Court grants protection to critically endangered plant on site of massive western Sydney development

6 March 2018

Court grants protection to critically endangered plant on site of massive western Sydney development

A rare flowering plant thought to be extinct for 200 years until found on site in 2016 has been protected from the massive intermodal development at Moorebank in a judgment delivered today by the Land and Environment Court.

The critically endangered Hibbertia fumana wasn’t considered when the development was approved in December 2016.

The Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) was not told about the existence of the only known population of the rediscovered species or possible impacts on it from the industrial shipping container facility under development.

On behalf of Residents Against Intermodal Development Moorebank (RAID), EDO NSW asked the Land and Environment Court to undertake a full reconsideration of the grounds for approval of the facility, especially on the two expert issues of protecting biodiversity and community protection from noise.

The Court commented that “RAID through this litigation has achieved a more stringent set of conditions which respond to many of the concerns” raised by the residents of Moorebank and biodiversity and noise experts.

In a win for transparency and accountability in the planning approvals process, our merits appeal was able to gain substantially better protection for the Hibbertia fumana, including a species survey plan, remediation of associated land and possible translocation of plants into rehabilitated land.  

We also gained improved protection for the residents from excessive noise impacts, including requirements for trackside noise barriers along the rail link and a plan for monitoring and regulating noise, especially at night.

Qube, the developer, had challenged the community’s right to even be heard before the court. In mid 2017, EDO NSW successfully defended that challenge in the Court of Appeal, allowing the case to continue all the way to hearing.

This was a significant win for community groups across NSW who seek to be heard in merits appeals against major developments.

It is also critically important that this case went to court, given that the discovery of this critically endangered species was kept from the PAC in its original decision.

Without merit appeal rights for communities against, the Hibbertia would not have been protected.

[Final conditions are yet to be released.]

 

Contact: David Morris CEO EDO NSW: 0402 778 997 or Elaine Johnson, Principal Solicitor, on 0428 262 010

More detail on this case can be found at the EDO NSW website.