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From: "Edwards, Craig"

Subject: RE: unauthorised clearing at the TollMermaid site
Date: 27 November 2013 3:07:40 PM AWST
Apologies for not having responded to your email of 15
November, however hopefully you received the out of
office advice that I was on leave until 25 November. I
have since conducted a review of this complaint
including actions undertaken by the Broome office of
the then Department of Environment and
Conservation (DEC now Department of Environment
Regulation DER). The alleged unlawful clearing has
been assessed against the ten clearing principles,
used during the assessment process for any permit
application. It has also been assessed against the
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy of DER.
In this instance the outcome determined is a letter of
education being sent to the occupiers of the land, Toll
Mermaid. The clearing they conducted was
approximately 0.9hectares in total. It is of importance
to note that at the time of the clearing, the monsoon
vine thicket vegetation had not been listed under the
Commonwealth legislation, and was not listed as a
threatened ecological community under Western
Australian legislation the Environmental Protection
Act 1986 (the EP Act).
There was limited clearing of native vegetation on the
property which could be conducted under exemption
via the EP Act, or the Environmental Protection
(Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004 (the
Regulations). This clearing had to be for a purpose
defined within the regulations or the EP Act, and could
not exceed one hectare in any year. Exemptions

include but are not limited to clearing for the

construction or maintenance of fence lines,
construction of lawful buildings, and clearing required
under another lawful authority. This last exemption
includes any clearing required under a fire break
At the time of the clearing the fence line and the shed
as constructed with its ancillary areas were exempt.
The Shire of Broome fire break notice further required
a 20 metre fire hazard protection zone around the
building, as well as a minimum of three metre wide
track on the external boundary. This clearing does not
form part of the one hectare restriction as it is
authorised under Schedule 6 of the EP Act, not the
After these areas were excised, the total area cleared
without exemption is approximately 0.5 hectares.
When the size of the clearing was considered with the
other factors it was determined that a letter of
education was the sanction consistent with the DER
response to similar incidents. The letter included
information regarding the vegetation now being
protected through Commonwealth law, as well as fact
sheets for the clearing of native vegetation in Western
Australia. Toll-Mermaid were advised against any
further clearing on the property without a permit being
In regards to the Broome Port having its clearing
permit applications, or active permits revoked or
suspended I can advise you this will not occur. The
Broome Port Authority leases the land to Toll-Mermaid
and accordingly are not in day to day control of the
site. It is more appropriate to deal with the occupier of
the land in this instance. As the non-compliance with
the EP Act was not conducted by the Port Authority it
would not be reasonable to consider it against any

active permits, or current applications they may have

with DER.
All clearing permit applications are advertised through
DER and there is capacity for any member of the
pubic, or other interested party, to make submission in
regards the application. All submissions are
considered by DER through the assessment process.
After a permit is granted or refused there exists a
statutory appeals period. At the completion of this
time it is not appropriate for DER to take submissions
from any party.
Should you have any queries or wish to discuss this
matter further please feel free to contact me via email
or telephone on 6467 5047.

Craig Edwards
Senior Investigator
Compliance and Audit Section
Native Vegetation Conservation Branch

(p) 6467 5047
(f) 6467 5532