Approved NSW and National Recovery Plan for the Grevillea beadleana

Threatened Species Unit, North East Branch
New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation, 2004
ISBN: 174122 135 8

6. Relevant Legislation

6.1 Recovery Plan preparation and implementation

Recovery Plan preparation

The TSC Act requires that the Director-General of NSW Department of Environment and Conservation prepare Recovery Plans for all species, populations and ecological communities listed as Endangered or Vulnerable on the TSC Act schedules. Similarly, the EPBC Act requires the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment ensure the preparation of a Recovery Plan for Nationally listed species and communities or adopt plans prepared by others including those developed by state agencies. Both Acts include specific requirements for the matters to be addressed by Recovery Plans and the process for preparing Recovery Plans.

This Recovery Plan has been prepared to satisfy the requirements of the TSC Act, Threatened Species Conservation Amendment Act 2002 and the EPBC Act. It is the intention of the Director-General of DEC to forward the final version of this Recovery Plan to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for adoption, once it has been approved by the NSW Minister for the Environment.

Local Aboriginal Land Councils, Elders and other groups representing indigenous people in the areas where the Grevillea beadleana occurs have not yet been identified. It is the intention of DEC to consider the role and interests of these indigenous communities in the implementation of the actions identified in this plan.

The Threatened Species Conservation Amendment Act 2002 states that an approved Recovery Plan must include a summary of advice given by the Scientific Committee with respect to the plan, details of any amendments made to the plan to take account of that advice and a statement of the reasons for any departure from that advice. This summary is provided in Appendix 2.

Recovery Plan implementation

The TSC Act requires that a government agency must not undertake actions inconsistent with a Recovery Plan. The government agency responsible for actions in this plan is DEC. Where G. beadleana occurs on private property (eg. Enmore) and on permissive occupancy or leasehold lands (eg. Binghi), the implementation of the recovery plan will largely depend on co-operative management of the species between the title holder and DEC.

In some cases, where further approvals may be needed under the Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 (NVC Act) or the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), other public authorities may be involved as part of their core legislative responsibilities. Public authorities, other than DEC, with core legislative responsibilities relevant to the protection of Grevillea beadleana and its habitat are listed in Table 6.

The EPBC Act specifies that a Commonwealth agency must not take any action that contravenes a Recovery Plan.

6.2 State legislation

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 andThreatened Species Conservation Act 1995

The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) is administered by DEC. Under this Act it is an offence to harm, pick or knowingly damage the habitat of Grevillea beadleana. Certain circumstances may provide a defence from prosecution, including where actions are approved under the EP&A Act or licensed by DEC under the NPW Act or TSC Act.

The NPW Act allows for the reservation of areas as national parks, nature reserves and other categories of protected area under the management of DEC.

Owners of private properties with significant habitat values for Grevillea beadleana may enter into Voluntary Conservation Agreements (VCAs) under the NPW Act whereby DEC can provide assistance in the protection and management of these values on the property. Properties under VCAs may qualify for rate exemptions.

The TSC Act makes provision for identification and declaration of Critical Habitat for species, populations and ecological communities listed as Endangered. Once declared, it becomes an offence to damage Critical Habitat and a Species Impact Statement is mandatory for all developments and activities proposed within Critical Habitat. Nomination of Critical Habitat for G. beadleana will only be considered as a management option where other, more co-operative, approaches are unavailable.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

When considering any development or activity within known or potential habitat of Grevillea beadleana, local councils and determining authorities are encouraged to consider the conservation strategy set out in this plan.

Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997

The purpose of the NVC Act is the conservation and sustainable management of native vegetation and in particular the protection of native vegetation of high conservation significance. Under this Act, approval from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR) is a prerequisite for vegetation clearance unless a Vegetation Management Plan has been approved or unless the clearance is exempt from the requirements of the Act. There remains potential for significant and cumulative clearing to occur under these exemptions. The Act requires that the Director-General of NSW Department of Environment and Conservation be consulted in the matter of threatened species and their habitat. Landholders may enter into Property Agreements with DIPNR whereby government assistance can be provided to protect native vegetation under the Native Vegetation Incentive Fund. No Regional Vegetation Management Plan or Property Agreements relating to the habitat Grevillea beadleana have yet been prepared.

Rural Fires Act 1997

Bush Fire Management Committees must prepare draft Bush Fire Risk Management Plans for their respective rural fire districts and are obliged to consider threatened species conservation. These plans may restrict or prohibit the use of fire and other fire hazard reduction activities in all or specified circumstances or places to which the plan applies. In particular, an adopted Bush Fire Risk Management Plan may modify or prohibit hazard reduction activities in threatened species habitat.

Rural Fires and Environmental Assessment Legislation Amendment Act 2002

The NSW Rural Fires and Environmental Assessment Legislation Amendment Act 2002 amends the Rural Fires Act 1997 and several environmental assessment-related Acts. This Act provides for mapping bush fire prone lands and the development of a Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code. This code is aimed at streamlining the assessment process for hazard reduction works. To this end, the Code will include general ameliorative prescriptions and, in some cases, species specific prescriptions. Threatened species and their habitats are one of the items considered in the code.

Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998

The Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998 puts into effect the outcomes of the Governments Regional Forest Agreement. The agreement outlines licence conditions for threatened species within State Forests of NSW estate. These include a specific licence condition that a standard 20 m exclusion zone is to be applied around 90% of all Grevillea beadleana plants. It is recommended that these conditions also be included in Regional Vegetation Management Plans being prepared by DIPNR under the NVC Act.

6.3 Commonwealth legislation

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The EPBC Act provides a legislative framework for the protection of Endangered and Vulnerable species across Australia. An important role of the EPBC Act is to facilitate the preparation and implementation of Recovery Plans for species listed under the Act in co with the States in which populations of listed species occur. The Act also seeks to impose the obligation (arising from the listing) for responsible agencies (particularly Commonwealth) to adopt protective measures. This Recovery Plan will be submitted to the Commonwealth for approval under the EPBC Act.

Under the EPBC Act, Critical Habitat may be registered for any Nationally listed threatened species or ecological community. When adopting a Recovery Plan the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment must consider whether to list habitat identified in the Recovery Plan as being critical to the survival of the species or ecological community. It is an offence under the EPBC Act for a person to knowingly take an action that will significantly damage Critical Habitat (unless the EPBC Act specifically exempts the action). This offence only applies to Commonwealth areas. However, an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a listed species is still subject to referral and approval under the EPBC Act.

As Grevillea beadleana is listed Nationally under the EPBC Act, any person proposing to undertake actions likely to have a significant impact on this species should refer the action to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for consideration. The Minister will then decide whether the action requires EPBC Act approval. This is in addition to any State or Local Government approval requirement specified for the NSW EP&A Act.

Administrative guidelines are available from Environment Australia to assist proponents in determining whether their action is likely to have a significant impact. In cases where the action does not require EPBC Act approval, but will result in the death or injury of a member of the species and the member is in, or on, a Commonwealth area, a permit issued by the Commonwealth Minister under the EPBC Act will be required.