to the Minister for the Environment from the Endangered Species Scientific
Subcommittee (ESSS) on a proposal to add a key threatening process
to Schedule 3 of the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (the
or description of the nominated key threatening process
mining at Wingecarribee Swamp.
with regard to the Endangered Species Protection Regulations
has been assessed by officers of the Threatened Species and Communities
Section, Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. ESSS has been
advised that the information supplied with the nomination meets
all the requirements specified by Regulation.
support and advice
and advice were received from the following individuals, organisations
National Parks and Wildlife Service
Department of Mineral Resources
Peter Clarke, University of New England
Geoff Hope, Australian National University
Phillip Kodela , Royal Botanic Gardens
and Hope and Mr Kodela supported the nomination on the grounds
that peat mining is a destructive, non-ecologically sustainable
industry that is threatening to destroy the habitat of two listed
species and other taxa endemic to the Wingecarribee Swamp.
Parks and Wildlife Service strongly supported the nomination and
stated that they have been collaborating with Sydney Water to
develop a plan of management for the swamp and to maintain its
ecological integrity. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
have sought the area as a nature reserve. Sydney Water (who own
Wingecarribee Swamp) supported the nomination of peat mining as
a threatening process on the basis that the joint Draft Plan of
Management (November, 1995) will provide a way of abating the
Department of Mineral Resources stated the nomination is
unnecessary and a threat abatement plan would also be unnecessary
as it duplicates a process addressed in the Mining Rehabilitation
and Environmental Management Plan which would be required
under the conditions of mining lease renewal.
judged by ESSS in regard to the ESP Act criteria
Swamp, located on the Southern Highlands of NSW is the largest
upland peat swamp in Australia. Peat has been extracted commercially
from the swamp since 1972. Applications for mining the rest of
the peat deposit, estimated to be approximately 24 million cubic
metres could result in the removal of up to 18 million cubic metres
of peat. This would result in the total destruction of the habitat.
Two species listed on Schedule 1 of the Act occur in the swamp
and nowhere else.
23.(3) of the Act states:
the purposes of this section, a threatening process is eligible
to be treated as a key threatening process if:
adversely affects 2 or more listed species or 2 or more listed
ecological communities; or
could cause native species or ecological communities that
are not endangered to become endangered; and
the preparation and implementation of a nationally co-ordinated
threat abatement plan is a feasible, effective and efficient
way to abate the process.
Does the threatening process affect 2 or more listed native species?
Two listed vascular plant species are adversely affected
by mining of peat for horticultural purposes at Wingecarribee
Swamp: Gentiana wingecarribiensis and Prasophyllum uroglossum.
Continued peat mining could cause these species to become extinct.
judges that the threatening process meets s.23(3)(a)(i) of the
Would the preparation and implementation of a nationally co-ordinated
threat abatement plan be a feasible, effective and efficient way
to abate the process?
nomination put the view that a threat abatement plan that addresses
the long term management of both the swamp and its catchment would
ensure the continuance of habitat for the listed species. The
nomination suggested that although the Commonwealths direct
power to affect mining is limited, a threat abatement plan could
provide for the prohibition of exports from the site and of the
use of peat from this site in Commonwealth funded projects.
owner, Sydney Water, and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
have a commitment to conservation and protection of this area.
Their joint development of a management plan for the swamp and
the two listed species show that preparation of a threat abatement
plan could be a feasible, effective and efficient way of abating
process occurs wholly within the State of New South Wales. Attorney
Generals Department advice to ESSS is that the Minister
may list a threatening process that occurs wholly within a State
as a Key Threatening Process if he is satisfied that the preparation
and implementation of a State Threat Abatement Plan, with appropriate
assistance from the Commonwealth, would be a feasible, effective
and efficient way to abate the process. Such a plan could then
be adopted under the Act. It should be noted that a plan of management
is in preparation.
mining at Wingecarribee Swamp is authorised by permits or licences
issued by the State of New South Wales. It should be noted that
the Commonwealth has not specified peat as a product over which
export controls are exercised, although this is possible.
judges that the threatening process meets s.23.(3)(b) of the Act
if the State of New South Wales is prepared to develop a State
Threat Abatement Plan that would effectively abate the threat
and would be acceptable to the Minister. Such a plan could be
based on the Draft Plan of Management already developed by Sydney
Minister consult the Minister for the Environment in the State
of New South Wales and ascertain whether New South Wales will
prepare a State Threat Abatement Plan that would abate the threat
of peat mining at Wingecarribee Swamp on listed species.
the State of NSW agree to prepare a State Threat Abatement Plan
and the Minister be satisfied that the State Threat Abatement
Plan is a feasible, effective and efficient means of abating the
threat imposed by peat mining, Peat mining at Wingecarribee
Swamp be listed on Schedule 3 of the Endangered Species
Protection Act 1992.
Minister for the Environment was unable to make a decision on
the ESSS interim advice on Peat mining at Wingecarribee
Swamp as a key threatening process under Schedule 3
of the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 on 19
to the Minister for the Environment
from the Endangered Species Scientific Subcommittee (ESSS) on a
proposal to add a key threatening process to Schedule 3 of the
Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (the ESP Act),