The Environmental Protection Authority has set level of assessment and released advice and recommendations to the Minister for Environment on the proposal by the Department of Environment and Conservation to construct and maintain a 45 kilometre coastal walk trail from Point Ann to Hamersley Inlet, through the Wilderness Management Zone of the Fitzgerald River National Park. Release Date:
2 May 2011Details:
Camping facilities such as sleeping huts, water collection facilities and toilets would be constructed at camping points along the walk trail. The proposal would also require vehicle access tracks for ongoing maintenance of the walk trail, camping facilities and emergency response.
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said the EPA considers that the proposal, as described, cannot meet the EPA’s environmental objectives for biodiversity due to the potential introduction and spread of Phytophthora dieback into uninfected areas of the Fitzgerald River National Park Wilderness Management Zone.
‘Therefore, the EPA has determined that the level of assessment for the proposal is Assessment on Proponent Information (API) Category B (environmentally unacceptable), Dr Vogel said.
‘However, if the Minister, after considering EPA Report 1396 and any potential appeals, decides to approve the walk trail, the EPA would support a modified proposal that does not traverse the Wilderness Management Zone between Point Charles and Quoin Head.
‘While acknowledging the ongoing difficulty in setting and resourcing conservation priorities by the DEC, it is the EPA’s view that the current resources allocated by the DEC to manage the Fitzgerald River National Park are inadequate and insufficient to manage the existing risk to the National Park of further outbreaks of Phytophthora dieback.
‘The EPA considers that because the Fitzgerald River NP is the largest and most biologically significant conservation area in the south west of Western Australia and is also an internationally recognised significant area of biodiversity, every measure available to prevent increasing the risk of spreading Phytophthora dieback should be taken, especially when those risks are preventable.
‘Therefore the EPA has recommended additional resources are dedicated to the modified walk trail, if approved, in perpetuity to ensure the use of the walk trail is properly managed.
EPA 1396 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au. There is a two week public appeal period on the report’s contents closing 2 May, 2011.
EPA Media contact: Charlie Maling, 6467 5415, 0400 866 450