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Office of Environment and Heritage advise Council of continued objections to the the Rural Lands Str

The Beagle Editor, Readers of the Beagle, following the Rural Lands Strategy Proposal debate might be interested to learn that the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage still retain a number of objections to the proposal and recognise that none of the changes that they suggested in their 2016 submission have been adopted. Michael Saxon at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage in his letter (here) to Eurobodalla Council's General Manager Catherine Dale basically repeats much of the objections raised in his previous two submissions of Dec 2015 and July 2016. As recently as yesterday, at the Tuross Head Progress Association meeting, a representative from the RFS confirmed that the RFS objections from 2015 have also not been taken into account It is suggested by those close to the strategy that Council seems to be blithely intent on ignoring the very real possibility that in so doing they will make Council liable for wilful negligence and failure to show duty of care on both an individual and a class action basis in case of bush fire disaster. The RFS position, in this instance, will see them in the clear because their formal objections now put the onus firmly on the Council. Michael Saxon of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, in his letter (here) to Eurobodalla Council's General Manager, Catherine Dale, stated: Public exhibition of Planning Proposal to amend Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2012 The Office of Environment and Heritage has reviewed your latest planning proposal resulting from the Rural Lands Study. Given that none of the changes that we suggested in our 2016 submission on this planning proposal have been adopted, we still retain a number of objections to the proposal. These comments and objections are detailed in Attachments 1 and 2 and address the following issues: • Ensuring that the objectives of the environmental zones are not undermined by the addition of incompatible land uses. • Questioning the need for the boundary adjustment clause to apply to the E1 – National Park zone. • A full review of all the zoning and lot size changes proposed. We have limited our objections to those areas with known threatened species habitat, complete vegetation cover, the presence of endangered ecological communities (using the latest mapping provided by Council). Since our submission in 2016, OEH has released maps of core areas of habitat for Swift Parrot as part of the new Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act). This mapping has formed the basis of many of our objections, as any impact on Swift Parrot habitat is likely to result in a serious and irreversible impact (SAII). If a development is going to have an SAII, Council is required under the BC Act to reject that development. Council should note that increasing development opportunities in bushland areas in many cases will trigger the biodiversity offsets scheme under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. This will result in additional costs to landholders due to mandatory biodiversity assessment and offsetting. Similarly, the high fire risk of many of these areas also has implications for biodiversity with the need for large clearing areas for asset protection. It understood that the Rural Fire Service has raised similar concerns. I invite councillors and those interested in the Rural Lands Strategy public to read the most recent OEH letter to the Eurobodalla General Manager and acquaint themselves with their objections to the proposal. It is hoped that, in publishing the June 22nd, 2018 letter to the General Manager, councillors might then be able to discuss its contents openly and vocalise the ongoing OEH and RFS reservations within council chambers for the sake of transparency. Name and address supplied

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