National recovery plan for Zieria formosa, Zieria buxijugum and Zieria parrisiae

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2002).
ISBN 0 7313 64961

1. Introduction

Zieria formosa J. Briggs & J. Armstrong ms., Z. buxijugum J. Briggs & J. Armstrong ms. and Z. parrisiae J. Briggs & J. Armstrong ms. are all only known from single populations, consisting of 38, 32 and 36 adult plants, respectively. These species occur on three separate rhyolite rock outcrops. Zieria formosa occurs on three private properties located about six kilometres west of Pambula. The other two species occur on a private property about 10 km west of Pambula in the Far South Coast region of NSW.

This document constitutes the formal State and National Recovery Plan for these species and as such considers the requirements of the species across their known range. It identifies the actions to be taken to ensure their long-term viability in nature and the parties who will carry these out.

The attainment of the objectives of this Recovery Plan is subject to budgetary and other constraints affecting the parties involved. It may also be necessary to amend this Plan in their event of new information or following recommended changes to the Recovery Program by the Recovery Team in consultation with the private landowners. The information in this Plan is accurate to March 2002.

This Plan has been prepared by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in consultation with a small Recovery Team and the private landowners who have these species growing on their properties.

2. Legislative Context

2.1 Legal Status

Zieria formosa, Z. buxijugum and Z. parrisiae are listed on both the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) as Endangered. They are also listed as nationally Endangered by Briggs and Leigh (1996), all with a coding of 2E (Endangered and not reserved).

Among the consequences of being listed as a threatened species on the TSC Act are:

  • a Recovery Plan must be prepared;
  • consideration must be given to the species in assessing the impacts of developments and activities with the aim of minimising adverse impacts; and
  • other actions that are likely to result in the harming or picking of that species or damage its habitat are licenced.

2.2 Recovery Plan Preparation

The TSC Act provides a legislative framework to protect and encourage the recovery of threatened species, endangered populations and endangered ecological communities in NSW. Under this legislation the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife (NPW) has a responsibility to 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 that the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment ensures the preparation of a Recovery Plan for nationally listed species and communities or adopts 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 administrative process for their preparation.

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

2.3 Recovery Plan Implementation

The TSC Act requires that a public authority must take any appropriate measures available to implement actions included in a Recovery Plan for which it has agreed to be responsible. Public authorities and councils identified as responsible for the implementation of Recovery Plan actions are required by the TSC Act to report annually on measures taken to implement those actions. In addition, the Act specifies that public authorities must not make decisions that are inconsistent with the provisions of a Recovery Plan. The government agencies relevant to this Plan are Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) and NPWS. Consequently, the actions outlined for each of these agencies must be implemented as described in this Plan.

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

2.4 Relationship to Other Legislation

Zieria formosa, Z. buxijugum and Z. parrisiae occur entirely on private freehold land.

Relevant legislation includes:

  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
  • NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • NSW Local Government Act 1993
  • NSW Rural Fires Act 1997
  • NSW Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997
  • Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The interaction of these Acts with the TSC Act is varied. The most significant implications are described below and in Section 2.5.

The clearing of native vegetation in NSW is subject to consent from the Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC ) in accordance with the NSW Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 (NVC Act). The NVC Act is integrated with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), and requires that threatened species are taken into account when considering clearing applications under Part 4 of the EP&A Act. There are however, a series of exemptions, and the NVC Act does not apply to certain types of land including land zoned as 'residential', 'township', 'village', 'industrial', or 'business'. The private land supporting Z. formosa is zoned Rural Residential and the land on which Z. buxijugum and Z. parrisiae occur is zoned Rural 1a. The NVC Act thus applies to all sites of these species.

The Rural Fires Act 1997 requires that all parties involved in fire suppression and prevention must have regard to the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD ) when exercising their functions and when preparing Draft Operational Plans and Draft Bush Fire Risk Management Plans. Consideration of the principles of ESD must include the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity. Within this, consideration must be given to the impact on threatened species and their habitats.

2.5 Environmental Assessment

The New South Wales Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) requires that consent and determining authorities, and the Director-General of NPW, as a concurrence authority, consider relevant Recovery Plans when exercising a decision-making function under Parts 4 and 5 of the EP&A Act. Decision-makers must consider known and potential habitat, biological and ecological factors, and the regional significance of individual populations.

The following public authorities are currently known to have a decision making function in relation to Z. formosa, Zieria buxijugum and Z. parrisiae:

  • BVSC;
  • The DLWC in relation to private land under the requirements of the NVC Act; and
  • The NPWS where a concurrence or consultation role under the EP&A Act is required, or where a Section 91 Licence (under the TSC Act) or a Section 132 Licence (Licence to grow protected or threatened plants for the purposes of sale) is required.

Any action not requiring development consent or approval under the EP&A Act, and which is likely to have a significant impact on Z. formosa, Z. buxijugum and Z. parrisiae, requires a section 91 licence from the Director-General of NPW under the provisions of the TSC Act. Such a licence can be issued with or without conditions, or can be refused. Routine agricultural activities however, are exempt from the provisions of the TSC Act. This means, for example, that those populations of Z. formosa, Z. buxijugum and Z. parrisiae on private land can, in some circumstances, legally be subject to grazing by domestic stock under the provisions of the TSC Act.

The EPBC Act regulates actions that may result in a significant impact on nationally listed threatened species and ecological communities. It is an offence to undertake any such actions in areas under State or Territory jurisdiction, as well as on Commonwealth-owned areas, without obtaining prior approval from the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment. As these three Zieria species are listed nationally under the EPBC Act, any person proposing to undertake actions likely to have a significant impact on any of these 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.

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 these three Zieria 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.

The Environment Minister can also delegate the role of assessment and approval to other Commonwealth Ministers under a Ministerial Declaration, and to the States and Territories under bilateral agreements. The development of a bilateral agreement between NSW and the Commonwealth is not yet complete, but when in place will avoid the need for duplication of environmental assessment.

2.6 Critical Habitat

The TSC Act makes provision for the 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 (unless the TSC Act specifically exempts the action) and a Species Impact Statement is mandatory for all developments and activities proposed within Critical Habitat.

To date, Critical Habitat has not been declared for these species under the TSC 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 Federal 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 on a Commonwealth area that will significantly damage Critical Habitat (unless the EPBC Act specifically exempts the action). Although this offence only applies to a Commonwealth area, any action that is likely to have a significant impact on a listed species occurring within registered Critical Habitat on other areas is still subject to referral and approval under the EPBC Act. Proposed actions within registered Critical Habitat on non-Commonwealth areas are likely to receive additional scrutiny by the Commonwealth Minister.

This Plan does not specifically identify habitat that is critical to the survival of these species. However NPWS considers that the areas critical to the survival of these species must include as a minimum all habitat currently occupied by them. The distribution, habitat and ecological information included in this Plan (sections 3.2 - 3.6) would assist the Federal Minister for the Environment in identifying habitat that is critical to the survival of these species. NPWS does not consider it appropriate that this Recovery Plan identifies or maps the occurrences of these species in the detail that would be required to define the Critical Habitat.