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The Broken Head Quarry (pictured) in Byron Bay has agreed to rehabilitate and revegetate its exhausted site.
The Broken Head Quarry (pictured) in Byron Bay has agreed to rehabilitate and revegetate its exhausted site.

Site’s environmental role in landmark outcome

Collaboration between a quarry owner and a state planning and environment agency has led to a conservation breakthrough.

The owners of the Broken Head Quarry, in northern New South Wales, have agreed to convert their ‘exhausted site’ into bushland through rehabilitation and revegetation in the state’s first ever enforceable undertaking since provisions were passed in early 2018.

According to a press release from the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment (DEP), the “action marks a significant milestone for the department’s compliance team because it is the first enforceable undertaking issued”.

“The old quarry site will now be brought back to match the surrounding vegetation to protect threatened species as well as restore an important wildlife corridor.”
Dr Oliver Holm

Leadshine, which has owned Broken Head Quarry since 2003, maintains that “the quarry business and the wider community are very reliant on the effective management by our team of several factors that influence the environment”.

According to a statement on Leadshine’s website, “Sustainability and respect for the environment and our community are always a priority at Broken Head Quarry.

“We have built our impeccable reputation in the Byron Bay region based on extensive experience, proven results, understanding and management of potential environmental issues and impact on the community.”

Protection of endangered species

The DEP’s executive director of resources assessment and compliance Dr Oliver Holm said the decision was a win for local people who have been concerned about the environmental condition of the quarry and its future for many years.  

“The old quarry site will now be brought back to match the surrounding vegetation to protect threatened species as well as restore an important wildlife corridor,” Holm said.

“This will allow threatened fauna known to exist in the adjacent community, to once again forage and potentially, sometime in the future, populate this area.

“This includes endangered species such as the koala, the Eastern long-eared bat and potentially the long-nosed potaroo, with the last confirmed sighting of this small marsupial in the region in 1993.”

Dr Holm said enforceable undertakings are written, legally binding agreements that could save the significant costs of legal action and bring about swift, clear and measurable results.

Broken Head Quarry has given a mid-2019 undertaking to complete rehabilitation and revegetation of the site and the department’s compliance team will monitor the quarry.

Compliance enforcement can include warning letters and orders, fines of up to $15,000, and prosecutions for the most serious offences with penalties of up to $5 million in the Land and Environment Court.

Planting of new trees and vegetation as well as landscaping has already commenced.

The enforceable undertaking has been described as “good news for the Byron Bay region, with such a positive environmental outcome secured through a clear and enforceable mechanism”.

 

More reading

Koalas to benefit from quarry licence breach
Animals bear the scars of disturbed landscapes
Licence breach costs quarry operator thousands

 











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Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 3:07am
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