The BNCOP was identified as having the potential to impact Matters of National Environmental Signficance (MNES) listed under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
(EPBC Act) and therefore a referral was made to the Department of Environment on 24 October 2013 (application reference number 2013/7036). On 12 December 2013, a decision was made that the proposed BNCOP was a Controlled Action under the EPBC Act with threatened species and communities as one of the controlling provisions being listed. After submission of the Environmental Impact Statement, final approval of the BNCOP was granted on 22 December 2014 with a number of conditions.
Conditions relevant to listed species and communities included disturbance limits, impact management, reporting and monitoring. Listed species and communities occurring or potentially occuring in the action area, included:
- Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla dominant and co-dominant) (Brigalow TEC)
- Coolibah-Black Box Woodlands of the Darling Riverine Plains and the Brigalow Belt South Bioregions (Coolibah-Black Box TEC)
- Squatter Pigeon (southern) (Geophaps scripta scripta)
- Ornamental Snake (Denisonia maculata)
- South-eastern Long-eared Bat (Nyctophilus corbeni)
- Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)
In response to Condition 4 of the approval, this BNCOP MNES Management Plan is required to manage impacts to the aforementioned MNES, and is to include:
- Measures that will be taken to avoid, mitigate and manage impacts to EPBC Act listed threatened species and communities and their habitat during clearance of vegetation, including the use of a spotter/catcher at all times during clearance of vegetation;
- Measures that will be taken to avoid, mitigate and manage impacts to EPBC Act listed threatened species and communities and their habitats during construction, operation and decommissioning of the Project;
- Details of how measures proposed in the MNESMP are consistent with the measures proposed in relevant conservation advice, recovery plans and threat abatement plans; and
- A program for monitoring the outcomes of mitigation and management measures to minimise direct impacts to EPBC Act listed threatened species and communities and their habitat.
Above photo of Brigalow stand at new Moura Train Load Out facility.