The Federal Government has announced it will assess the contentious Gnarabup resort and village proposal under environmental protection laws. The Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water revealed the move this week following a formal decision on August 26. Meanwhile, the Luke Saraceni-led project will also undergo scrutiny by WA’s Environmental Protection Authority which could further delay the landmark tourism project earmarked for the Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa and an associated mixed-use, tourism-heavy village development which includes several shops and a de facto town centre for the coastal hamlet. Preserve Gnarabup activist group spokeswoman Beth Carlessi, who pushed for the assessment, welcomed the decision as a ratification of the group’s concerns about native wildlife. “It shows the importance the Federal Government places on the presence of threatened species and migratory species which we all know use this site,” she said. “The western ringtail possums are particularly important. “That species is not expected to exist within 20 years. It cannot afford to lose this habitat.” Preserve Gnarabup previously commissioned its own environmental as well as bushfire risk studies as part of a protest against the project. DCCEEW would assess the site under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as a “controlled action”. The notice listed “threatened species and communities” and “threatened migratory species” in its justification. The first step involved submitting preliminary documentation which does not guarantee further Federal action. The Saracen Property Group did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.