State’s environmental agencies fail native fauna over Wheatbelt waste tip

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has blasted the Department of Environmental Regulation for failing to advise local governments in the Wheatbelt that a regional waste tip they proposed to build near threatened native fauna populations, including the State emblem, the numbat, was a concern under the Department’s landfill guidelines.

““The Department of Environmental Regulation has been formally advising the Wagin Voluntary Group of Councils since on this proposed putrescible regional waste facility site since at least February 2014,”  Ms MacLaren said.

“Yet it at appears that at no point did the DER advise the shires that the proposed tip location – just 6km from a designated future national park known as Dryandra Woodland Reserve– raised a red flag under the Department’s own guidelines for landfills, which warn that landfills create habitat for scavenger and predatory species that impact on native fauna and that should vulnerable native fauna exist nearby it is ‘essential’ to conduct environmental assessments including surveys and consult with experts on scavenger and predatory animals.

“None of the measures have occurred, nor were these issues even raised with the shires or their consultant, according to publically available minutes between them and DER.

“The Environmental Protection Authority also passed the buck on WA’s native fauna by declining earlier this year to assess the tip proposal on the basis that it felt that DER would address all the environmental concerns.

“Frankly, the EPA’s confidence in this is completely misplaced, which is why I among others have appealed the EPA decision.

“Meanwhile, it is concerning that Department of Parks and Wildlife, which has followed the drastic decline in Dryandra’s numbats from 800  individuals in 1992 to just 50 today, has apparently not had a say in the EPA’s process.

“We know that DPaW’s funding for a 2.5 year feral cat control research program at Dryandra Woodland recently ran out, leaving the threatened numbats and woylies even more vulnerable to an increase in feral cat numbers.

“The Government recently announced it had received $100,000 over five years from a corporate sponsor to do cat-baiting in the Dryandra Woodland, but unfortunately trials of the cat bait Eradicat ® has had at best mixed results at Dryandra.

“In conclusion, DER failed abysmally, the EPA passed the buck and DPaW was mute.

“I call on the Environment Minister to step in where these three agencies failed and send this waste tip proposal back to the EPA for a proper look, before it wipes out Dryanda Woodland’s wild numbat population forever.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Numbat Task Force