09/01/2017 - 13:52

Roe 8 opponents lose Federal Court bid

09/01/2017 - 13:52

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The environmental group trying to stop work on the state government’s Roe 8 project has been refused an interim injunction on construction by the Federal Court, but has vowed to keep fighting.

The environmental group trying to stop work on the state government’s Roe 8 project has been refused an interim injunction on construction by the Federal Court, but has vowed to keep fighting.

The Save Beeliar Wetlands group argued that work should be stopped during its ongoing legal battle about whether a suitable alternative habitat had been provided for the endangered black cockatoo.

But Federal Court Justice Antony Siopis said it wasn’t a good enough reason to grant the injunction.

The environmental group also argued today that the offset land purchased by the state government to protect food and nesting areas for the black cockatoos was severely inadequate.

The lots, which were purchased by Main Roads WA in early 2016, include three adjoining blocks near Lake Clifton, which are bordered by the Yalgorup National Park.

Some of the land was previously owned by Ralph Sarich’s Cape Bouvard Investments, which had hoped to use it for residential developments; that plan was knocked back by the Environmental Protection Authority in 2000.

Cape Bouvard also attempted to subdivide the Lake Clifton lots between 2009 and 2011, but that was also rejected by the EPA.

In 2012, CBI had made an application to establish a wind farm on the Lake Clifton lots, but that was withdrawn after the proponent received numerous concerns from the community that the turbines would destroy the lifestyle of residents living close to the site, and claims that it would decrease property values.

It was then that Cape Bouvard put the lots up for sale.

“The land near Lake Clifton is so degraded that it does not even get close to the amount of Carnaby’s Cockatoo habitat required to offset the clearing in the Beeliar Wetlands,” Save Beeliar Wetlands convenor Kate Kelly said.

“In fact, we believe there is less than a tenth of the type of habitat that is supposed to have been protected according to the federal minister’s condition.”

But Environment Minister Albert Jacob defended the quality of the offset land.

“The state government is providing 624 hectares of land containing black cockatoo habitat, equal to one-and-a-half times the size of Kings Park, at two sites south of Mandurah,” Mr Jacob said.

“Main Roads is required to fund the management of the property to maintain the quality of the habitat for at least 20 years.”

The state government was required to purchase at least 523ha of black cockatoo habitat to offset the loss of 78ha of the total 97.8ha that will be cleared for Roe 8.

According to the Department of Environment Regulation, around $45 million has been spent accommodating the environmental sensitivities of Roe 8, however a breakdown of how much of those funds were spent on land purchases was not disclosed.

“The state government is confident that the condition has been satisfied and will continue to vigorously defend the case in the Federal Court and oppose any permanent injunction,” Mr Jacob said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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