The Threatened Species Conservation Amendment Act 2002 revised the factors that need to be considered when assessing whether an action, development or activity is likely to significantly affect threatened species, populations or ecological communities, or their habitats, previously known as the ‘8-part test.’ The changes affect s. 5A EP&A Act, s. 94 Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) and s. 220ZZ Fisheries Management Act 1994 (FM Act).
These revised factors of assessment maintain the earlier intent of the legislation but focus particularly on likely impacts to the local rather than the regional environment. The reason for the shift to a local focus is that the long-term loss of biodiversity at all levels arises mainly from the accumulation of losses and depletions of populations at a local level. This is the broad principle underpinning the TSC Act, state and federal biodiversity strategies, and international agreements.
The consideration of impacts at a local level is also designed to make it easier for local government to assess, and easier for applicants and consultants to undertake the assessment of significance because there is no longer a need to research regional and state-wide information.
The assessment of significance is the first step in considering potential impacts. When a significant effect is likely, further consideration is required and is more appropriately carried out when preparing a species impact statement.
Photo: Major Mitchell cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) / J Cooper