Cooloola Great Walk Ecotourism project milestone
The Cooloola Great Walk Ecotourism Project has completed a major assessment milestone, with the Australian Government deeming the project to not be a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The EPBC Act was established to protect Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES), which are nationally and internationally important wildlife, ecological communities and heritage places. Any activity that may impact on any MNES must be referred to the Australian Government for assessment under the EPBC Act.
As the Cooloola Great Walk Ecotourism Project is located close to several MNES, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) lodged a referral to the Australian Government for assessment under EPBC Act in early June 2021.The referral sought approval for:
- construction of the five proposed eco-accommodation sites
- indicative structure designs
- proposed ancillary infrastructure (including raised boardwalks, access tracks, power and water infrastructure and wastewater management)
- construction and operations activities
- a detailed list of measures to avoid and mitigate environmental impacts.
On 1 July 2021, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment advised DES that the project is not considered a ‘controlled action’ under the EPBC Act. This means that the project does not require any further Commonwealth assessment.
From here, the Cooloola Ecotourism Project will progress to finalise site designs, take into account feedback from the recent community consultation, conduct baseline ecological surveys (to inform ongoing environmental monitoring), seek local government approval, complete agreements with the Kabi Kabi People and seek a final state approval under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.