Conservationists win victory in fight for Lawson grasslands

In a victory for local conservation action, Defence Housing Australia’s (DHA) request to almost halve its proposed development over the Lawson grasslands in north Canberra has been approved.

DHA’s plan to develop 443 homes on 47 hectares at the former Belconnen Naval Station met with strong opposition from residents and conservation groups who said the development would destroy grasslands that were home to hundreds of native plants and species, including the vulnerable Golden Sun Moth ( Synemon plana) and Striped Legless lizard. (Delmar impar).

NPA ACT was among the groups that made a submission opposing the proposal.

In December 2023, DHA submitted a variation to the proposal to reduce the project area from 47.1 hectares (ha) to 24.05 ha. The federal environment department approved the variation request in January. However, in the new 2023 master plan a significant amount of critically endangered Natural Temperate Grassland and Box Gum Woodland is still being cleared.

‘With the health of our natural world declining and animals such as our Gang-gang cockatoo increasingly losing habitat this impact is unacceptable,' says the Conservation Council ACT Region.

The proposal is still subject to a full environmental impact statement under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.