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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26254

Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 30 June 2004:

With reference to the proposed expansion of the Port Botany Container terminal:

(1) (a) What has the Government done to assess the impact of this proposal on the nearby Ramsar site at Towra Point; and (b) what is the relationship between this site and the Penrhyn Estuary area.

(2) (a) What is the potential impact of the proposal on the Botany Wetlands and their wildlife, including species listed as rare or endangered or listed on treaties concerning international migratory birds; and (b) what are those species.

(3) (a) What is the process under which the Government will assess the proposal; and (b) what is the timetable for the assessment.

Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) (a) The proposed Port Botany expansion requires Commonwealth approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The potential impacts of the proposal on the Ramsar wetland located at the Towra Point Nature Reserve on the southern shore of Botany Bay will be considered as part of the environmental impact assessment process.

(b) Penrhyn Estuary, located directly adjacent to the proposed port expansion area, provides feeding and roosting areas for migratory shorebirds listed under the EPBC Act. Many shorebird species known to occur in the Penrhyn Estuary area are also found at the Towra Point Nature Reserve.

(2) (a) The potential impacts of the proposal on the Towra Point Nature Reserve and listed migratory shorebirds are currently being assessed.

(b) Species of migratory shorebirds that are listed under the EPBC Act and are being considered in the assessment include:

Curlew Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Eastern Curlew


Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Great Knot


Grey-tailed Tattler

Bar-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

Red Knot

Red-necked Stint

Ruddy Turnstone

Terek Sandpiper


Little Tern

Grey Plover

Pied Oystercatcher

Double-banded Plover

Pacific Golden Plover

Mongolian (Lesser) Sand Plover

Large (Greater) Sand Plover

(3) (a) The New South Wales Government's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process described in the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 has been accredited for EPBC Act assessment purposes to streamline the assessment process as both EPBC Act and New South Wales State Government approvals are required. Upon completion of the NSW assessment process, the NSW Government will provide a report on its assessment of the environmental impacts of the proposal to the Commonwealth that will be taken into account in deciding whether to approve the proposal under the EPBC Act.

(b) The timetable for assessment of the Port Botany expansion proposal under the EPBC Act is dependent upon the completion of the NSW assessment process.