Plans to clear forest on the bushfire-ravaged NSW South Coast to make way for homes have been referred to the federal environment minister, a community group says.
The land owner has referred the Manyana Beach Estate development for review by Environment Minister Sussan Ley, the Manyana Matters Environmental Association says.
Residents of Manyana have been protesting plans by Ozy Homes to build 180 homes on the land, arguing too much local bushland has already been lost to recent fires.
The project and its impact on plants and wildlife will now be assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, in a decision welcomed by the MMEA.
"It's great to see the owner agrees with us that this project needs a proper assessment in terms of its impact on vulnerable flora and fauna," MMEA spokeswoman Jorj Lowrey said in a statement.
"We've long understood the ecological heritage and value of this land. It's only become even more significant since this summer's devastating bushfires."
The MMEA says a public consultation period will run until July 8 before the minister assesses whether the project qualifies as a "controlled action" and requires further scrutiny.