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Rare bird risk puts end to Hervey Bay project after 7 years

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A proposed retirement village in Queensland has been rejected in order to protect a critically endangered migratory bird.

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Environment Minister Sussan Ley has made the decision under Australia’s environmental protection laws, which are currently being changed to hand more power to the states.

Ley has refused the planned Turtle Cove Haven Retirement Village near Queensland’s Hervey Bay for its likely adverse impact on the eastern curlew and the Great Sandy Strait estuary.

It ends seven years of uncertainty.

“It has been determined that the development would have presented an unacceptable risk to important roosting habitat for the critically endangered eastern curlew in an area which regularly supports ecologically significant proportions of its global population,” the minister said.

“The decision ends seven years of uncertainty in relation to the site and underlines our commitment to strong environmental protection.”

Ley says the Great Sandy Strait is an important roosting and foraging ground for migratory shorebirds, and is home to many sea animals.

The federal government is under fire from environmentalists over its proposed changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which come ahead of a final review report.

States are being handed more decision-making power to prevent doubling up, but the underpinning national environmental standards haven’t been developed.

The Government has also rejected the interim review’s recommendation for an independent environment watchdog.

Former competition watchdog Graeme Samuel is conducting the once-in-a-decade review, which has so far found the current laws are ineffective and Australia’s environmental trajectory is unsustainable.

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