West Wimmera landowner to pay penalty after infringement

Department of the Environment

Media release
14 January 2014

A landowner in the West Wimmera region of Victoria will pay a substantial penalty and will regenerate 4000 buloke trees following a contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Between January 2007 and December 2010, Bill Bourchier Pty Ltd and its director contravened national environment law by removing approximately 343 buloke trees and 106 eucalypt trees from the property, an action likely to significantly impact the endangered south-eastern red-tail black cockatoo.

Buloke trees provide important foraging habitat for the cockatoo and eucalypt trees provide potential hollows for nesting. Approximately 42 per cent of the cockatoo’s feeding habitat has been cleared in Victoria, and 87 per cent cleared in South Australia.

Although the company and its director deny they acted in breach of the law, or that their actions are likely to result in a significant impact on the endangered south-eastern red-tail black cockatoo, they agreed to pay $70 000 as part of an out of court settlement reached with the Federal Environment Department.

Under the terms of the legally enforceable agreement, the company has agreed:

  • not to remove any further buloke trees on the property unless approved  by the appropriate authority
  • not to do anything likely to endanger buloke trees on the property unless approved
  • to regenerate 4000 buloke trees on the property within a fenced off area of not less than 20 hectares to produce and comply with the terms of a management plan within the fenced area over 10 years
  • to pay $60 000 towards the Federal Environment Department’s costs following legal action in the Federal Court
  • to pay $10 000 towards a south-eastern red-tail black cockatoo recovery project
  • to enter into an agreement with West Wimmera Shire Council preventing the removal of any further buloke trees on the property unless approved by the appropriate authority.

The agreement reflects the Australian Government's zero tolerance approach to damage to nationally listed threatened species and a firm commitment to address contraventions of national environmental law.

The Department of the Environment will ensure that the agreed remedial action occurs as soon as possible.