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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Federal Member for Dunkley
Bruce Billson MP

17 May 2004

Further assessment required for Seaford development

The proposed residential development in Seaford will need further assessment before a decision can be made, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said today.

"The development was referred to me under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 because of its location near the Ramsar-listed Edithvale-Seaford Wetland," Dr Kemp said.

"The residential development proposal involves the construction of 24 dwellings on 13 vacant lots.

"After careful consideration of public submissions and relevant information, a decision has been made that the development is likely to have a significant impact on the values of the wetland and the migratory birds it supports.

"The wetland provide habitat for large populations of protected migratory waterbird species, such as the Latham's Snipe, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, and Black-winged Stilt.

"The proposed development has been found to be a controlled action under the EPBC Act. This means that the development must now go through a public environmental assessment process, starting with the proponents, GJL Properties and White Ash Pty Ltd, providing preliminary information."

Federal Member for Dunkley, Bruce Billson, said the assessment will be released for public comment and will be widely advertised.

"All submissions will be considered before Dr Kemp, as Minister for the Environment and Heritage, makes a decision on whether to approve the development," Mr Billson said.

"The Edithvale-Seaford Wetland comprises two wetlands — the 103-hectare Edithvale and the 158-hectare Seaford Wetland — which together comprise one of Australia's 64 Wetlands of International Importance listed under the Ramsar Convention. Ramsar-listed sites are representative, rare or unique wetlands, and are important for conserving biological diversity.

"All Ramsar sites are protected under the EPBC Act and developments that are likely to have a significant impact on the ecological character of such wetlands must be referred under the Act."

Under the EPBC Act, actions that have or are likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance are prohibited unless approval is granted by the Minister.

The Seaford project will also require approval through Victorian Government planning processes before it can go ahead.
Commonwealth of Australia