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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
27 July 2005
The proponents of the Reef Cove Resort in far north Queensland will have to adhere to strict conditions if the development of the resort is to go ahead, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
Senator Campbell said following a comprehensive assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), strict conditions would be imposed to minimise the impact of the development on the surrounding environment.
"The Reef Cove Resort development required an assessment under federal environmental law because the site is adjacent to two World Heritage-listed places - the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland," Senator Campbell said.
The development, which has been approved by the Queensland Government, is at False Cape, 10 kilometres north-east of Cairns and five kilometres north-west of the Yarrabah Aboriginal Community.
"This area is habitat to a number of threatened species including the Spectacled Flying-fox, Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat and Arenga Palm. Seagrass meadows and corals grow in the seawater adjacent to the site where Loggerhead and Green Turtles and dugongs are known to graze."
"This area is sensitive so it is vital proper management controls are put in place.
"Under the conditions set, the developer must protect the plants and animals that live around the site and replant any areas that are cleared during the construction phase. They must also develop and implement plans to control erosion and sediment run-off.
"An educational booklet is also being prepared by the developer about the area's important natural environment.
"A conservation agreement between the developer and myself has been developed to mitigate the impact on threatened species and to minimise the visual impact of the resort on World Heritage values and includes measures to ensure building height is limited to 11 metres, limits the clearance of native vegetation, and provides for building design and colour schemes to blend with the natural environment," he said.
The EPBC Act is the Australian Government's key piece of environmental legislation. It provides protection for matters of national environmental significance, which includes World Heritage properties. An action, such as a development proposal, requires a decision from the Minister if it has, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a matter of environmental significance.
For more information on the EPBC Act visit www.deh.gov.au/epbc
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434