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

To: "'Geoffrey Dabb'" <>, <>
Subject: Environmental offsets (was Re: [canberrabirds] preservation of birds and the sale of Block 9, Section 64 North Watson)
From: "Mark Clayton" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:14:18 +1100

I have said for a long time that COG was being “had” by the ACT Government with all this off-set nonsense. As Lia has said we can’t give anything as an off-set if there is nothing to give, we need to save what we now have. Heaven help us when the Liberal Party next gets in to office after the comments by their environment spokesperson on “feral” Koels. I have seen reports by Alistair Coe that we have too much bush around Canberra!! Go figure .....




From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: Wednesday, 26 March 2014 5:07 PM
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Environmental offsets (was Re: [canberrabirds] preservation of birds and the sale of Block 9, Section 64 North Watson)


I would add that conditions about tree retention are worthless.  For a development near here it was a specific condition that 11 mature yellowbox trees be retained.  The buildings were constructed hard up against the trees.  Official permission was later given for severe lopping of the trees on the ground they were a danger to the occupants.  Then permission was given for total removal on the ground the trees were unbalanced and sickly.  


From: Martin Butterfield
Sent: Wednesday, 26 March 2014 4:56 PM
To: David McDonald (personal)
Cc: COG List
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Environmental offsets (was Re: [canberrabirds] preservation of birds and the sale of Block 9, Section 64 North Watson)


I don't like the analogy.  


The Mona Lisa is unique and can't be reproduced (so perhaps is OK as an analogy for offsetting a fossil bed which can't be replaced).  With something like a patch of grassy box woodland its more like a Damien Hirst work, where with enough money and care (and waiting a while) the same (living) artist can produce an effectively identical replica.


The real problem comes when instead of getting Damien Hirst to reproduce the work in question (for a few million bucks) someone just ducks down to the fish market and comes back with a $10 Flathead.  And the 'decision maker' signs off on the deal.  IMHO that is a better analogy for what seems to have arisen in the case quoted on Background Briefing where an area of stringybark has been offered up as an offset to some high quality white box country.  


The real problem is not that the developers have tried to pull a swifty - that's just business as usual - but that the Minister has agreed to it.  Being extremely optimistic he will get punished for this in the next election.


On 26 March 2014 16:31, David McDonald (personal) <m("","david");" target="_blank">> wrote:

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.




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