Could the spotted-tailed quoll stop the Cherrabah development?
Could the spotted-tailed quoll stop the Cherrabah development? Bruce Thomson, EPA.

Resort future depends on quoll

A TURTLE and a couple of fish species was all it took for the Federal Government to put the Queensland Government back in its box and scrap the Traveston Crossing Dam.

The orange-bellied parrot halted wind farms, the spotted handfish stopped waterway development and a tiny, blind spider-like creature stopped a mine.

But the local question is, can the spotted tailed quoll stop the construction of mega resort Cherrabah?

A spokeswoman for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities yesterday confirmed that the application for the massive development at Elbow Valley had been brought before the department because it was likely to have a significant impact and must be assessed.

Though she couldn’t give a timeline for a decision, she said the resort owners would have to prepare a detailed assessment.

“The timing of the assessment depends on how long it takes for the developer to provide the documentation needed for the assessment,” she said.

“Once all the required documentation has been compiled for the assessment, it will be open for public comment for a minimum period of 10 business days.”

The Chinese owners of Cherrabah, Joyful View Garden Real Estate, will have to advertise on their website and in the newspaper of this period.

The Minister, or a delegate of the Minister, then has 40 business days to decide whether or not to approve the proposed action.

The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 manages matters of national significance such as nationally threatened species.

Cherrabah is considered one of the only strongholds in south Queensland, according to reports.

Under the Act, should the Minister decide the development of an 846 hectare resort, which could house almost 2000 permanent residents and just under 2000 tourists, would seriously impact the future of the spotted-tailed quoll, he could stop it from going ahead.

The project received planning approval in a special council meeting this week, subject to conditions, but the Federal Government has the power to trump that, as it famously did in the State Government’s Traveston Crossing Dam on the Mary River, where the Mary Turtle, Queensland lungfish and Mary River cod live.

According to a spokeswoman from the Cherrabah owners’ consultants, Urbis, they are currently responding to a request for information.

The Preliminary Documentation requested includes further information, analysis and proposed mitigation measures in relation to species including the spotted tailed quoll, survey data on endangered grasslands potentially existing in the area of the site, and discussion of the social, economic and environmental aspects of the proposed development, she said.

“Significant work has already been undertaken by specialist project consultants including surveys concluding that the grasslands cited by the department are not contained on the site.

“The project’s contribution towards threats to the relevant endangered or vulnerable species has furthermore been assessed as being generally low.”


The process:

Once the department has all the relevant information on quolls, the public will have 10 days to comment.

The department will decide within 40 days what to do about the development.

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