HI Lawrie and all,
Having actually worked at close hand with the EPBC
referral process I am VERY cynical about its value also. Yes there is a process
set down in law that can be used but ultimately the decission is entirely
political NOT scientific.
In the particular case I am thinking of we were fighting a
gas pipeline which passed through the habitat of several EPBC listed species
(and lots of FFG) (including birds - even Plains Wanderer! of which there have
been some discussions of late) including the only reserved site of one (a plant)
(which has only 1? 2? other sites in Vic, and a some in Tas) and known
breeding site of a animal (frog).
1st we got a ruling that the pipe not go through the
wetland (sp breeding site). We stood in ankle+ deep water surrounded by wetland
plants where the pipeline was to go arguing whether or not this was a wetland as
well as providing lots of documentary evidence (some from Ecol Aus!). When it
became clear we could win on this point the Fed Ministers ruling
changed to going through the wetland but before the
breeding season of the frog.
SInce that season there has not been water in that
(perched) ephemeral wetland. THe drought? We still wait to see if those actions
permanently changed its hydrology!
In addition there were envronmental controlls of the
activity laid down in an "Environmental Mgt Plan". We were picketting the site
and so got to watch (and report to no avail) these being abused! One was that
the machines were to be weed free/washed down before entering the sensative
site. Repeatly we stopped excavators arriving at the site. They
were shedding HUGE clods of dirt as they were unlaoded. At one point they took
machines we blockaded around the other end (we could not blockade there) and
snuck them in THROUGH A REFUSE TIP including a whole lot of medical
waste. ONE of these machine then went to work IN the wetland. I stopped it
after about 10min moving around UNDER the working excavation arm and we held it
up for a week or 2 but eventually enough police and security came in to remove
Yes I still use EPBC and FFB BUT neither is any
garantee of the right thing being done.
DO NOT BE PUT OFF COMMENTING ON THE FFG NOMINATIONS OR
EPBC STUFF BY MY EXPERIENCES .......I WON"T.
WE MUST FIGHT ON!!