The latest edition of our Bulletin is now available. This edition provides updates on the Copping C-Cell, cable car and climate change, details of EDO legal cases around Australia and opportunities to comment on a range of law reform proposals. To subscribe to the Bulletin, click here.
12 – 20 April 2014 is Heritage Week. To celebrate, we’ll be posting about interesting Tasmanian heritage places throughout the week – see our archive for details.
Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape
The Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape in North West Tasmania was added to the National Heritage List in February 2013. The area, approximately 21,000 ha of remote, windswept coastline, contains numerous hut depressions, middens and other evidence of the seasonal movement of Aboriginal groups in the region and their various hunting practices. The inclusion of the area on the National Heritage List recognised both its important history and the continuing cultural heritage significance of the area to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.
The listing was somewhat controversial as the relatively narrow strip of the Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape formed part of the much larger Tarkine area which the Australian Heritage Council recommended be included on the National Heritage List for its natural and cultural heritage values (refer Map 1). Former Environment Minister, Hon Tony Burke MP, decided against listing the entire area on economic grounds, but listed the coastal strip (refer Map 2) for its Aboriginal cultural values. Read the Australia Heritage Council’s final assessment report and the Final assessment brief to Minister.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III Fifth Assessment Report was released on 13 April 2014. The report evaluates 900 mitigation scenarios and concludes that large-scale changes in energy systems are essential to restrain global warming to 2 degrees and avoid the harshest impacts of climate change. The report examines cost-effective measures to ‘decarbonise’ the economy, recommending 80% of all electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2050 and advocating a range of bioenergy, carbon capture and storage, afforestation and land use planning approaches to mitigate emissions.
The IPCC emphasised that tough action is required immediately, but conclude that well-implemented actions will be affordable and effective.
You can read the full report, or the summary for policy makers, on the IPCC website.
In the past week, EDOs around the country have had success helping communities to protect their environment:
- EDO Victoria represented South Beach Wetlands and Landcare Group in their challenge to a large residential subdivision in Port Fairy, which would reclaim wetlands used by the migratory Latham’s Snipe. VCAT required the developer to make major concessions to safeguard the bird’s habitat.
- EDO NSW helped residents in Bulga to oppose the expansion of Rio Tinto’s coal mine into their town. The Court of Appeal this week upheld the Land and Environment Court decision rejecting the expansion.
- EDO Qld represented Coast and Country Association Qld in their challenge to the significant GVK / Hancock coal mine in the Gallilee Basin. The Land Court recommended that the mine application be rejected, unless stringent conditions regarding groundwater management can be complied with.
You can listen to a great Radio National Law Report discussing each of these cases here.
We’d all be happy to give up a little something to help the environment, right?
Throughout May, EDO Tasmania will be asking our supporters to “forego” one thing they would normally spend money on and instead donate that money to the EDO. Give up a daily coffee, skip dessert next time you’re out or walk to work and donate the parking fees.
We’ll be giving prizes for the most interesting thing that people forego for EDO, so get creative!
Click here for information about how to get involved.
The latest edition of our fortnightly bulletin is now available. This edition looks at environment and planning portfolios in the new cabinet, the latest IPCC report, the International Court of Justice’s decision regarding whaling and much more. To subscribe to receive this useful Bulletin each fortnight, click here.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Japan’s whaling program is not for scientific purposes. The presiding judge, Peter Tomka, stated:
“In light of the fact the Jarpa II [research program] has been going on since 2005, and has involved the killing of about 3,600 minke whales, the scientific output to date appears limited.”
The ICJ directed Japan to revoke current approvals and not to grant any further permits in relation to its whaling program.
The full decision is available here. The ruling is final, and cannot be appealed against.
A free public lecture looking at this decision, and its implications, will be held at IMAS at 5:30pm on Tuesday, 8 April 2014. If you are unable to attend, you can listen to the live broadcast here.
EDO NSW have also published an excellent summary of the protracted court proceedings leading up to the ICJ decision.
Forestry Tasmania is reviewing its current forest management plan, the Sustainability Charter. A draft of a new Forest Management Plan 2014 has been released for public comment.
Send any comments regarding the proposed management of Permanent Timber Production Zones, and work to ascertain Forest Stewardship Council certification, to email@example.com by 30 June 2014.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group II, has released its fifth assessment report. The report specifically identifies key risks and examines how climate change will impact upon human and natural systems. The report also identifies opportunities to minimise these risks through adaptation, but notes that some impacts will only be avoided by significant reduction in emissions.
Key risks identified in the report include:
- Low-lying coastal zones and small islands will be vulnerable to storm surges, coastal flooding and sea-level rises
- More frequent flooding in urban areas
- Breakdown in infrastructure and critical services such as electricity, water supply, health and emergency services due to increases in extreme weather events
- Increase in deaths and illness due to extreme heat
- Risk of food insecurity due to warming, drought and flooding
- Significant drops in agricultural production and rural livelihoods
- Loss of marine and coastal ecosystems with significant impacts on fishing communities and industry
- Threats to native species and ecosystems
Click here for a good overview of the report.
The Federal government has released Standards for Accreditation of Environmental Approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which set out the minimum standards to be achieved before State environmental assessment and approval processes are accredited under a bilateral agreement.
Once a State government’s legislation is accredited, the Federal government intends to delegate approval powers under the EPBC Act to the State governments as part of its ‘one-stop shop’ proposal.
Read ANEDO’s briefing paper on best practice standards for planning and environmental regulation.