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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 August 1995) . . Page.. 1239 ..

Considerations for the determination of licence applications are framed around the activity and its purpose; the competence or suitability of the applicant to undertake the proposed activity; and the conservation or management requirements of a species or implications for the natural environment of a proposed activity. General considerations are qualified for species that are declared in recognition of particular management or conservation requirements.

Declared species with special requirements are scheduled according to the following categories: First of all, protected native plants and protected native animals are species requiring special attention to conservation needs or there are welfare or security implications associated with their being kept in captivity. Criteria are directed at restricting taking from the wild to special purposes, managing trade and ensuring that special requirements for security and welfare are established. Species with special protection status either are threatened with extinction or are a migratory animal subject to an international agreement for their protection. Conservation requirements are a paramount consideration and only activities related to conservation of the species or serving a special purpose are permissible. Prohibited and controlled organisms are those that pose or have the potential to pose a threat to the biological diversity of the ACT. Species may be declared and controlled activities prescribed to enhance their management.

Mr Speaker, a number of criteria are significant in terms of nature conservation initiatives and have implications for land planning and management in the Territory. As a general safety measure, and in accordance with principles in the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, there is reference to application of the precautionary principle in relation to species with special protection status. This means that, in the absence of scientific certainty, a conservative approach is taken to activities that may threaten conservation requirements. There is reference to the Territory's right to participate in economic benefits which may flow from research or development of a wild native animal or plant.

The criteria provide for the conservator to be able to consider the net nature conservation benefits of an activity that indirectly affects a species with special protection status. An example could be a land development proposal affecting threatened species that may not in itself satisfy licensing criteria, but where special provisions or commitments to nature conservation either within or outside the area of impact would result in enhanced conservation of the species concerned. This is an important issue particularly relevant to proposed developments in areas of the ACT that currently provide habitat crucial to the conservation of species with protection status.

A licence may include conditions that accompany an authorisation. Conditions may specify how the activity is to be conducted, including handling procedures, record keeping and reporting requirements, constraints on the activity, and where and when it is to be conducted. The conservator may vary the conditions attached to a licence in the light of changed conditions or new information relevant to the conservation requirements of the species concerned.

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