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5 July 2009
Conditional approval has been given by the Federal Environment Department for the Huntlee New Town urban development in the Hunter Valley, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said today.
Mr Garrett said 14 strict conditions had been placed on the project to minimise the development’s impact on protected wetlands and threatened species, including the shrub Persoonia pauciflora, swift parrot, and slaty red gum.
“Through the use of the Australian Government and NSW bilateral assessment process, we have achieved good project design outcomes with Huntlee Holdings, including a change in proposed boundaries, and imposed strict conditions on the project,” Mr Garrett said.
“These include a requirement to dedicate almost 5000 hectares of conservation lands in the Lower Hunter to the New South Wales government.
“Huntlee Holdings will also dedicate more than 800 hectares of land within the development site to the state government, including 17 hectares for research and propagation of the Persoonia pauciflora, where three persoonia plants found within the development area will be moved to.
“In addition to $1 million for remediation and rehabilitation works, and $80,000 to develop propagation techniques for Persoonia pauciflora already agreed with the state government, Huntlee Holdings must contribute $100,000 to help the recovery of the Persoonia pauciflora, and must work to raise awareness of this species within the local community.”
Mr Garrett said that the company was also required to put in place management plans for pests and weeds, bushfires, domestic pets and habitat corridors and linkages.
“Huntlee Holdings will also need to submit a stormwater management plan to my department, to minimise potential impacts on the Hunter Estuary Ramsar Wetland,” he said.
“Should water quality measurements exceed the trigger levels set under the plan, works must stop immediately and the incident be reported to the department.
“This project is another example of how national environmental laws deliver positive environmental outcomes in a timely manner while also supporting employment and economic outcomes.”
The federal approval decision relates to matters protected under national environmental law, and not state-related matters.