Date: 28
January 2010
To The Manager
Planning and Aboriginal Heritage, Environment Protection and Regulation Group
North East Branch
Department of Environment and Climate Change
Locked Bag 914
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Submission on Far North Coast Regional Conservation Plan
The Clarence Environment Centre has maintained a shop-front in Grafton for over 40 years, and has
been closely involved with environmental issues, particularly resulting from inappropriate
development. As a result we have followed the development of the various Regional development
Strategies with considerable interest and a degree of concern.
While our organisation is not situated within the Far North Coast region, our concerns for the area's
unique biodiversity, and the failure of existing legislation and strategies to halt the decline of
biodiversity and the vast majority of threatened species across the country, we feel compelled to
take advantage of the exhibition of the Far North Coast Regional Conservation Plan (RCP).
The Draft RCP informs us that it has been compiled to complement the Far North Coast Regional
Strategy (FNCRS), and to this end we applaud the excellent description (Section 7) of the extremely
high ecological values occurring in the region.
However, at the outset we must stress amazement that a development strategy has been adopted,
pinpointing greenfield growth areas and industrial sites, before the ecological values have been
identified. This is a region that is internationally recognised for its extreme levels of biodiversity
(fully described in Section 4), so we assert that a conservation plan should have been in place prior
to the development of the FNCRS to ensure important ecological features are identified and
adequately protected. What is actually happening is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.
We are told (page 3) that: “While the FNCRS sets a strategic framework for development, including
infrastructure, it has not considered all the detailed infrastructure needs within the 25-year
FNCRS time frame, such as new roads, pipelines or powerlines" and that “The effect on
biodiversity of the release of these additional areas is not currently known, and so could not be
taken into consideration in this draft RCP". This fills us with disquiet, and we point out that 4 of
the 25 years supposedly covered by the RCP have already passed, with development already under
way in many of the FNCRS's identified greenfield growth areas.
31 Skinner Street
South Grafton 2460
Phone/ Fax: 02 6643 1863