Three ecological communities of the Sydney Basin Bioregion

Castlereagh Scribbly Gum and Agnes Banks Woodlands of the Sydney Basin Bioregion
Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion
Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion

Assessments of three ecological communities to determine if they are threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

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Invitation to comment

On behalf of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, the Australian Government Department of the Environment (the Department) is undertaking public consultation on the assessment of three ecological communities of the Sydney Basin Bioregion:

  • the Castlereagh Scribbly Gum and Agnes Banks Woodlands of the Sydney Basin Bioregion;
  • the Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion; and
  • the Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion.  

These ecological communities are being assessed as potentially threatened ecological communities under Australia's national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

It is proposed to assess the communities for listing as:

  • endangered for the Castlereagh Scribbly Gum and Agnes Banks Woodlands
  • critically endangered for the Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest
  • critically endangered for the Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest.

The department would appreciate feedback and comments on:

  • Whether the ecological communities merit listing in the proposed threatened category.
  • Whether the draft descriptions could be improved and if so, how.

A list of questions to guide comments is provided below.

The period of consultation closes on 6 August 2014.

About the nominations and assessments

Castlereagh Scribbly Gum and Agnes Banks Woodlands and Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest

A public nomination was received in 2010 to list the Hinterland Sand Flats Forest and Woodland of the Sydney Basin Bioregion as an 'Endangered' ecological community under the EPBC Act.

The nomination was placed on the 2011 Finalised Priority Assessment List (FPAL) by the Minister for the Environment. A draft description was made available for public comment from August to September 2013.

Following the Department's assessment and consideration of public and expert input the Threatened Species Scientific Committee is recommending a modified definition of the ecological community, consisting of two of the western Sydney components of the nomination (Agnes Banks Woodland and Castlereagh Scribbly Gum Woodland). A draft Description of the proposed national ecological community has been prepared.

Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest is another component of the Hinterland Sand Flats Forest and Woodland nomination. Following the Hinterland Sand Flats assessment and consultation it is proposed that the eligibility for listing of the Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest be assessed separately. A draft Description has been prepared for this purpose.

The assessments are due for completion by 30 September 2014.

Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest

This ecological community was placed on the 2012 Finalised Priority Assessment List (FPAL) by the Minister for the Environment.

Following advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee and expert technical input, an assessment for eligibility for listing has progressed in the form of a draft Description of the ecological community.

The assessment is due for completion by 30 September 2014.

Questions to guide comments

  • Do the ecological communities merit listing in the suggested categories? Please support your comments with information and data and refer to the Guidelines for Nominating and Assessing the Eligibility for Listing of Ecological Communities as Threatened according to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the EPBC Regulations 2000 (EPBC Regulations). If some of your supporting information is not published, would you be willing to be quoted as an expert ("personal communication")?
  • Are the draft descriptions for these ecological communities appropriate and are the key diagnostics suitable to identify the ecological communities in the field, including differentiating them from other similar communities in the region? If not, please indicate changes or additions that will improve the descriptions and/or key diagnostics.
  • Are the proposed condition thresholds easy to apply and appropriate for these ecological communities? If not, please indicate changes or additions that will improve the condition thresholds.
  • Please provide information about the nature and timeframe of threats operating on the ecological communities, including the severity, consequences and particular regions or locations the threats are operating. This may include estimates of decline in extent and/or integrity/condition.
  • Please provide relevant information about the flora and/or fauna that make up these ecological communities in a particular region or location.
  • Please provide any information about priority conservation actions to manage or recover the ecological communities, including activities that are currently being implemented and activities that are planned for implementation.

A Consultation Guide is also provided to assist with understanding the potential listing of these ecological communities under the EPBC Act.

Providing comments

All comments received will be forwarded to both the Threatened Species Scientific Committee and the Minister for the Environment. Information in the assessment, as well as other information received by the Department, will be used by the Committee to determine the threatened status of the ecological communities and advise the Minister for the Environment on whether or not to amend the list of threatened ecological communities under the EPBC Act. The Minister for the Environment makes the decision on whether or not to list a threatened ecological community under the EPBC Act.

The public comment period closes on 6 August 2014.

If you wish to comment, please send your comments quoting the ecological community name to:

Email: epbc.nominations@environment.gov.au
Mail:
Ecological Communities Section
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Fax: (02) 6274 2214

See also

Privacy and confidentiality in regard to comments received on the listing assessment

Information contained in any comments will be stored and used by the department in compliance with its obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

If you wish your comments to remain confidential, you should clearly mark the relevant part(s) of your comments as 'confidential'. Notwithstanding any obligations of confidentiality, the department may be required by law or parliamentary process to disclose, or allow disclosure of, any information contained in or relating to any comments (including personal and/or confidential information), including in response to a request by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth or under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).