Proposed Peet Ltd Development Brigadoon
Home of Bell’s Rapids(The Avon Descent)
Last remaining natural forested area abutting the Swan River
Sits on the edge of the Darling Scarp at the entrance to the Avon Valley
Home of the endangered Carnaby’s and Forest-Red and vulnerable Baudin’s Black Cockatoo
Early Development History
In 1984 Bond Corp were given approval for development in Brigadoon and commenced stage 1 and
2. (Town Planning Scheme No 1 –amendment 119). Total lots not to exceed 390 and the Parks and
Recreation reserve as shown on the structure plan being transferred to the National Parks Authority
at the time of clearance of Stage 1 subdivision (final approval was given but parks and recreation land
was NOT transferred).
The 1989 Shire of Swan Special Rural Zone No 8A ‘Swan Special Rural Zone No 8A ‘Swan Valley
Special Rural and Recreation’ (Brigadoon Estate) principal objective was:
“to retain the high visual amenity and vegetation along the Darling ridge forming a link between
John Forrest and Waylunga National Park”.
Capping of lot numbers was introduced in recognition of the fire risk, fragility of the escarpment, land
capability and capacity of the access road
lot numbers for the Brigadoon Estate originally capped at 380 to 390 in TPS No 1 Amendment
increased to 427 in TPS No 9 Amendment No 45 (493 less 66 on Jumbuck Hill, not approved
on account of terrain and fire risk)
capping is still a requirement of TPS No 17
development was not referred under the Commonwealth Memorandum
Peet Ltd Proposed Development
214 lots on 450 hectares on the northern slopes of Brigadoon ranging in size from 1.5 hectares to
5.05 hectares, with average size being just under 1.9 hectares.
An additional 393 hectares is to be transferred back to the state for Parks and Recreation as per the
conditions of the original structure plan (93 hectares has already been paid for in full by the state and
is protected by a caveat).
Differences between Stages 1 and 2
Land mostly pastured farmland Land heavily forested with 100 year old trees
Majority of area minimal fire risk Extreme fire risk
No fire management plans, very little clearing Mandatory fire management plans will result in
Average lot size 4 hectares(stage 1) Average lot size under 1.9 hectares
The Gidgegannup/Brigadoon Place Plan recommends a minimum lot size of 4 hectares for Brigadoon.
November 2007 City of Swan(COS) Councillors voted to defer approval so that the
environmental issues brought to their attention through public deputation could be considered
January 2008 COS CEO stated that all environmental issues raised by the community had been
referred to DEC and that Council would now only consider planning issues.
February 2008 Council voted unanimously to approve the development with no further
assessment of the environmental issues.
Community Issues with the Approval Process
FOI has shown that the environmental issues were not referred to DEC, besides DEC was
not the referring entity and was not in a position to do anything.
No site visit was made by Councillors. Councillors were wrongly informed that the land
had been farmed and was largely cleared. Former Councillor and now Member for Swan
Hills, Frank Alban, has since stated publicly that had he visited the site before approval,
he would have voted against the development.
Council made no recommendation that the development be referred to the
Commonwealth on account of listed threatened species including the endangered
Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.
Referral to the Commonwealth
In November 2007, the Brigadoon Progress Association made a third party referral to the
After much lobbying by the public and frequent requess by the Commonwealth EPBC, Peet Ltd
eventually submitted a referral to the Commonwealth in June 2008.
Commonwealth Controlled Action
The Commonwealth called for public comment in June 2008, and in response to the public comment
and from their own observations, in July 2009 the Commonwealth deemed the proposed
development to be a Controlled Action, requiring further assessment under the Commonwealth’s
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
This assessment was to be driven by the proponent with the proponent addressing the following
Specification of the total amount of clearing required for the entire project site, inclusive of
building footprints and fire management controls, and additional infrastructure such as
Specification of the process individual landowners would need to undertake to clear areas on
their lot in excess of housing pads and fire breaks.
The conducting of surveys to determine whether or not the trees identified as identified as
breeding habitat trees have been utilised by the Baudin’s or Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo for
The undertaking of surveys for the presence on the site of all listed species including but not
limited to the Chuditch, the Black Flanked Wallaby and the Slender Tailflower and Curved
Leaf Grevillea, together with analysis of their use of the site and methodology used.
The Peet Ltd response was published on their website in December 2008, and the public were invited
to comment once again.
The Public’s Issues with the Peet Ltd Proposed Development
Over 50% of the vegetation would need to be cleared to meet with the requirements of
the building footprints and fire management controls.
The examination of the trees identified as breeding habitat trees was very perfunctory
without the use of a cherry picker.
Trappings of the listed threatened species was done outside of the seasons and at times
when the species were unlikely to be sighted and/or trapped.
Sightings of the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo were conducted on an opportunistic basis,
reporting occasional use of the site, whereas local residents, who have been conducting
counts on a scientific basis through the WA Museum, have reported large flock size,
regular use and breeding patterns of behaviour for both the Carnaby’s and the Forest-
Red Tail Black Cockatoos.
The environmental report was conducted by consultants appointed by the proponent,
and was very limited and biased towards the developer.
No scientific study has been made of the listed threatened species, for example, in the
case of the Carnaby’s, of their food requirements and the cycle of the high yield female
nuts provided by the red gums, nor have experts in the field been consulted.
The site is mostly of very good to excellent and pristine vegetation, is rated extreme fire
risk, and should never be developed.
The bush fire safety measures of 100 metre setback from the bushfire risk, and a proper
perimeter road around the development for areas of extreme fire risk have been
Peet Ltd’s Mitigation with the Commonwealth
Peet Ltd, in their mitigation with the Commonwealth, have under stated the amount of clearing
of vegetation that will be needed to comply with the fire management plan.
Further, Peet Ltd have reduced the fire risk of the entire site to that of medium risk on the
premise that future landowners would maintain the vegetation at a level of 4-6 tonnes per
hectare, and by building to Australian Standard 3959.
The vegetation is currently at a level of 8-10 tonnes plus over much of the site, and Peet Ltd
propose reducing the vegetation by means of a cool burn, residents would then need to maintain
the vegetation always at this level!
Reducing the fire risk to medium level enables the developer to drop the bushfire safety
measures of a 100 metre setback from the bush fire hazard, and a proper perimeter road around
Building to AS 3959 reduces the risk of ember attack on buildings, however it does not reduce
the level of impact of the fire, which with the very steep and vegetated escarpment around three
sides of the development, would be extremely high.
Peet Ltd have further proposed through their mitigation with the Commonwealth an extensive
revegetation program inclusive of:
1,000 eucalypt species on every individual lot, that is, a total of 214,000 seedlings
Further revegetation of 10 hectares of degraded land, 60 hectares within the road
reserves, and 100 hectares within the Parks and Recreation
This revegetation program does not equate with the clearing of vegetation to comply with the
fire management plan, and the community fear that it will put the lives of the new residents, the
existing residents and the fire fighters on the ground at risk.
The Brigadoon Progress Association has met with the Premier, Minister for Planning, Minister
for Emergency Services, Member for Swan Hills, FESA and the COS to voice their objections and
fears. It is of note that the Minister for the Environment has refused the community a meeting.
It would appear that our current State Government and local government decision makers, with
the exception of our Member for Swan Hills, have little interest in the environment and the
conservation of listed threatened and endangered species.
The Brigadoon Progress Association has also met with Peter Garrett, Federal Minister for the
Environment, who will make the final decision as to whether this development may proceed as
it now stands.