A RESPONSE to Kim Elzerman’s letter on bio-certification is needed to correct the distortion of the facts regarding this complex subject.
Council was always required to conduct a rural lands study and if Kim had cared to check she would have noted it as a budget item for the past four to five years. It was always planned to be done after the LEP was completed.
As Kim is aware the LEP must recognise all State Acts, the two causing grief here are the Threatened Species Act and Native Vegetation Acts. Unfortunately all land irrespective of tenure is assessed under the above Acts and if the vegetation type is an ecological endangered community, then the law (which in most cases is an ass) comes into play.
To change this, State Government needs to change the Acts and regulations. Council cannot do other than comply with the legislation.
It is misleading to state that all offsets will be met by community lands and council certainly did not state that.
The current matter now being assessed is the Broulee settlement area and here council is negotiating for the offset to be the land from the airport to Broulee and west to George Bass Drive. This offset, if commonsense prevails, will allow the long established planned expansion of Broulee to proceed.
Biodiversity offsets are designed to allow a developer to create a development on land deemed to be constrained by the relevant Acts and entering into an agreement with a landholder of similar land types, then securing that land permanently as the offset to compensate for the development.
Landowners cannot have an offset imposed on their lands without their consent and to imply otherwise is wrong.