A DECISION by the NSW Department of Planning to allow the removal of endangered habitat near Seven Mile Beach for sandmining has sparked outrage from the Gerroa Environmental Protection Society.
GEPS is concerned about endangered wildlife after the department gave approval to Cleary Bros to continue its mine expansion, severing a strip of vegetation between Blue Angle Creek and Crooked River Road, connecting the habitat to vegetation east of the road.
Under a 2008 NSW Land and Environment Court decision, Cleary Bros could not sever the link until it established another functioning habitat nearby.
But GEPS member Howard Jones has argued the replacement vegetation was still in its infancy.
"It has enormous ramifications because wildlife becomes stranded, they can't repopulate, particularly the tree-dwelling animals like the greater glider, which is an endangered species."
The court also established the Sand Mine Consultative Committee, however Greens candidate for Gilmore and GEPS’ representative on the committee, Terry Barratt, said the body was not consulted.
‘‘The consultative committee does not function very well because all things are decided between Cleary Bros and the department,’’ he said.
‘‘The work then goes ahead and is generally completed before the consultative committee even meets, it gets reports up to 12 months out of date... so it’s being consulted on something that’s already been done.’’
Mr Barratt said the committee had not seen the report the department used to approve the project and he requested Cleary Bros make it available.
‘‘They need to cease mining for the moment until such time as we’ve seen the report and we’ve had an opportunity to be consulted,’’ he said.
A Department of Planning spokesman said the the department took compliance seriously.
‘‘The quarry consent sets out the minimum requirements that must be achieved before the vegetation link can be completely cleared to access the sand resource beneath,’’ he said.
‘‘Cleary Bros provided the Department with specialist reports to demonstrate that these requirements had been met.’’
The spokesman said GEPS had not provided evidence suggesting Cleary Bros had not complied with its consent.
Cleary Bros was unavailable for comment.