Now that you know what issues you’e dealing with, it’s time to compare that knowledge against the legislation that covers Australian biodiversity and cultural heritage preservation during infrastructure development.
The main pieces of federal and state legislation that environmental planners work under are:
1. The Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
This is the main environmental protection legislation enacted by the Commonwealth of Australia. Have a read of this fact sheet, which summarises the purpose of the EPBC Act, and how it fits into the framework of the environmental assessment process.
2. State-enacted conservation legislation. For example, the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992, and NSW’s Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
The Narromine to Narrabri track is located in New South Wales, so we will focus on the regulatory process there.
In NSW, things are relatively easy - if you abide by the NSW BC Act, then you meet the EPBC Act requirements by default (teams working in Queensland have the reverse situation).
In NSW, the process used to determine the impact on biodiversity values (vegetation, threatened flora and fauna) from the project construction is the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM).
The BAM classifies the impact down to what is the impact likely to be from the project and this is identified as a ‘credit obligation’. Read more here.
If you're feeling confident, you can have a go at inputing values into the BAM calculator here. For now, though, we're just going to focus on identifying the main environmental impacts of the Narromine to Narrabri project in a simplified format.
Head to page 5 of your Memobook, and fill out the report template within.