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18 December 2009
The Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett has determined that the Tarkine loop road proposal will need to be assessed under national environment law.
“I have determined that this proposal may impact on nationally protected matters and therefore must undergo assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
“In particular, building a road through the Tarkine could impact on nationally listed threatened species including the Tasmanian devil, the spotted-tail quoll and the wedgetailed eagle.
“The proposal also has the potential to impact on the area’s national heritage values. “I announced last week the emergency heritage listing of the Tarkine, in recognition of the fact that the area is already under assessment for inclusion in the National Heritage List by the Australian Heritage Council.
“That emergency listing has allowed me to consider the proposal’s potential impacts on those national heritage values in making this decision.
“I have determined that the proposal will be assessed by Environmental Impact Statement, which I believe is an appropriate assessment method to provide the level of detail necessary for a project in this important location.
“This method will allow for a rigorous and transparent assessment which should not unduly delay the project, should it ultimately be approved.
“It will also give the public further opportunity to have input into the assessment process.”
The Federal Environment Department will now develop draft guidelines for the proponent to use when preparing the Environmental Impact Statement. Public comment will be sought on these draft guidelines.
The guidelines outline the environmental matters that must be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement, which forms the basis of the assessment.
Details of the proposal can be found on the department’s website at www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?limit=999999 &name=current_referrals&text_search=tarkine