The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed news that land clearing at Olive Vale Station on Cape York Peninsula has been stopped, pending Commonwealth assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
“It’s no secret that Olive Vale is home to several rare, endangered and vulnerable species,” said Andrew Picone, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Northern Australia Officer.
“This information is easily determined from a simple desktop search of publically available information; this project should have been subject to the conditions of the EPBC Act before clearing began.
“ACF received expert advice that at least two endangered birds occur on Olive Vale. Bird enthusiasts and wildlife experts report that the buff-breasted button-quail and the red goshawk are known in the area.”
The former Queensland Government approved the clearing of more than 32,000 hectares at Olive Vale without any consideration of environmentally significant matters or advice from the Commonwealth Environment Department, which is required by the EPBC Act.
“With the Abbott Government about to launch its White Paper on Northern Australia in Cairns this Friday, the clearing at Olive Vale, which is backed by government MP Warren Entsch, would have been an embarrassment,” Mr Picone said.
“ACF, along with many other individuals and organisations, wrote to the relevant Queensland and Commonwealth ministers seeking their urgent intervention.
“We welcome Minister Hunt’s interest in this matter and look forward to a thorough assessment of the process,” he said.