EPBC Act - Council’s offset obligations

As part of the Commonwealth approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation act 1999 (EPBC Act) for the Gourlay Road duplication project within Caroline Springs, Melton City Council was required to establish a Spiny Rice-flower offset area. This offset area was established within Mount Cottrell Recreation Reserve, Mount Cottrell (EPBC reference 2009/5247); a site known to support a population of Spiny Rice-flower.  Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens) is listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act.

The proposed action included the upgrade of Gourlay Road to a two-lane, two-way divided road and removal of associated native vegetation on Gourlay Road between Hume Drive and Becca Way, Caroline Springs.  The proposed action was determined to be a controlled action under the EPBC Act. The controlling provisions were listed threatened species and communities (Sections 18 and 18A).

An Offset Management Plan for the 3 hectare management area within Mount Cottrell Recreation Reserve was prepared by consultants (Biosis, 2013) and approved by the Commonwealth Environment Minister on 12 December 2013.  The site is protected by a Trust for Nature Covenant.  

Melton City Council commenced the ten years of formal management under the Offset Management Plan from November 2014.  Melton City Council reports annually on progress to the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy.  Our annual report provides a summary of management actions completed during the reporting year, success of those actions, recommendations and monitoring results.  Melton City Council undertakes annual monitoring of general vegetation condition, Spiny Rice-flower population counts, and photo-point monitoring.