Kings Forest Development ( by Leda ), The NSW State Government, and Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 – will it cause a change in NSW Environmental Planning Laws?

The Kings Forest Development (Leda Group) shows us some interesting facts about the “perceived right of way” by developers concerning inappropriate development of sensitive areas on the Far North Coast of New South Wales.

The EDO (Environmental Defenders)  has highlighted that  Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 has resulted in “The limited capacity for members of the community, or even other environmental agencies, to have their voice heard and the reduced rights to seek justice in the Land and Environment Court also suggest that the NSW Government considers that development ranks ahead of the environment, whether that development is sustainable or not”.

It is interesting to think that government decisions that condone inappropriate, non sustainable engineering would exist today given that so much law is being created, money and effort being spent in preserving our crisis ridden environment and its critical disappearance of biodiverse habitats.

I should think that, if one NSW Government Minister/ Director General has the right to veto or modify or condone non sustainable development  at Kings Forest, then this can happen anywhere in the State of NSW.  What will this upcoming decision mean for NSW?  - for Australia? – for the biodiversity of the world?

Stateline NSW : “NSW planning laws under further scrutiny” 2nd Oct. 2009 and the Stateline NSW archive .

Well, if the Minister/Director General vetos, halts or otherwise restricts development in Kings Forest, then State Significant Sites, such as Kings Forest will remain that – Significant.

A precautionary word here.  Should the Minister/Director General and hence, NSW Government, chose to let inappropriate and very damaging land clearing, habitat destruction and inappropriate residential development occur, then clearly, will it be those individuals who are directly responsible for the damage?

Where does the legal responsibility lie here?  How do courts even manage to test this case, if it is not able to be tested in a court of law? Where does the responsibility lie? If not in the courts, does this mean that it is the direct responsibility of the Minister/Director General  alone?

And what type of government is not accountable to the people who elected it?  Surely this NSW Government is accountable somewhere, for it’s development approval decisions.

Development is something that will always occur, given the social and economic structure of the world. Developers will always be part of this society and economy, as it goes. Not all developments are “bad”, non sustainable or destructive to the environment.

The Kings Forest Residential Development  ( Tweed Shire ), as seen by the planning documents, is extremely inappropriate and threatening to already threatened species.  The Kings Forest Residential Development, as stands, IS indeed potentially very damaging.  21 threatened species, their restricted and already fragmented habitats, their vulnerability, their capacity to survive intense non sustainable development practices testify to this.

The Kings Forest planning documents show little ” fact”  to convince me that sustainable outcomes (for those 21 species of  threatened native fauna and the vital part they play in the fragile network of threatened species within the NE NSW Region and Mt Warning Caldera Region) will be realised by such a development. This development is on a large scale. Kings Forest IS a State Significant Site. It contains a very large number of threatened species in an already fragmented habitat situation.

Development assurances only on paper, caring “motherhood statements” by developer paid consultants, inability to have standard legal avenues open to protect and advocate for these threatened species – all these things need to be addressed.

The   Caldera Environment Centre in NE NSW, Australia shows insights,  in their submission to the NSW Government and objection to the planned Kings Forest and Cobakai Lakes Development , summing up  the King’s Forest Project situation very clearly. You should have a read of this Submission HERE.

Kings Forest is a powerful place, and development within this area has been historically hard to implement.

The Australian Government, in its wisdom, chose to not list the Koala as a threatened species, although documents show that the Koala is increasingly under pressure within the North Coast region of NSW.  Why did Australia chose to be part of the Agenda 21?

Kings Forest is  a powerful place. Generations of spiritual  guardians, and land custodians have held this place in a natural heritage beauty and sustainable biodiverse capacity and resilience for thousands of years.  The taking away of even small biodiverse components from an area, so fragmented and isolated now, and, as other developments increase within and about it, will result in an immediate lack of biodiversity and cultural heritage significance.

However, I suspect, that bigger wheels are in play here. And while the big wheels of government and money turn powerfully, the biggest wheel of all is nature.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act1979 – New South Wales Consolidated Acts at AustLII (Australasian Legal Information Institute - A joint facility of UTS and UNSW Faculties of Law)

News Article referring to Kings Beach Development Proposal as a “world standard” environmental management plan by Leda Development’s Regional Manager- Mr Van Rij , December 2008

Ecological communities - their importance, linking, laws, learning at NSW Government of Environment & Climate Change – Threatened Species & Ecological Communities

“A preliminary investigation of the distribution of koalas and their potential habitat in the Tweed Shire, and implications for management”  by Judy Faulks . Find article at – Australian Zoologist, June 1991 Vol. 27(1 & 2)

search for  Aboriginal  (Indigenous peoples) research literature for the North Coast of NSW at the Libraries Australia Search

Ian Cohen media release :Kings Forest 11th March 2010

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