IRRIGATION SCHEME — RECORD BROOK
606. Hon DIANE EVERS to the Minister for Environment:
I refer to the southern forests
irrigation scheme and the clearing currently occurring at Record Brook.
approvals and/or permits have been provided for test drilling in this area, and
will the minister please table a copy; and, if not, why not?
(2) With regard
to clearing permit CPS 8345/1 —
(a) what actions are expected to be taken by the
proponent to comply with condition 8 regarding dieback;
(b) is the
minister aware of whether a fauna specialist was engaged as per condition 10;
and, if yes, what was the outcome;
(c) if a fauna
specialist is not engaged as required, what is the penalty; and
(d) how is the
site being monitored to ensure compliance with all conditions of the permits?
(3) Given the
Environmental Protection Authority has not yet completed its assessment of the
project, will the minister request the suspension of action until it has been
completed; and, if not, why not?
STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
The honourable member has asked
questions of a number of portfolios and a number of ministers within this
question. I will provide an answer today, but I may not do that in the future—the
member will have to ask the appropriate ministers the appropriate questions.
(1) On 22 August 2019, clearing permit CPS 8345/1 was
issued by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to
Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative Ltd under part V of the Environmental
Protection Act 1986. The permit authorised the clearing of up to three hectares
of native vegetation for the purpose of geotechnical investigations, including
clearing for access tracks, test pits and drill pads.
The Department of Biodiversity,
Conservation and Attractions has granted licence 2994/97A under section 97A of
the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 for the licensed activity of
geotechnical assessments for investigative works associated with the proposed
southern forests irrigation scheme. The licensed activity does not include
geotechnical assessments for the purpose of tendering or construction of the
southern forests irrigation scheme.
I table a copy of clearing permit CPS
8345/1 and the CALM act licence 2994/97A.
[See paper 3959.]
(2) (a) Condition 8 of the clearing permit requires the
permit holder to ensure that all earthmoving machinery is free of soil and
vegetation prior to entering and leaving the area subject to clearing. This
condition ensures that no
dieback-affected soil or other material is brought into the area. It is a responsibility
of the permit holder to take necessary actions to ensure that this condition is
(b) Condition 10
of the clearing permit requires a permit holder to report to the Department of
Water and Environmental Regulation if western ringtail possum, numbat or quokka
individuals are identified through a site inspection by a fauna specialist
prior to clearing. The permit holder has advised that a fauna specialist was
engaged to check for the presence of these species and confirmed that none were
present in the area.
of a clearing permit condition is an offence under section 51J of the
Environmental Protection Act. The maximum penalty for a body corporate is $125 000,
and a daily penalty of $25 000 applies.
(d) I am advised that DWER inspected the site on 9
June 2020. Further monitoring of compliance will be conducted either onsite or
using satellite imaging. In addition, the permit holder is required to provide
a written report to the CEO on or before 30 June of the records that are
required to be kept under the permit. This report will contribute to the
department's monitoring of compliance.
(3) I am advised that the geotechnical investigation
work for the proposed Record Brook reservoir is to inform the design and
planning of the proposal. It does not involve the implementation of the
proposal. It is not uncommon for investigative works to be undertaken during
the Environmental Protection Authority's assessment process. I understand
that the proponent has obtained the necessary approvals to implement the test