Bird stops development

To: 'Scot Mcphee' <>, Baus Aus <>
Subject: Bird stops development
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 12:10:23 +1100
 wrote on Friday, 31 October 2008 11:48 AM:

> John McLaren wrote:
>> Gavin ,
>>  The bird in question was the Black-throated finch , and the blocks
>> of land were in a " bush block " subdivision done in Townsville ,
>>   Q'land . The subdivision appeared slightly dodgy , and the
>> developer possibly knew it was a recognised finch habitat .
>>    Cheers John ,
> Surely the subdivision had to be approved by the council or
> something though, right? And can't the QLD Government
> intervene through the land titles office? Government is as
> thick as two short planks and completely uncoordinated.

Here's an article about it:

Townsville finch estate land probe


October 21st, 2008

THE Federal Government has revealed it is investigating the developers of an 
Oak Valley estate for a potential breach of the Environmental Protection Act.

Residents have been banned from building on their land in the rural Townsville 
suburb since February when the Department of Environment ordered an assessment 
of the threat to the rare black-throated finch.

The finch is listed as an endangered species and has been given a 75ha reserve 
in Oak Valley,
home to the last stable population of the sub-species.

Brisbane-based developers Insight Group have sold eight of 16 lots, from 8ha to 
29ha, in the area since buying land in October 2005.

A department spokeswoman said Insight was being investigated for potential 
breaches of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

"Under the EPBC Act there is an onus on proponents such as developers to 
consider whether subdivisions are likely to have a significant impact on 
matters of national environmental significance," she said.

"If a significant impact is likely they must refer the action for approval.

"It will be alleged that this did not occur in this instance and the company 
has sold the subdivided land without the proper approvals in place."

The spokeswoman said the finch was first listed under the Act in 2000.

Insight CEO Peter Rosengren rejected the suggestion his company should have 
checked the protected species register before subdividing.

"It's not a search normally undertaken by anyone when they're purchasing land," 
he said.

"For the department to suggest that we ought to have told these people 
something that we didn't know ourselves is outrageous."

Two families who bought land have spoken out about the financial strife the 
situation has caused them.

Jason Dixon and Claire Spiller bought an 8ha lot late last year and fear they 
will have to file for bankruptcy if the issue is not resolved soon.

Nigel and Janelle Benton have been living in a shed they built on their land 
before the order to cease any further development.

Mr Rosengren said he understood their position but it was up to any purchasers 
to check the land they were buying.

"If they had done the search they would have found it was listed and would have 
found the consequences that flow from that," he said.

"We're caught in exactly the same position as each of these purchasers. When we 
bought the land we had no idea."

The company is unable to sell the development's remaining eight lots worth more 
than $3 million.

Mr Rosengren said he believed an outcome would be reached `in the coming 
months', allowing landowners to build with some conditions.

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