State Planning Provisions declared

Planning

The Planning Minister has declared the final State Planning Provisions (SPPs), which will take effect on 2 March 2017.

You can read the Tasmanian Planning Commission’s report, the final SPPs and the Minister’s Statement of Reasons.

Key environmental issues arising from the SPPs include:

  • The SPPs are still not supported by a comprehensive suite of State Policies to guide planning outcomes. The Planning Commission acknowledges, in particular, the need to review the State Coastal Policy as a matter of urgency.  Other areas without a strategic policy basis include integrated transport, population and settlements, biodiversity management, tourism and climate change.
  • The Minister rejected the Planning Commission’s recommendation that the Natural Assets Code be scrapped in its entirety.  The Commission recommended that a new Code be developed after proper consideration of the biodiversity implications of proposed exemptions, and the production of adequate, Statewide vegetation mapping.
  • The Natural Assets Code in the final SPPs does include a number of amendments (e.g. expanding protection to native vegetation of local importance, even if not listed as threatened, and no longer allowing clearing up to 3,000m2 to be permitted in the Rural Living Zone).  However, many of the fundamental weaknesses remain:
    • the Code does not prevent native vegetation clearing in the Agriculture Zone
    • the Code does not protect drinking water catchments
    • the Code does not prevent clearing in national parks and reserves or on pasture or orchard land
    • mapping of priority vegetation is left to local Councils, supported only by TasVeg and Natural Values Atlas tools that are acknowledged to be incomplete.
  • Despite an acknowledgement from the Minister that the Reserve Activity Assessment process “needs review”, developments in national parks approved under that process will continue to avoid public scrutiny.
  • New provisions have been inserted to allow Councils to “call-in” developments they consider risky in terms of coastal erosion or inundation , even if the development site is not currently mapped as a risk area.
  • Local councils will be required to maintain their local heritage registers.
  • The Planning Commission acknowledges that the SPPs are designed to limit local variation, but queries whether a “one-size fits all” model will deliver certainty:

If local character is a point of difference and an attribute of all Tasmanian places, unintended consequences may flow from denying local differences. The ‘one size fits all’ approach is likely to result in planning authorities seeking more exceptions through the inclusion of particular purpose zones, specific area plans and site-specific qualifications…

  • The Planning Commission also recommends a review of development standards in the General Residential and Inner Residential Zones to assess whether the provisions deliver greater housing choice, encourage infill development, or unreasonably impact on residential character and amenity.
  • No new Codes have been developed to address stormwater and on-site waste disposal, acid sulfate soils or Aboriginal heritage.

Local Councils are now required to develop Local Provisions Schedules for their municipality, with draft LPS expected to be released for public consultation later in 2017.

For an overview of the process for developing Local Provisions Schedules, click here.

Planning continues to be a major work area for EDO Tasmania – helping the community to understand the changes, and advocating for better planning outcomes.  To help support this work, donate to our legal fund.

Sowing the Seeds – thank you!

James Da Costa (Hobart City Farm), Jess Feehely (EDO), Kirsha Kaechele (24 Carrot Gardens) and Graeme Lynch (Heart Foundation)

EDO Tasmania would like to thank our wonderful speakers, James, Kirsha and Graeme, for sharing their urban farming stories at tonight’s Sowing the Seeds event.  Thanks also to our sponsors, and to everyone who came along.

EDO Tas President, Tom Baxter

More information about the various projects discussed are available at the links below:

To donate to EDO Tasmania and help with our urban farming project and other great work, click here.

To stay up to date on the project, join our mailing list.

And a final thanks to our wonderful caterers, Olive Tree Catering.

Sowing the Seeds for Urban Agriculture in Tasmania

CYDT 5Join EDO Tasmania on 21 February 2017 for an evening of film, food and stories about urban agriculture projects bringing communities together.

5:30pm – Sundeck, UTAS Arts School (Hobart)

Enjoy local wine and delicious canapes, and hear from special guests, Kirsha Kaechele (24 Carrot Gardens), James Da Costa (Hobart City Farm) about urban farming projects here in Tasmania, and from Graeme Lynch (Heart Foundation) about the work of the Food and Nutrition Coalition.

6:30pm – Dechaineux Theatre, UTAS Arts School (Hobart)

Watch acclaimed documentary, “Can You Dig This”, exploring the urban gardening revolution currently taking place in South Central Los Angeles, one of the largest food deserts in the US.

This is a fundraising event to help EDO Tasmania to continue working to support and facilitate urban agriculture across Tasmania.  For tickets, click here.

