Belmont Koala Forest and the Belmont Shooting Range

MINISTER STANDS BY HIS COMMITMENTS

“In regards to the wider environmental and biodiversity strategy, I acknowledge B4C’s concerns and reiterate my commitment to ensuring the appropriate strategies are in place to protect the flora and fauna.”
– Minister Mick de Brenni

B4C has been campaigning for some time for the Belmont Koala Forest (BKF) and the community has strongly supported us. The BKF comprises the Belmont Shooting Range and State Government land adjacent, including Mt Petrie, and also Council owned bushlands to the south – adding up to 541ha.

The forest and bushlands are species rich and covered by environmental values and policies clearly showing their community and environmental values. They link through to the Koala Bushlands and also link Tingalpa Creek and Bulimba Creek Catchments through active wildlife corridors.

A Ministerial Designation (MD) was initiated to build a new shotgun facility about 12 months ago. This type of planning tool overrides normal development assessment planning processes. An independent panel is currently finalising its revision of this planning and will present its advice shortly, we are assured.

Running separate to this MD is the issue of having such a large and wildlife rich natural area with NO MANAGEMENT PLAN at all. B4C has been consistently demanding the formulation of an Environmental and Biodiversity Management Strategy (EBMS) for the Koala Forest (541ha).

A period of 12 months has gone by and so we wrote to Minister Mick de Brenni. We asked why no progress had been made on the EBMS and if he stood by his commitment to finally take action (where others before him had not) on getting this essential planning done.

The South-East Advertiser, once again has supported the community call to action and the link to their story is https://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/southeast/call-to-protect-koala-forest-wildlife-from-shooting-range-expansion/news-story/ed88761606cc346e8a1120aea21290d6

Immediate success – a letter from Minister Mick de Brenni arrived on April 29th. The Minister confirmed his commitments given last year and his department has paved a road ahead to achieve the critically needed environmental planning for a great natural asset. Mr de Brenni stated, in part:

“In regards to the wider environmental and biodiversity strategy, I acknowledge B4C’s concerns and reiterate my commitment to ensuring the appropriate strategies are in place to protect the flora and fauna.”  And “My dept. is currently undertaking of the governance structure of the Belmont Shooting Complex, which is a vital initial step to inform the development of site wide management strategies, including Environment & Biodiversity.”

So the Department’s proposed way forward from here appears to be:

  • Let the Independent forum present its findings on the building of the shotgun facility.
  • Getting some clear air to reset the community consultation and planning process.
  • Complete the Review into the Governance Structure of the Shooting Complex.
  • Begin formulating a site-wide strategy to formulate an Environmental and Biodiversity Management Strategy. Including B4C and Council participation.

So, we are thankful that the Minister is supportive of ensuring the great community and environmental outcome we are hoping for. We appreciate his commitment to involve both B4C and BCC. We will keep pushing on this and keep the community informed.

Wayne Cameron
Catchment Manager
Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee

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