Minster for the Environment Greg Hunt has today been granted leave to intervene in the appeal against the Federal Court judgment that protects Aboriginal heritage in Tasmania’s Tarkine / takayna coast from destructive off-road vehicles.
The State Government is appealing the decision of Justice Mortimer in the 4WD tracks case, and the Minister for the Environment will now also make arguments challenging Justice Mortimer’s interpretation of the EPBC Act.
Please help EDO Tasmania and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre fight this appeal to ensure Tasmania’s Aboriginal heritage receives the full protection of the law:
The Senate Committee inquiring into the threat of Marine Plastics released its final report on 20 April 2016. The report acknowledges the ecological risks currently posed by marine pollution and the scale of the problem. The report makes a number of strong recommendations, including:
- research into the extent and sources of, and risks from, marine plastics, with funding contributions from signatories to the Australian Packing Covenant;
- establishing a marine pollution database;
- urgent ban on products containing microbeads;
- support for plastic bag bans in all States;
- support for research into ghost nets and ways to prevent the loss of fishing gear at sea;
- encourage states and Territories to introduce container deposit legislation by 2020.
To read the report, click here. To read the EDOs of Australia submission to the Inquiry, click here.
Every May, EDO Tasmania asks supporters to “forgo” one thing they would normally spend money on and instead donate that money to the EDO. You can forgo once, or forgo for the whole month; forgo something big or forgo something small – it’s up to you, and every bit helps!
What will YOU forgo for EDO?
Find out more here.
The Director of National Parks and Wildlife has released his report responding to representations on the draft TWWHA Management Plan. You can download the report here.
Key recommended amendments in response to representations (and the recent Reactive Monitoring Mission report) include:
- The Remote Recreation Zone will revert back to the Wilderness Zone, with 2005 wilderness mapping tools used to determine the extent of the zone. While the report acknowledges that wilderness values exist in each of the zones, wilderness values will not be an additional criteria for developments outside Wilderness Zone;
- Built infrastructure and commercial aircraft landings will be prohibited in the Wilderness Zone;
- The Styx Big Tree Reserve area will be designated as a Visitor Services Zone;
- Up to 11 commercial huts will be permitted on the Overland Track, and 6 commercial huts on the South Coast track;
- Wilderness management principles will recognise the fundamental need for cultural practice and access to country for Tasmanian Aboriginal people;
- Special species timber harvesting will be prohibited in all areas of the TWWHA;
- A preliminary cultural heritage assessment will be completed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage Council by 2017, and will set out a timeline for a comprehensive programme of cultural heritage surveys and consultation;
- Objectives will explicitly provide for the identification, protection and restoration of cultural values in the TWWHA, recognising that the TWWHA is an Aboriginal cultural landscape;
- A Strategic Management Statement will be included to guide management of land within the TWWHA not covered by the TWWHA management plan (such as Future Potential Production Forest land) while the government seeks to convert the land to reserves under the Nature Conservation Act 2002.
The report does not recommend any changes to the fire management provisions in the draft plan.
The World Heritage Committee has urged the government to articulate clear criteria for tourism developments within the TWWHA. The report recommends criteria, however the criteria currently relate to the information that must be provided by applicants, rather than specific decision-making criteria. While the RAA process provides some criteria, this process remains non-statutory, and leaves considerable discretion with the government as how proposals will be assessed and which proposals will be considered suitable.
The Tasmanian Planning Commission now has until 6 May 2016 (or later, if the Minister allows) to review the report and the 7000+ representations, and determine whether it will hold public hearings.
The Australian Government has also released its State of Conservation report to the World Heritage Committee for the TWWHA. You can download that report here.
The financial difficulties at Clive Palmer’s Queensland refinery raise questions about how to ensure that the costs of rehabilitating a mine site are not shifted to the public. A new report from Environmental Justice Australia looks at some of the ways that mining companies in NSW and Qld have avoided, minimised or delayed their rehabilitation obligations.
Read the report here.
You can also revisit Mike Seccombe’s great piece on who foots the bill for rehabilitation from the Saturday Paper.
Toxic political debates and a policy bonfire over the past decade have prevented the emergence of a stable and compelling climate policy in Australia… An economy-wide carbon price remains the ideal climate policy. But pragmatism and urgency demand a practical, next-best approach.
The Grattan Institute has released a report entitled Climate Phoenix: A sustainable Australian climate policy, outlining a roadmap for climate policies that can have bipartisan support and push Australia towards strong long-term emissions reduction targets.
The report’s key recommendations include tightening the Safeguard Mechanism for reductions, coupled with more rigorous enforcement, intensity-baselines for electricity production and limiting the extent to which overseas offsets can be used to meet national targets.
To read the report, click here.
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court determined that the Tarkine National Coalition (Save the Tarkine) was a “person aggrieved” by the granting of mining leases in the Tarkine, and was therefore entitled to a statement of reasons for the Minister’s decision to grant those leases.
You can read more about that decision here.
On 31 March 2016, the Minister for Mines filed an appeal against that decision. In its appeal, the government argues that Justice Wood erred in finding that Save the Tarkine’s interests were affected by the decision to grant the leases, noting that Save the Tarkine has a number of avenues to object to the mine under environmental and planning legislation, but no such interests arise under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995.
To read the government’s press release, click here.
To read the notice of appeal, click here.