Huon Aquaculture challenges EPA Director over Mac Harbour biomass caps

SalmonHuon Aquaculture has today launched court proceedings challenging the EPA Director’s recent biomass cap determination for Macquarie Harbour, saying the cap has been set too high to reverse the significant deterioration in water quality observed in the Harbour over recent years.

Huon is also seeking orders from the Federal Court requiring the Commonwealth Minister to enforce or, alternatively, quash, the 2012 decision authorising the expansion of salmon farming in the Harbour.

Huon’s statement regarding these actions says the company’s aim is to “ensure Government decision making is transparent, fair and has a clear eye on a long-term sustainable future of the waterway.”

To read their press statement (including details of the two legal cases), click here.

Macquarie Harbour biomass cap

SalmonOn 18 January 2017, the Director of the EPA issued final determinations reducing the cumulative biomass limits for salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour from 21,500t to 14,000t from 14 February – 30 April 2017.  A further determination will be made setting the biomass cap for 2017-2018 once the Director has reviewed the January 2017 benthic monitoring reports.

To read the determinations and supporting reasons, click here.  The submissions made by the salmon companies will not be released until the 2017-2018 determination is made.

The Director’s decision was made after considering a range of scientific information, as well as the “biomass aspirations” of the companies.  He notes “significant deterioration in the level of compliance with benthic indicators” and a steady decline in dissolved oxygen to levels “which present a significant risk to the ecology of the harbour.”  This was recognised as having negative implications for the endangered Maugean skate and other fauna.

Despite these findings, the Determinations will reduce the allowable biomass by 35%, but will not significantly reduce the actual biomass currently being farmed in the harbour. Huon Aquaculture has previously said that a 14,000t cap was inadequate to address deteriorating environmental conditions, and indicated that IMAS reports support reduction to at least 11,000t.

** SCS Global Services will be conducting the independent review of Tassal Operations Pty Ltd in Macquarie Harbour under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) Salmon Standard from 13 – 17 February 2017.  SCS will be interviewing farm managers, farm workers, community and environmental groups to gain an understanding of the Macquarie Harbour operation –  if you would like to meet with SCS, email sleporati@scsglobalservices.com before 7 February 2017.

EDO Bulletin 1/2017

TassalJust in time for the weekend, the first edition of the EDO Bulletin for 2017 looks at caps on salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour, the hottest year on record and the review of fuel efficiency and vehicle emission standards (among other things!)

Welcome to 2017

15825889_1407974619213613_1885108484656697734_nHappy new year!  EDO Tasmania is looking forward to a year of working hard to protect the environment.

For anyone still looking for inspiration for your new year’s resolutions, here are a few things to consider for 2017:

  • Get involved – democracy works best when as many people as possible share their views. Sign a petition, attend a public meeting, join a community group, make a short representation about a development in your area, write a letter to the editor, or email your local member about an issue that concerns you.
  • Understand your carbon footprint, and work out the best ways to reduce it. A great calculator is available at www.epa.vic.gov.au/AGC/home.html
  • Reduce your waste – for helpful hints, check out Zero Waste Tasmania
  • Stay informed – find out more about impacts on the world around you, understand the science, talk to proponents, and ask questions about how your local member votes on key issues. Get along to the many free public events on offer (e.g. www.events.utas.edu.au/), subscribe to the EDO Tas Bulletin, or check out theyvoteforyou.org.au/
  • Get out there! Make the time to visit the places that you love, and to help others appreciate why they are special.

 

Photo credit: Arwen Dyer (www.arwendyer.com)

EDO Bulletin 23/2016

Happy Devil - Balloons_211015-1Woop woop, it’s the final EDO Tas Bulletin for 2016!

Catch up on all the end-of-year environmental and planning law news, reminders of impending deadlines for submissions, and our highlights from the year.

EDO Tas extends our warmest festive-season wishes to everyone and hopes you enjoy a relaxing break.  We’ll be back in 2017 to keep using the law to protect the environment – see you then!

Tas Wilderness Fires report released

The Tasmanian Government today released the independent report commissioned as part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Bushfire and Climate Change Research Project.

The report concludes that climate change will increase the risks of bushfire in the TWWHA in coming years, and makes a series of recommendations, including:

  • development of a comprehensive fire management plan, including clear objectives for planned burns
  • improved monitoring and detection technologies
  • improved mapping of vegetation, soil, natural and cultural values within the TWWHA
  • protocols for rapid assessment
  • more effective and timely rehabilitation activities.

To read the report, click here.

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Dan Broun: ABC News