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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 13988

Native Fauna and Flora

Dear Dr Jensen

Thank you for your letter of 19 October 201 5 (reference 1095/1591 ) on behalf of the Standing Committee on Petitions, regarding the proposed commercial development at 4499-4651 Mount Lindesay Highway, North Maclean, Queensland.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) sets out a rigorous and comprehensive approach for the assessment of projects that may impact on threatened plants and animals. The assessment process under the EPBC Act includes the preparation of assessment information , the public exhibition of this information, and the rigorous assessment of this information before a decision is made under the EPBC Act.

The project that is the subject of the petition you have received is currently undergoing environmental impact assessment under the EPBC Act. Community consultation on this project has occurred twice as part of the EPBC Act assessment process.

The first public consultation was carried out between 22 July 2013 and 6 August 2013, and no public comments were received.

More recently , the draft assessment information for this project was exhibited for public consultation between 23 February 201 5 and 9 March 2015. Fifty one (51) submissions were received on the draft assessment information. Since the formal public consultation, I have received a number of other comments and additional information from members of the public.

All of this information will be subject to rigorous evaluation, and will be taken into consideration when considering this proposal under the EPBC Act.

The role of the Australian Government is in relation to nationally protected matters, which in the case of this proposed commercial development, includes threatened plants and animals. It is important to note that matters relating to land use zoning and impacts on noise, water, air and light are primarily the responsibility of state and local governments .

I take my responsibilities under the EPBC Act very seriously. The timeframe for a decision on this project has been extended to 8 December 2015. This is to ensure that all information is thoroughly considered and that all potential impacts on nationally protected matters are adequately addressed.

Thank you for writing on this matter.

from the Minister for the Environment, Mr Hunt