Client: Federal Department of the Environment and Energy
New Ground was engaged by the Department of Environment and Energy (DOEE) to assess whether any Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES), pursuant to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), would be significantly impacted by a large-scale clearing event over 15000ha of native vegetation in Northern Queensland.
The assessment was initiated by DOEE as part of its due diligence review program of clearing proposed or, undertaken, under the High Value-Agriculture Cropping approvals granted by the Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.
The objectives of the study were to:
- Identify known or likely presence of matters of MNES, in particular, the Large-eared horseshoe bat, Ghost bat, Northern quoll, Gouldian finch, and Cajanus mareebensis or their habitat, within the proposed clearing area and areas likely to have been contiguous with the recently cleared area;
- Report separately on the potential for clearing on each property to impact on EPBC Act listed threatened species; and
- Report on any limitations and assumptions associated with predictions and assessments.
The specialist technical review was undertaken at both field and desktop level and included targeted ecological surveys for the above species. The method applied to the study was formulated to qualify as evidence in the High Court of Australia.