Chalumbin

Caring for the environment

Renewable energy is better for the environment. Australia's electricity market is in transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy as a necessary strategy to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

This part of northern Queensland is blessed with scenic areas and national parks including Millstream Falls National Park, Koombooloomba National Park and Tully Falls National Park, part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Avoiding and minimising impacts to local flora and fauna species and the area’s biodiversity is a priority. Developing Queensland’s and Australia’s renewable energy capacity and protecting local wildlife are both critically important, and not incompatible objectives – it just requires careful planning and management, and the right approach

The project has been designed to avoid all direct impacts on the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and rainforest. Epuron and its consulting ecologists have involved and will continue to involve land managers and wildlife stakeholders for the Tully Falls National Park and World Heritage Area. This includes the Wet Tropics Management Authority, the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, Bush Heritage Australia and Terrain NRM.

Ecological assessment

A thorough and comprehensive ecological assessment will be done in accordance with state and federal requirements. This involves investigating flora and fauna species and habitats by conducting field studies and surveys over multiple seasons, and risk modelling to assess and mitigate potential impacts, in particular for species, habitat and on-site vegetation.

Teams of independent specialists from leading Queensland-based environmental advisory group Attexo have conducted various on site surveys, including for vegetation, regional ecosystem mapping, listed plant species, and fauna species in both wet and dry seasons. Ecologists based in Ravenshoe and Malanda have also been involved in the ecological survey work that has been done so far.

Ecology work is ongoing and further surveys are planned.

Epuron is committed to working closely with its ecology consultants and environmental scientists to develop strategies for a net positive outcome for the area’s biodiversity over the longer term.

Commonwealth guidance

Epuron referred the proposal to the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for review under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the delegate of the Minister has determined that the project is to be a ‘controlled action’. This means that the project will also require assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed.

The project’s EPBC Act referral decision (reference number 2021/8983) is available on the EPBC Act - Public notices portal.