Flood risks, election promises, a new Mining Minister, recovery plans, events and plenty of opportunities to have your say. Check out our latest Bulletin for all the news.
EDO Tasmania is a non-profit community legal centre advising on environmental and planning law. Our aim is to increase public awareness of environmental laws and remedies, and help the community to secure a healthy, sustainable Tasmania.
The Government has announced its intention to make changes to the way that salmon farms are regulated in Tasmania. Key aspects announced include:
- Responsibility for environmental management will be transferred from the Marine Farming Branch to the EPA
- Increasing penalties for breaches
- Imposing a new industry levy to increase resources available to Government for assessment and monitoring.
EDO Tasmania has been a strong advocate for greater independence and rigour in the monitoring and enforcement of marine farming activities. We look forward to hearing more detail about the proposed changes, but we’re cautiously optimistic that the changes will improve oversight of the salmon industry.
To find out more about the proposed changes, click here.
Critically endangered species and ecological communities should be afforded the strongest possible protection under Australia’s national environmental laws. Currently, inclusion of a threatened species or ecological community in the category representing the highest level of endangerment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 does little to increase the protection provided.
A new EDO Tasmania report, commissioned by the Bob Brown Foundation, outlines options to strengthen our national laws to more effectively manage the threat of extinction faced by listed species. Key reforms include:
- Streamlining assessment decisions
- Automatic ‘uplisting’ of species included on the IUCN Red List in the category of Critically Endangered
- Emergency listing powers for at-risk species and communities
- Requiring the Minister to act on advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee to list a species or community as Critically Endangered.
- Commonwealth, State and Territory threatened species assessment criteria must be synchronised to allow for reciprocal recognition of assessments
- Strengthening recovery actions
- Recovery plans to be developed or reviewed within 6 months of a species or ecological community being listed as critically endangered
- Recovery plans must identify critical habitat for the species, to be entered on the Critical Habitat Register
- Recovery plans must include clear performance indicators, and the Department of Environment must report against these indicators in its annual report
- Funding programmes should prioritise proposals that will further the survival of critically endangered species
- Avoiding impacts
- Any adverse impact on a critically endangered species or ecological community, including any adverse impact on listed critical habitat, should be considered “significant”
- Requiring the Minister to follow advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee regarding proposed actions which may impact on a critically endangered species or ecological community
- Powers to vary or revoke an approval where a threatened species or ecological community impacted by an activity is ‘uplisted’ to Critically Endangered
- Extend the obligation to protect critical habitat to all land tenures
- Repeal the RFA exemption
- Remove the exemption so the Commonwealth Minister can regain control over one of the key drivers of habitat loss for critically endangered species
- Encouraging strong action by State and Territory governments
- Encourage the Tasmanian government to implement agreed restrictions on broadscale clearing on private land
- Use COAG reforms to promote implementation of best practice laws for the protection of threatened species across the country, including through planning and building laws
To read the full report, click here.
Why are Australian sites left out of the latest UNESCO Climate Change World Heritage report? How is Tasmania’s faring in the renewable energy race? Where can you find out what election candidates think about nature laws? Why do our Aboriginal heritage laws need an urgent rethink? How many submissions did the Tasmanian Planning Commission receive on the draft State Planning Provisions? Find out in the latest edition of the EDO Bulletin.
To subscribe to the Bulletin, click here
Biodiversity conservation underlies both economic and ecological sustainability, supports health and well-being and builds resilience against a changing climate. The theme for International Biodiversity Day 2016, “Mainstreaming Biodiversity“, is a reminder that biodiversity considerations need to be integrated across a wide range of government, business and individual decisions.
Here are our suggestions on five key things the Federal Government can do, the State Government can do, and we can all do, to mainstream biodiversity and improve biodiversity conservation in Tasmania:
- Abolish exemptions for forestry activities taken under Regional Forest Agreements
- Require adequate food labelling so consumers can make informed decisions
- Ensure national scientific institutions, including the CSIRO, IMAS and the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, are adequately funded to advise on actions to protect biodiversity
- Ratify the COP21 Paris Agreement and adopt strong emissions reduction targets
- Abandon plans to reduce third party reviews under the EPBC Act – allowing interest groups to test decisions that will adversely impact on biodiversity improves the rigour of such decisions
- Extend the application of the Natural Assets Code under the draft State Planning Provisions and adopt biodiversity priority mapping that recognises the value of non-threatened vegetation in providing habitat corridors and future coastal refugia.
