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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Australian Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Warren Truss

23 February 2006

Tugun Bypass approval to end motorists' woes


The Australian Government has approved the Environmental Impact Statement and the Major Development Plan for the Gold Coast Airport, which effectively allows the Tugun Bypass to be built through airport land, the Australian Government Minister Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss and Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell announced today .

Mr Truss said the approval of the four-lane Tugun Bypass development will deliver major benefits for motorists and residents on Queensland’s Gold Coast, including the elimination of serious traffic congestion on roads between Currumbin and Tweed Heads.

“Under AusLink, the Australian Government will provide $120 million for the 7.5km Tugun Bypass in recognition of the need to facilitate essential traffic flows and to protect the unique environmental and cultural heritage values of the area.

“The Tugun Bypass will improve the capacity and efficiency of the transport corridors around the airport and allows for a future rail line through the airport.

“Through a comprehensive public consultation process, the Australian Government has listened carefully to the views of all parties to ensure the important social, economic and environmental issues were fully addressed,” he said.

Senator Campbell said the approval conditions include strict mitigation measures to minimise impacts on flora and fauna and to protect the Cobaki Broadwater and a compensatory habitat package of more than 80 hectares.

“The environmental benefits of this project will be significant; adding 11 hectares of Wallum Sedge Frog habitat to the Cudgen Nature Reserve in New South Wales, providing the missing link to an ecological buffer around the Cobaki Broadwater, and bringing protection measures to improve habitat for the threatened Long-nosed Potoroo (Australia’s most ancient real kangaroo).

“The important cultural heritage values of the area will be protected through a Cultural Heritage Management Plan, to be developed in consultation with local Aboriginal groups.

“We have been instrumental in bringing together the varying requirements of the state and Australian governments into a coordinated approval process that should deliver both improved traffic flows and significant environmental benefits,” he said.

Mr Truss said the approval of the Tugun Bypass will also facilitate the extension of the runway at the Gold Coast Airport which will bring significant tourism and other benefits to Southern Queensland.

* Conditions of the approval for the Tugun Bypass are attached.

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Kylie Butler (Mr Truss's office) 02 6277 7680 or 0417 652 488


Conditions of the Draft Major Development Plan for the Airport Section of the Tugun Bypass

