FAQ Submissions to the Minister must be made by 14 May 2014

This page was ceated to assist our supporters in making their submissions to the Department of the Environment to ensure that the porposal would be at the very least subject to a full environmental assessment. We are pleased that many supporters hundreds of submissions.

The next stage of the campaign will require us to once more make submissions – in July 2014. In the meantime you can continue to write to Sate and Federal politicians to make your objections to the proposal known.

For more details please see our TAKE ACTION NOW PAGE HERE…

The Q&As below related to the submissions for the EPBC referral in May 2014. Many of the points below are still relevant until such time that we see a further revised proposal.

Q. Why do I need to write another submission, didn’t I do that before?

The applicant originally first sought approval from the Trust in October 2013. The Trust asked for submissions from the public at that time. The applicant would have also subsequently needed approval from the Minister for the Environment

However, due to community opposition, the applicant withdrew its original proposal and last week submitted a new proposal.

It is allowed for the applicant to seek approval from the Minister first, and they have now decided to do that and at the same time have released a new proposal.

Q. How is the new proposal different?

The applicant’s new proposal removes the development of the 3 Barracks on the north side of Middle Head Road however they have significantly enlarged the development on the south side of the road and added a new carpark. For a preliminary analysis of the new proposal and how we believe it significantly affects the environment as defined by EPBC go HERE

To see the actual plan documents go HERE

Q. Can I use a letter I have written in the past?

YES! Most of the points in your previous letter would still apply and this is entirely OK. Simply remove references to the 3 Barracks

Q. What is the applicant asking the Minister to do?

The applicant is claiming that the new proposal is NOT a controlled action and does not have a significant impact on the “environment” and needs no further assessment.

Q. Does HPG agree with this?

NO! We are certain that the new aged care home proposal would have a significant impact on the “environment”.

Q. What is the Minister looking for in my submission?

The Minister is looking for things about the new proposal that significantly affect the “environment” (defined in the “EPBC Act”) so as to determine whether the proposal is a “controlled action”. See definitions below.

Please tell the Minister the following:

“I strongly object to the claim by the applicant for a residential health care facility (formerly referred to as aged care) on Middle Head public parkland is “not a controlled action”. The proposal would in fact have an enormous impact on matters protected by the EPBC Act.”

Q. What is “the environment”?

The environment is defined as:

  1. ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities
  2. natural and physical resources;
  3. the qualities and character of locations, places and areas, which includes a building or other structure, or group of buildings or other structures (which may include equipment, furniture, fittings and articles associated or connected with the building or structure, or group of buildings or structures);
  4. heritage values of places which includes the place’s natural and cultural environment having aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance, or other significance, for current and future generations of Australians; and
  5. the social, economic and cultural aspects of a thing mentioned in one of the previous four paragraphs.

Q. What is a “controlled action”?

If the new proposal significantly affects the “environment as defined above”, it will be deemed a “controlled action” and would need further assessment.

Q. In the case of this aged care proposal, what are the most significant impacts?

By far the biggest impact is the loss of natural and cultural heritage.

There will be the demolition of most of the existing buildings which are all listed on the Commonwealth heritage list and are rated with exceptional heritage value by the Trust’s own Conservation Management Plan.

There will be loss of natural heritage because the new massive 2-storey building will scar the headland and be visible from within and without (from the Harbour).

Q. Should I talk about the loss of public parkland in my submission?

Yes. These categories are broad.

In the opinion of our lawyers, the loss of public access to what is now public parkland would alter the quality and character of the location and would affect the social and cultural aspects of the location.

As a result, this impact would be a relevant consideration in determining whether the proposed development would have a significant impact on the environment.

Submissions on this point should describe how the quality and character of the location will be adversely affected, having regard to the nature and scope of public access and use of the area now as compared to what would happen if the development were to proceed.

It will then be up to the decision maker to conclude whether or not the alteration in the quality and character of the environment as a result of the loss of public access is such that the proposed impact on the environment of the development is ‘significant’.

Q. Where can I find the developer’s documents?

You can find the new plan HERE

Q. When is my submission due?

By May 14

Q. What are the rules for making my submission and where do I send it?

Here is what is on the Department of Environment website. Please do not be daunted by this, they will not “throw out” your letter and the scope of the Act is Broad. We have simply included the specific language here for your convenience.

  1. Clearly reference the referral (EPBC number and proposal title) in your submission.a. Middle Head Healthcare Pty Ltd / Residential Development / Middle Head Road, Middle Head, Mosman, NSW / Development of a Residential Care Facility b. Referral reference No. 2014/7194
  2. State clearly whether, and how, you believe the proposal would have a significant impact on matters protected by the EPBC Act. The Minister, or their delegate, can only take into account comments, concerns or issues in respect to the specific matters of national environmental significance or matters protected under the EPBC Act. Be specific by stating which aspects of the proposal would impact on matters (e.g. a particular listed species or heritage value).
  3. If you believe the information in the referral is misleading or incorrect, you should state the reasons why and provide correct information, if available.
  4. Give the source of any key information used in reaching your conclusion.
  5. Provide clear contact details if the Department needs to get in touch with you to seek clarification.
  6. Provide comments by the due date. If your comments are going to be late, please contact the Department before the due date, and advise of your intention to provide comment, and the date the comment will be provided. The Department will advise you if the comments can be accepted.
  7. Please note: Submissions may be subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, and may be provided to third parties for procedural fairness purposes (also known as natural justice).
  8. Public submissions are not normally confidential, however if you wish your submission to be treated by the Department as confidential, please mark it clearly as ‘confidential’ and provide your reasons for it to be considered as such. The Department will use its best endeavours to deal with the submission accordingly but this does not make it automatically exempt from release.
  9. If you require further information you can contact the Department’s Community Information Unit by email [email protected], or freecall 1800 803 772.
  10. Please send your comments quoting the reference number and title of the referral to:

Email: [email protected]
Fax: 02 6274 1789

Or post to:

Referral Business Entry Point, EIA Policy Section (EPBC Act)
Approvals and Wildlife Division
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Please send a copy of your submission to us!

Please send it to [email protected] We won’t publish without your permission (with your name or anonymously), but this would enable us to be sure to have a record all submissions.

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