Environmental Justice Australia has commenced a new case in the Federal Court, for our clients the Green Wedges Coalition.
The case is a challenge to the decision by Senator Birmingham, the former Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, to approve the expansion of Melbourne’s urban growth boundary in the South-East of Melbourne under Federal environmental laws.
The expansion of the urban growth boundary will impact on the habitat of several species, including the Southern Brown Bandicoot, the Growling Grass Frog and certain types of endangered wetlands. We will be arguing that the impacts on certain threatened species were not properly considered when Senator Birmingham issued the approval.
More generally, we have real concerns that this approval is a wasted opportunity to allow urban growth whilst still protecting species. The Victorian government's application failed to fully implement a series of innovative measures, such as corridors for the bandicoots and the frogs, that would have ensured species and people could co-exist.
Disappointingly, the application was still approved by the Federal Environment Minister.
If the approval goes ahead in its current form, experts tell us that it is likely to result in the local extinction of the southern brown bandicoot.
The case will first come before the Court on 6 February, when we have a directions hearing.