The decision in Polaris Pty Ltd v Minister for the Environment  FCA 254 is notable for its consideration of the meaning of the term “likely” in ss 18 and 18A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act). As the Court acknowledged in its reasons, the proper construction of this term had not been authoritatively decided. The applicant in this dispute proposed a medium and high-density residential development in Coomera, Queensland. The proposed development would require the destruction of about 135 hectares of Koala habitat.
Scott McLeod QC and Angus O’Brien appeared for the Applicant. In this case note, counsel detail the possible implications of the decision on those involved in, and advisors to, development projects impacting fauna habitat in Queensland, Australia.