Environmental offsets (was Re: [canberrabirds] preservation of birds and

To: <>
Subject: Environmental offsets (was Re: [canberrabirds] preservation of birds and the sale of Block 9, Section 64 North Watson)
From: "Lia Battisson" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:05:02 +1100
It is, to my mind, now impossible to ‘offset’ Box Gum Grassy Woodlands.  Given that there is so little left, every square metre must be saved.  Therefore,  every destruction of so much as a square metre is a loss which is irretrievable.
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 4:31 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Environmental offsets (was Re: [canberrabirds] preservation of birds and the sale of Block 9, Section 64 North Watson)
Background Briefing 16 March 2014: The trouble with offsets
I'll say it's a furphy. To me it is akin to some guy going into that art gallery and pointing at the Mona Lisa on the wall and saying sorry mate we need that bit ... so the Mona Lisa has to go. But we will paint you another one.
We run the risk of trading something irreplaceable for the short term development gains with the mirage of having a good conservation outcome in the future through the activities of the offset.


On 26/03/2014 6:52 AM, Martin Butterfield wrote:
In response to my previous message I have been advised by a member of the line that there is now a definite policy statement, dated October 2012 (so in the reign of "St" Julia) 13 years after the passage of the EPBC Act.  The policy statement is in this webpage: the MS Word format paper (1/4 the download size of the PDF version) is 32 pages so reading it will keep me out of mischief for a while.

On 26 March 2014 06:02, Martin Butterfield <> wrote:
Some years ago - possibly in the (first) reign of "St." Kevin - I tried to find out about the "rules" for environmental offsets under Commonwealth legislation.  I can't remember the full gory details, but all that existed was the ACT and a set of draft guidelines for determining what constituted an offset.  These dated from several years back, not long after the EPBC Act was first passed in 1999 (in the reign of Little John).
It appeared that finalising these guidelines was never given resources, which was seen as politically helpful since it provided greater flexibility than would be the case if the guidelines were finalised (or even - shock! horror! - established through Regulations).  So basically an offset is what the developer's PR people reckon looks good.
I cannot imagine that Commonwealth Minister Hunt will be keen to provide more red tape to bind the Captains of Industry nor that ACT Minister Corbell would be willing to block activities which would provide jobs to members of the CFMEU.  (The Greens will doubtless be workshopping the matter, and PUP will is already salivating.)
If someone on this list is able to point me to a definitive final statement of what constitutes an offset I will be delighted to read it.

On 26 March 2014 00:13, Denis Wilson <> wrote:
Sounds like transferring a public assett for private purposes to me, Megan.
Where I come from that called stealing.

If the developer needs to find an offset, it has to be 'like for like".
Even if the class of habitat is similar, if it is land which the community has worked to preserve, surely that cannot be "appropriated" by a Land Developer?

Denis Wilson
Denis Wilson

Are you amongst Greg Hunt's "increasingly hysterical environmental activists"?
If not, why not?
The Great Barrier Reef decision of 31 January 2014 is a travesty.

"The Nature of Robertson"

On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 2:42 PM, Margaret Leggoe <> wrote:

Thank you Megan.  You have my support.

Margaret Leggoe


From: Megan Mears [
Sent: Tuesday, 25 March 2014 2:24 PM
To: COG Chatline
Subject: [canberrabirds] preservation of birds and the sale of Block 9, Section 64 North Watson


Hi all,


I'm wondering if anyone heard Dr Phil Gibbons from ANU on ABC Background Briefing recently? He spoke about the biodiversity loss relating to Box Gum Grassy Woodlands at the site Block 9, Section 64 North Watson. He was saying that using Justice Robert Hope (JRH) Park as an offset is simply wrong. JRH  Park only exists because of the hard work of local volunteers to restore the Box Gum Woodland and this is not the work of the developer. The transcript can be found here:


I am writing because that Woodland is significant in terms of preservation of birds and biodiversity. The old growth is irreplaceable and some birds I have seen in North Watson, are only to be found in that Woodland. Daniel McGrath, the real estate agent involved in the sale assured me that contracts were being exchanged today yet I believe the process is flawed. I have put a copy of the letter I sent to politicians here:



If you  have any information you feel will add to my understanding please contact me. If you wish to visit or photograph this unique area I urge you to do so quickly as I am sure a fence will be erected soon and this Woodland lost. The area is between JRH Park and Caravan Park.


Megan Mears



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