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'Serious concerns regarding impacts': council opposes quarry vegetation clearing bid

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A local council has taken its concerns over a quarry’s bid to clear more than eight hectares of vegetation to the federal government.

Noosa Council has provided a submission to the federal government relating to the application by quarry operator Cordwell Resources Pty Ltd to clear the vegetation at its Kin Kin extraction site.

Mayor Clare Stewart said council had no assessment role regarding the vegetation clearing application, which was handled under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

“While the application for clearing is within the existing quarry footprint, council has serious concerns regarding impacts to threatened flora and fauna species, including koalas, greater gliders and scrub turpentine,” she said.

Cr Stewart said council took the view that the clearing is considered a controlled action due to the significant impact on endangered and critically endangered species.

“This has been clearly articulated in our submission so it can be considered by the federal government in its assessment of the Cordwells application,” she said.

“We’re aware members of our community have also made submissions on this matter.”

A view over the Noosa hinterland. Picture: Shutterstock

The Cordwells website notes that in 2022 the quarry underwent rehabilitation and weed management to restore koala habitat and connectivity.

“The Kin Kin Quarry is situated in the Noosa Shire, an area rich in ecological values and diversity, from coastal to hinterland habitats, and regional ecosystems supporting a range of core and secondary koala habitat areas,” it says.

“Within the Kin Kin Quarry site there is a significant area (10.9ha) of core koala habitat, comprising valued and protected habitat for this now endangered species.

“Open areas buffering the core koala habitat required extensive rehabilitation of direct planting …  and three other locations of assisted regeneration of already vegetated habitat areas through weed control and monitoring.”

Related story: Council’s ‘most aggressive step’ against quarry

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said he shared Noosa Council’s concerns about the vegetation clearing proposal.

“Koalas are an iconic Australian native species and the decline of their population is of great concern,” he said.

“I am writing to the minister responsible for the Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act, Tanya Plibersek, to convey the community’s strong concerns about the proposal and the urgent need to protect the natural habitat of endangered species.

“I’m encouraging everyone to join me and Noosa mayor Clare Stewart in writing to Minister Plibersek to request that the minister carefully examine the vegetation clearing proposal and protect the local habitat of these precious flora and fauna species from destruction.

“The Minister must listen to the community and make the best decision in the interests of protecting and conserving Noosa’s endangered koala population and other threatened flora and fauna species.”

According to Noosa Council’s website, the quarry was approved in July 1987 subject to conditions. Under the planning legislation there is no ability for this approval to be revoked or changed (without the owners’ agreement) until 2033.

The conditions require the quarry to operate in accordance with an approved Quarry Management Plan, which includes a number of requirements that address on site operations.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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