Coal and Allied Pty Ltd will commit over $2 million as part of an enforceable undertaking entered into following a contravention of Australia’s national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Coal and Allied Pty Ltd cleared 31.5 hectares of the critically endangered ecological community Central Hunter Valley eucalypt forest and woodland. The clearing was undertaken as part of mining pre-stripping operations for the existing Hunter Valley Operations South, approved under the NSW state development consent but without approval under Part 9 of the Act.
The company has cooperated with officers from the Office of Compliance throughout the investigation. As part of the enforceable undertaking, Coal and Allied Pty Ltd will establish 210 hectares to the value of $1.2 million for the establishment of offsets for the ecological community, and provide no less than $815,000 over 5 years for conservation and management of the offsets.
The Central Hunter Valley eucalypt forest and woodland ecological community occurs in a heavily cleared region of Australia, and has suffered substantial impacts through clearing and fragmentation. For many threatened species such as the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater and the endangered Swift Parrot, the Central Hunter Valley eucalypt forest and woodland are critical for their survival.
The outcome shows the importance of attaining federal government approval before starting activities that could have a significant impact on nationally protected matters, such as ecological communities.