- Adopt a detailed biodiversity offsets policy to ensure offsets are rigorously assessed and used only where losses cannot be avoided, minimised and mitigated on-site
- Immediately implement amendments to the Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy to regulate broad-scale clearing on private land
- Remove “duty of care” provisions under the Forest Practices Code which limit the area of land on which natural values can be protected
- Remove restrictions preventing third party challenges to scientific data used to support decisions to approve large dams
All of us
- Desex, microchip and confine your cat
- Slow down when driving between dusk and dawn – roadkill remains a significant risk to Tasmania’s biodiversity
- Have your say on biodiversity issues, such as the Draft Cat Management Plan and rules for managing wild deer in Tasmania
- Make your vote count – enrol to vote and find out where your local member stands on issues affecting biodiversity
- If you have a wood heater, source your wood from authorised collectors only (better still, install an energy efficient heat pump)
And, one last thing we can all do… donate to local and national organisations working to protect biodiversity (including EDO Tasmania!)
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Shree Minerals had failed to comply with a requirement to move approx 80,000 cubic metres of potentially acid-forming mine waste (currently stored aboveground) into an in-ground pit by 8 May 2016. Today, the EPA Director confirmed that it has not taken enforcement action, and that Shree Minerals now intends to apply for a new permit to authorise the ongoing aboveground storage of the mine waste.
The original assessment by the EPA Board in 2012 concluded that in-ground storage was the only environmentally sound way to manage waste at Shree’s Nelson Bay River iron ore mine. In 2014, the Supreme Court rejected an amendment allowing aboveground storage, which led to the orders requiring the waste to be moved in-pit by May 2016.
To read the EPA’s statement, click here.
The statement cites multiple sources confirming that forestry operations conducted under the agreements have not delivered promised economic or environmental benefits, and continue to compromise biodiversity.
- If a tree falls: compliance failures in the public forests of New South Wales (2011)
- One Stop Chop: how Regional Forest Agreements streamline environmental destruction (2013)
- State Forests, National Interests: a review of the Tasmanian RFA (2015)
- Ignoring the science in failing to conserve a faunal icon (2015)
- Ticked off: how karri forest logging threatens wildlife and the credibility of the FSC standard (2015)
- Regional Forest Agreements in NSW: Have they achieved their aims? (2016)
The organisations called on the government to remove exemptions for assessment of forest operations, and require any proposals to log public native forests to be assessed under the EPBC Act.
To read the full statement, click here.
For news coverage regarding the statement, go to:
In 2014, the Tarkine National Coalition (represented by EDO Tasmania) successfully challenged an approval allowing Shree Minerals to store acid-forming waste rock aboveground, despite an EPA Board assessment indicating such storage posed significant environmental risks. Following the hearing, an Environment Protection Notice (EPN) was issued to Shree Minerals requiring the company to move the existing stockpile of waste rock back in-pit by 8 May 2016.
Shree Minerals has failed to comply with that requirement and is in breach of its EPN. The EPA is currently considering what action to take, but has indicated that Shree may apply for a further approval to allow the waste rock to remain above ground.
It is critical that the EPA takes seriously its compliance and enforcement role, and its duty to take steps to avoid environmental harm.
To read more about the original decision leading to the EPN being issued, click here.
The latest edition of the EDO Bulletin looks at swift parrots and the RFA, how to have your say on the draft Statewide Planning Provisions, budget allocations for the environment, updates on the Adani challenge, and the suggestion that environmental groups should all be planting trees.
To subscribe to the Bulletin, click here
Submissions on the draft Statewide Planning Provisions (SPPs) close on 18 May 2016. The SPPs will form the core part of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, and will make a number of significant changes to the way that use and development is assessment in Tasmania.
For a copy of the draft SPPs and explanatory guidelines, visit the Tasmanian Planning Commission website.
These guides have been produced to help you think about issues that may affect you. We encourage anyone who wants to help shape their community into the future to consider making a submission:
- Concerned about Climate Change and Sustainability?
- Concerned about Environmental Management?
- Concerned about Heritage and local character?
Other community sites that you may find useful include: