The Federal Department of Environment and Energy has given conditional approval to Transport for NSW to build its intercity fleet maintenance facility at Kangy Angy.
The proposed development had been referred to the Federal Department under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as a controlled action, due to potential impacts to the Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot which are listed as threatened species and communities.
According to the Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Mr Scot MacDonald, Transport for NSW has also put out for public exhibition an additional Species Impact Statement that is open until June 30.
Nineteen conditions were attached to the Federal Environment Department’s approval, which has relied heavily on “bio-banking” to offset any negative environmental impacts of the proposed train maintenance facility.
The Federal conditions referred the applicant to the need to adhere to conditions issued by the NSW Government in its approval of the development “as they relate to avoiding and mitigating the impacts of the action on protected matters”.
In addition to those State conditions, the Federal Department has said the applicant must prepare and implement a Groundwater Management Plan that must be submitted to it at least one month before construction commences, and construction can’t commence until that plan is approved by the Federal Minister for the Environment, Mr Josh Frydenberg.
The Groundwater Management Plan is intended “to minimise the impacts of the action on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems that support or may support Biconvex Paperbark located onsite and offsite”.
The Federal consent also places restrictions on how much land can be cleared: not more than 19.6 hectares of high quality swamp forest; and 3.6 hectares of wet open forest that is foraging habitat for the Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater within the impact area.
“To compensate for the impacts to foraging habitat for the Swift Parrot, the person taking the action must provide an offset package in accordance with the offset requirements calculated under bio-banking for the relevant plan community types,” the approval document said.
According to the Federal Government’s approval, at least 90 per cent of those offset requirements need to be direct offsets located in the Central Coast or Lake Macquarie, “and must be consistent with the on-ground actions identified in the national recovery plan for the Swift Parrot to manage and protect Swift Parrot habitat at the landscape scale.
Another offset package must also be put in place to compensate for any impacts on the foraging habitat for the Regent Honeyeater.
Again, 90 per cent of those offsets must be located in the Central Coast or Lake Macquarie area and consistent with the national recovery plan for the Regent Honeyeater.
The Biodiversity Offset Strategy will also have to be submitted to the Federal Department one month before construction commences and be approved by the Minister prior to commencement.
The strategy will need to demonstrate how the proposed offset package will meet the consent conditions.
It will have to identify and describe the proposed offset sites with maps clearly depicting Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater habitat within the offset sites.
The applicant will also need to identify how the offset sites will be legally secured in perpetuity and “identify the long term objectives for future conditions of the offset sites, management and monitoring actions and timeframes for implementation”.
Any supplementary measures will also have to be included in the strategy along with the monetary value of each component of the offset package.
As part of the Federal Environment Department’s approval, the applicant must maintain accurate records substantiating all activities associated with or relevant to the conditions of approval and such records may be subject to audit.
The applicant will also be required to publish annual reports on their website, addressing compliance with each condition of approval including documentary proof.
The approval period has a five year duration from May 5.
Website, May 24
EPBC 2016/7681, Federal Department of the Environment and Energy
Media statement, Jun 5
Kit Hale, office of