Update – Declaration of Oxleyan Pygmy Perch critical habitat

A preliminary identification of critical habitat was publicly exhibited from 3 February to 12 March 2010. The areas identified included all public land where Oxleyan Pygmy Perch are known or are likely to occur.  

Before deciding whether an area should be declared critical habitat, the Minister must consider submissions received from the public, and has a particular obligation to consider submissions received from public authorities exercising functions in the affected areas.  

Following a review of the submissions, a decision has been taken not to proceed with a final declaration of critical habitat for the following reasons:  

  • Concern and objections from several public authorities exercising functions in the affected areas about the impact of a critical habitat declaration on operational matters. These matters included bush fire hazard reduction activities and the ability to protect persons from injury or death, and property from damage arising from fire, and
  • Advice from the Commonwealth Government indicating that environmental management systems are already in place on Commonwealth lands to protect Oxleyan Pygmy Perch and to meet legislative obligations under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The Commonwealth Government has not declared critical habitat for the species under the provisions of the EPBC Act.  

Substantial progress has been made in implementing the National Recovery Plan for Oxleyan Pygmy Perch to assist with the recovery of the species. This includes for example:  

  • Extensive surveys for the species and impact minimisation prescriptions during the planning, construction and long term operation of the Pacific Highway upgrade;
  • The provision of detailed habitat maps to Forestry NSW as part of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval process for the Upper North East Region to ensure impacts are minimised during harvest activities;
  • Input into fire management plans for relevant national parks to reduce the impacts of fire on the species and its habitat; and
  • Liaison with relevant state and local government bodies in relation to impact assessment requirements, stormwater management, and water sensitive urban design.