  1. A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) is prepared and implemented for this project. The components below should be included in the CEMP and endorsed by the Airport Environment Officer (AEO), in consultation with the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH), prior to construction commencing:
    1. A Soil and Water Management Plan that:
      • identifies the environmental features that may be adversely impacted by deterioration in surface water quality;
      • identifies the construction activities that could cause soil erosion or discharge sediment or water pollutants from the site;
      • describes management methods to minimise soil erosion or discharge of sediment or water pollutants from the site including a strategy to minimise the area of bare surfaces during construction;
      • describes the location and capacity of erosion and sediment control measures;
      • describes design measures to mitigate impacts on water quality from sedimentation and water pollution during the operation of the Bypass;
      • identifies the timing and conditions under which construction stage controls will be decommissioned;
      • includes contingency plans to be implemented for events such as fuel and chemical spills;
      • identifies how the effectiveness of the sediment and erosion control system will be monitored, reviewed and updated; and
      • includes a program for monitoring water quality before, during and after construction. The program should specify the parameters to be monitored, acceptable levels as defined in the Airport (Environment Protection) Regulations 1997 (the Regulations), the response thresholds and the response activities.
    2. A Groundwater Management Plan detailing:
      • Objectives for groundwater management;
      • Proposed measures to achieve those objectives;
      • Uncertainties in meeting the objectives and how they will be addressed through further testing and/or modelling;
      • Monitoring of groundwater levels and quality before, during and after construction, including methodology, parameters to be monitored, and responsibility for interpreting monitoring results; and
      • Proposed triggers based on groundwater levels and water quality parameters and response measures for managing dewatering and re-injection.
    3. An Acid Sulphate Soils Management Plan which includes:
      • Details of baseline surveys to establish background trends in groundwater geochemistry;
      • The site-specific criteria derived from baseline surveys, taking into account the need to maintain existing low pH conditions suitable for ‘acid’ frogs in the south of the Gold Coast Airport;
      • Measures for controlling soil pH by treatment with agricultural lime in bunded areas;
      • The proposed testing regime to ensure pH levels and rates of acid generation are within criteria; and
      • A contingency plan to deal with the unexpected discovery of actual or potential acid sulphate soils.
    4. Air Quality Management Plan which includes details of vehicle numbers to be used on site and management measures for vehicle emissions.
  2. A Flora and Fauna Management Plan is prepared and implemented. The components below should be included in the management plan and endorsed by the AEO, in consultation with DEH, prior to construction commencing:
    1. plans showing:
      • terrestrial vegetation communities; important flora and fauna habitat areas; locations where threatened species, populations or ecological communities were recorded; and areas to be cleared. The plans must also identify vegetation adjoining the proposed works where this contains important habitat areas and/or threatened species, populations or ecological communities;
      • aquatic vegetation communities; important habitat areas; locations where threatened species, populations or ecological communities were recorded; and areas to be cleared. The plans must also identify vegetation adjoining the proposed; and
      • works where this contains important habitat areas and/or threatened species, populations or ecological communities.
      • methods to manage impacts on flora and fauna species (terrestrial and aquatic) and their habitat which may be directly or indirectly affected by the proposed works. These must include:
      • procedures for vegetation clearing, soil management and managing other habitat damage (terrestrial and aquatic) during construction;
      • methods to protect vegetation both retained within, and also adjoining, the proposed works from damage during construction;
      • a habitat tree management program including fauna recovery procedures and habitat maintenance (e.g. relocating hollows or installing nesting boxes);
      • methods to minimise damage to aquatic habitats;
      • where possible, and where consistent with the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation or NSW Fisheries requirements, strategies for re-using in rehabilitation works individuals of any threatened plant species that would be otherwise be destroyed by the proposed works; and
      • performance criteria against which to measure the success of the methods.
    2. rehabilitation details including:
      • identification of locally native species to be used in rehabilitation and landscaping works, including flora species suitable as a food resource for threatened fauna species;
      • methods to remediate affected aquatic habitats or fish passages;
      • the source of all seed or tube stock to be used in rehabilitation and landscaping works including the identification of seed sources within the proposed works. Seed of locally native species within the proposed works should be collected before construction commences to provide seed stock for revegetation;
      • methods to re-use topsoil (and where relevant subsoils) and cleared vegetation; and
      • measures for the management and maintenance of all preserved, planted and rehabilitated vegetation (including aquatic vegetation).
    3. a Weed Management Strategy including:
      • identification of weeds within the proposed works and adjoining areas;
      • weed eradication methods and protocols for the use of herbicides;
      • methods to treat and re-use weed infested topsoil; and
      • strategies to control the spread of weeds during construction.
    4. (e) a program for reporting on the effectiveness of terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna management measures against the identified performance criteria. Management methods must be reviewed where found to be ineffective.
  3. A Water Quality Monitoring Program is prepared and implemented prior to construction and submitted to the AEO for endorsement. The Program should specify monitoring obligations before, during and after construction. The Program should specify the parameters to be monitored, acceptable levels, the response thresholds and the response activities. The Program should indicate how post-construction monitoring on Commonwealth land will eventually be incorporated into the water quality monitoring program conducted under the Gold Coast Airport Environment Strategy.
  4. A Cultural Heritage Management Plan is prepared and implemented and include:
    1. sub-surface testing of likely sensitive areas prior to construction;
    2. measures to minimise impact on the site on the Register of the National Estate; and
    3. emergency measures to be adopted in the event of an unexpected find during construction.
  5. A Noise Impact Assessment Policy is developed for the future Western Enterprise Precinct, to ensure the planning and detailed design of such a precinct adequately addresses the impacts of noise.
  6. Prior to construction, and in consultation with the AEO, further testing of the airport dump site is required to be undertaken in accordance with the relevant guidelines for contaminated land. These results are to be provided to an independent auditor to determine if a remedial plan is required.
  7. An acknowledged independent aviation practitioner is to be engaged to verify that all aspects of the design and construction of the Tugun Bypass meet the standards and requirements of the Manual of Standards for Aerodromes (MOS 139) to the satisfaction of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
  8. CASA and Airservices Australia must be consulted prior to and during the construction of the proposed development and comply with any safety requirements specified by the agency, including issues identified in Section 7.4.1 and 7.4.2 of the draft Major Development Plan. Additionally, Gold Coast Airport Limited must advise the Department of any changes to the approved MDP arising from the need to comply with CASA standards.
Commonwealth of Australia