The latest edition of our Bulletin is now available. This edition features information about draft TWWHA Management Plan, ATVs in the Tarkine and container deposit schemes! To subscribe to the Bulletin, click here.
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 draft revised management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area has been released and will be open for public comment from 19 January 2015 until 22 March 2015. For an overview of views on the proposed changes, see media coverage below.
A copy of the draft management plan is available here.
- Green glitter hides cultural truth, The Mercury
- Green light best for heritage area plans, The Examiner
- Secrecy surrounds 37 development projects, The Mercury
- Dick Smith’s eco-tourism vision for Tasmania, The Mercury
- Opposition ramps up over plans to allow tourism developments in WHA, ABC News
- How tourism could help Tasmania’s wilderness, The Conversation
- Prudent tourism projects way to go, The Examiner
- The wilderness debate: unlock tourism potential or leave areas untouched? The Mercury
- Federal Minister ‘utterly committed’ to World Heritage, ABC News
- World heritage wilderness will be protected, says Greg Hunt, The Australian
- Maria man’s plea to unlock Tasmania’s wild places, The Australian
- Blueprint revealed for tourism projects in world heritage areas, The Mercury
- Tasmania plans to open wilderness world heritage area to logging and tourism, The Guardian
- Plans to rezone wilderness areas, The Examiner
- Indigenous groups not consulted on heritage plans, The Guardian
In the lead up to last year’s election, the Tasmanian Liberals committed to a raft of proposals to “crack down on illegal protestors“. The Workplace (Protection from Protestors) Act 2014 took effect on 17 December 2014 (see our fact sheet), and the government has recently confirmed it remains committed to removing restrictions on companies suing for defamation.
These uniform restrictions were introduced in all Australian States in 2005, recognising that defamation was designed to protect personal reputation and should not be available to companies.
While details of any plans to remove the restriction are not available, opposition has been voiced by the Law Society, the Mercury, Australian Lawyers Alliance, Civil Liberties Tasmania, Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance and EDO Tasmania. For media articles on this issue, see below:
- Companies suing critics, that’s the real enemy of free speech, The Guardian
- Giving defamation rights to companies would steal freedom of expression, The Mercury
- Sometimes the truth hurts, The Mercury
- Anger grows at State government’s defamation law proposal, The Mercury
- Bound and gagged, The Mercury
- Business, art and music leaders speak out against defamation law changes, The Mercury
- