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Notice given 12 October 2006

2558  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the environmental impact assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 , specifically for threatened species and ecological communities:

(1) (a) What guidelines does the department provide on minimum survey standards for assessing the presence of threatened species or ecological communities for proponents referring proposed actions; and (b) can copies be provided.

(2) Are there protocols setting out minimum survey standards, including in relation to survey time, recommended methods or any other parameters; if so, can copies of those protocols be provided.

(3) (a) In assessing referrals where threatened species or communities may be present, what criteria does the department apply to determine the adequacy of the information supplied; and (b) what is the scientific basis for these criteria.

(4) Does the department apply detectability thresholds for threatened species and communities to inform its determination as to whether the survey effort has been adequate (i.e. the number or duration of visits required to reach a given confidence level for the survey result); if so: (a) how have these thresholds been calculated; and (b) for how many species.

(5) If no protocols or criteria are used, how would the Minister or the department know if the proponent has looked hard enough.