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Climate change will exacerbate the suite of existing threats to biodiversity posed by human activity. While climate change considerations are currently incorporated into aspects of coastal land use planning in New South Wales, little effort has been made to include climate change considerations into the assessment of biodiversity impacts for development activities elsewhere. The legislation from which current ecological assessment procedures originate (e.g. the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)) predates the recognition of climate change as a major threat to biodiversity and they need to be adapted to respond to climate change pressures on biodiversity. Here it is recommended that species sensitive to effects of climate change should be included on threatened species lists under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the EPBC Act. An assessment procedure for incorporating these species into ecological impact assessment is suggested. The ability to provide for climate change adaptation for such species through mitigation and compensatory measures is also explored.

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