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10 July 2009
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has approved with strict conditions the Australian Institute of Police Management development at North Head, Manly.
Mr Garrett said the approval decision followed a thorough assessment of the project's impacts on the environment, with particular focus on the little penguin, long-nosed bandicoot, the site's heritage values and the Sydney Harbour National Park.
"I'm satisfied that with the redesign of the project, the mitigation measures in place and the additional conditions I've placed on this, the project can proceed under national environment law without significant impact on the environment and the site's heritage values," Mr Garrett said.
The federal assessment looked closely at the project's potential impacts on the nearby little penguin colony, as well as the long-nosed bandicoot, both state-protected species.
As a result of this assessment, and building upon those matters considered by the State assessment process, seven additional approval conditions have been placed on the project. These new conditions significantly strengthen the environmental protections for the little penguin and long-nosed bandicoot populations, and for the site's heritage values.
"The little penguin colony is the only known breeding population on the NSW mainland and therefore I've put in place a number of requirements to minimise impacts on it," he said.
"A fauna management plan must be prepared and approved before any building can start at the site. It must outline the measures to be used to address potential impacts of construction on the penguin, particularly during breeding season, the impacts on the bandicoot species, and detail how monitoring will be done to ensure any changes in behaviour are detected."
The plan must be reviewed by an appropriately qualified independent expert.
Mr Garrett said some heritage matters had been addressed in the project's redesign but said the developer would also need to complete a heritage management plan before construction could begin. It would detail the mitigation measures in place to protect and conserve the site's buildings.
A heritage expert must also supervise the use of materials and finishes on new structures.
Community concerns about the loss of bushland in the Sydney Harbour National Park to bushfire protection zones had also been considered.
The approval conditions stipulate that no further encroachments into the national park are allowed.
The Australian Federal Police proposal to develop the Australian Institute of Police Management was assessed by the NSW government under an accredited arrangement.
The matter was assessed as an action by a Commonwealth agency and therefore focused on significant impacts of the project on the whole of the environment.
A copy of the approval conditions can be found at: www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?name=current_referral_detail&proposal_id=2746