and rats which can devastate vulnerable native fauna populations," WA Greens Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC said.
"This is a fabulous outcome for WA's mammalian emblem, the numbat - full marks to the dedicated volunteers from the Numbat Task Force who first brought attention to the danger this tip posed to the numbats of Dryandra Woodland, in the Shire of Cuballing.
"I also credit Environment Minister Albert Jacobs for a sensible decision that recognised the detailed evidence that we six appellants provided.
"It is a small but very important decision in favour of protecting WA's precious and diverse fauna.
"Seven Wheatbelt Shires, who call themselves the Wagin Voluntary Group of Councils, and sometimes the Great Southern Regional Waste Group, propose to build a putrescible land fill site, with a 60-year-life, just six kilometres from the edge of the Dryandra Woodland Reserve, which is home to one of only two remaining numbat populations in Australia, along with other threatened species including woylies.
"Such waste facilities are recognised in WA’s landfill guidelines as creating habitat for feral predators, especially feral cats, which studies have shown can easily travel over 20 kilometres or more.
"The existing feral cat population in the Wheatbelt is already having a serious impact and are considered by the Department of Parks and Wildlife as being responsible for reducing the Dryandra numbat population from 800 individuals in 1992 to just 50 numbats today - the proposed waste tip could spell the numbats' end.
"I look forward to a proper assessment of this proposal by the EPA, and given the fact that numbats, woylies and other species known to exist in the vicinity of the tip site are listed protected species under Federal legislation, I expect the Federal Department of Environment to also properly assess whether this proposal constitutes a controlled action under the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act."
Photo credit: Numbat Task Force