LINKS TO FULL REPORT:
1. Preliminary Documentation: Report (13.8mb)
2. Preliminary Documentation: Appendices A-M (87.9mb)
3. Preliminary Documentation: Appendices N-Z (25.2mb)
This Preliminary Documentation has been prepared on behalf of the proponent, Ausbuild Development Corp Pty Ltd (Ausbuild) in direct response to additional information requested by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) (formerly the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE)) as part of the ‘controlled action’ assessment by ‘preliminary documentation’ determination for Warner South Residential Development made on 12 May 2022 (EPBC Referral No. 2021/9130).
The controlled action decision is based on DAWE’s assessment of the project as potentially resulting in a
Significant Impact on the following Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES):
- Listed Threatened Species & Communities (Sections 18 & 18A) more specifically defined in the request for further information on the:
- Phascolarctos cinereus (koala) combined populations of QLD, NSW and the ACT
- Pteropus poliocephalus (grey-headed flying fox).
Information provided within this report includes:
- A summary of the proposed development and a description of the assessment process.
- A description of the action including timeframes and staging.
- A description of MNES which may be affected by the proposal.
- Comments on ‘critical habitat’ for the koala and grey-headed flying-fox and the quantification of impacts on the habitat of these species.
- A discussion of empirical research about the impacts of development on MNES which may be affected by the proposal.
- Procedures to be implemented prior and during vegetation clearing and construction.
- Measures to avoid, minimise and mitigate potential impacts on MNES.
- Consideration of social and economic matters.
- Details of the proposed environmental offset for listed significant impacts.
- A number of preliminary mitigation and management measures for protection of MNES.
Phascolarctos cinereus (koala)
The koala is listed as an ‘endangered’ species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). A significant proportion of Queensland’s native vegetation, especially in South East Queensland, is identified under the National Recovery Plan for the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory) (DAWE 2022b) as critical habitat for koala due to the prevalence of recognised Koala food tree species across most landscapes.
The Warner South Development referral area predominantly maintains disturbed open paddock with an open woodland matrix, and advanced regrowth open forest along Conflagration Creek, comprising native vegetation that includes species that are identified as koala food and shelter trees. This is a primary consideration for the DCCEEW determination.
Koala has regularly been recorded, both directly and indirectly on the Site of the ‘Proposed Action’.
The proposed action will result in the removal and functional loss of ‘critical habitat’ for Koala that has the potential to have a ‘significant impact’ on the species based on utilisation of the Site by Koalas and knowledge of their broader population dynamics.
Pteropus poliocephalus (grey-headed flying-fox)
The grey-headed flying-fox is listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species under the EPBC Act. It is considered highly mobile and able to utilise a wide range of floral food resources, including flowering eucalypts predominantly in the winter, across relatively expansive foraging areas. For this reason, it periodically displays overlap with Koala habitat in South East Queensland when foraging for eucalypt nectar, with suitable foraging habitat widespread in the greater Warner, Cashmere and Clear Mountain locality (west of the Site – see Figure 1).
The referral guidelines for grey-headed flying-fox focus on the assessment of potential impacts on roosting camps, with relatively minor provisions for the consideration of foraging habitat. The species has been recorded on-site with a longitudinal representation from 2014 to present. Most recently, grey-headed flying-fox was recoded utilising mature flowering Eucalyptus tereticornis (Queensland blue gum) along the central waterway of the Site during June 2022. The availability of eucalypts provides suitable foraging habitat for the species during flowering events and the presence of known winter flowering species affords foraging habitat during known foraging resource bottleneck periods (i.e. winter). No roosting camps were recorded on the Site, nor were any historic records of past encampment detected.
Given the widespread distribution of the species across SEQ, the availability of habitat throughout the Warner / Cashmere / Clear Mountain area, and temporal dynamic of the overlap with Koala habitat, potential impacts on the latter matter by default are presumed to be considered by DCCEEW to significantly impact on the grey-headed flying-fox.
The Warner South Residential Development Site covers a total land area of 27.67 ha, all of which is considered to support vegetation defined by DCCEEW as ‘critical habitat’ for the koala and foraging habitat for the grey-headed flying-fox. The proposal area will result in the clearing and functional loss of 20.39 ha of habitat critical to koala and 16.25ha of habitat critical to the grey-headed flying-fox.
Measures to mitigate the effects of the development include functional rehabilitation of riparian open forest habitat (7.28 ha) along the floodplain of Conflagration Creek by Ausbuild to predisturbance condition (to be protected for conservation purposes; zoned Environmental Management and Conservation precinct upon plan sealing; and dedicated to MBRC for inclusion as part of the MBRC greenspace conservation network), and installation of a number of specific koala management measures including koala exclusion / guidance.
Environmental offsets for clearing and functional loss of up to 20.39 ha of critical habitat for the survival of the koala and 16.25 ha of potential foraging habitat for the grey-headed flyingfox will be resolved by providing an environmental offset on land external to the Site purchased by Ausbuild for use as an offset. Ausbuild will enter into an agreement with a third party offset provider to deliver and manage the offset for a 20-year period.
The offset Site is situated within 52 kilometres (km) of the proposed action, within the MBRC Local Government Area (LGA). It is located 5 km to the west of Woodford and lies adjacent to and south of Bellthorpe National Park.
Environmental offsets have been calculated and will be delivered in accordance with the EPBC Act Environmental Offset Policy.
Management Plans & Mitigation Measures
Numerous management and mitigation measures and controls will be adopted as part of mandatory requirements conditioned by Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) and best practice management adopted by Ausbuild. This document includes a number of preliminary management measures relating specifically to koala and grey-headed flying-fox.
The management measures remain preliminary to provide the DAWE with some certainty that potential impacts can be mitigated and managed. Vegetation, Fauna, Stormwater, Erosion and Sediment Control issues will all be managed through a mandatory need to deliver management plans to MBRC for assessment.
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