The Heathcote Ridge, West Menai area was zoned for urban development. But studies found several protected animals, plants, habitats or places in the area. In 2011, the Australian Government and the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council agreed to a strategic assessment. Strategic assessments let us consider impacts to protected matters on a broad scale. Projects or activities covered by an approved strategic assessment do not need individual approval.
Strategic assessments are a collaboration between the Australian Government and an assessment partner. This collaboration allows for a big-picture approach to safeguarding protected matters from the impacts of development over a long time.
The Heathcote Ridge, West Menai (NSW) strategic assessment on this page is finalised. This means the Environment minister agreed to areas where development is allowed. The partner must now implement the environment activities and is restricted to agreed developments in the program.
The partner must also continue to report to the Australian Government, if requested, until 31 December 2060 that the program's requirements are being implemented.
The Heathcote Ridge site contains 849 ha of mostly undeveloped land in the West Menai area. It includes the southern Sydney suburbs of:
- Barden Ridge
- Lucas Heights.
View a map and image of the Heathcote Ridge site.
The Sutherland Shire Local Environment Plan 2000 zoned the site 1(b) Rural (Future Urban). The Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council (GLALC) wanted the site rezoned for:
- 566 ha of conservation area
- 283 ha of land for urban purposes, including a new village centre, residential land, open spaces and sportsfields
- a visitors and cultural heritage centre as a gateway to the proposed Heathcote Conservation Area
- distinct residential neighbourhoods linked together via walking trails, pathways and a central collector road spine
- an east west arterial road connecting New Illawarra Road with Heathcote Road
- bushfire management measures including asset protection zones, access routes and water services and neighbourhood safe places.
Studies at the site identified protected matters, including the:
- Shale Sandstone Transition Forest (endangered)
- Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (critically endangered)
- Acacia bynoeana (vulnerable)
- Melaleuca deanii (vulnerable).
On 16 November 2011, the Australian Government and GLALC agreed to a strategic assessment.
Strategic assessment (PDF 475 KB)
Strategic assessment (DOC 3.5 MB)
Terms of reference
The terms of reference for a strategic assessment detail how the strategic assessment partner is to assess the impacts of their proposed development activities.
The Heathcote Ridge Draft Program Report covered:
- planning, development and conservation guidelines
- principles for urban development, infrastructure and conservation zones.
The draft program report and strategic assessment were open for public comment from 14 December 2011 to 29 February 2012.
Response to EPBC Submissions Heathcote Ridge, West Menai (PDF 548 KB)
Response to EPBC Submissions Heathcote Ridge, West Menai (DOC 2.2 MB)
Draft Strategic Assessment Report, Heathcote Ridge, West Menai (PDF 4.49 MB)
Draft Strategic Assessment Report, Heathcote Ridge, West Menai (DOC 6.35 MB)
In February 2013, the program report for the strategic assessment of the Heathcote Ridge development was released.
Program Report for the Strategic Assessment of the Heathcote Ridge Development, West Menai (PDF 3.05 MB)
Program Report for the Strategic Assessment of the Heathcote Ridge Development, West Menai (DOC 4.3 MB)
The Environment minister endorsed the program on 30 May 2013.
Endorsement notice of the program for the Heathcote Ridge Development, West Menai (PDF 90 KB)
Endorsement notice of the program for the Heathcote Ridge Development, West Menai (DOCX 48 KB)
On 24 June 2013, the minister approved the program's classes of actions.
Final approval decision for taking actions associated with the Heathcote Ridge Development, West Menai (PDF 97 KB)
Final approval decision for taking actions associated with the Heathcote Ridge Development, West Menai (DOC 31 KB)
The program is valid until 31 December 2060.
GLALC must provide a report for the first 5 years after the project starts. The reports are intended to highlight the conservation area and biodiversity management of the previous year. They must cover:
- the status of the development, and of establishing and managing the conservation area
- the success of translocation
- any unforeseen impact on protected matters
- actions to address.
The Australian Government can also request additional reports.
In 2022, GLALC advised the development had not yet started.
Get in touch
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- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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