In March 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment received an allegation that earthworks associated with land clearing and drainage had impacted on the Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands of the Temperate Lower Plains at Streatham Victoria in contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The wetlands are formed from isolated drainage lines and depressions that are not connected to riverine systems but fill seasonally by local rainfall.
The ecological community hosts an array of native wetland plants and animals, which during dry seasons are not always visible but are present through desiccated material or propagules such as seeds, spores and eggs.
The department’s investigation found that the earthworks had caused a disturbance to the wetlands which had resulted in a significant impact on the site which is a protected ecological community under the EPBC Act.
It is a breach of a civil penalty provision of Part 3 of the EPBC Act to take an action without approval that has or will have a significant impact on a listed threatened ecological community.
A remediation determination is a penalty that addresses the environmental impact caused by a contravention by requiring a person to take action to repair or mitigate that damage.
In responding to the contravention, the Delegate to the Minister for the Environment made a remediation determination on 30 March 2021, requiring the landholder to, amongst other things, repair the damage by reversing the alterations created by the drainage and earthworks at the property.
This compliance outcome is consistent with the department’s published Compliance Policy which is available here: https://www.environment.gov.au/about-us/publications/compliance-policy
The remediation determination is available here: https://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/compliance-and-enforcement/compliance-outcomes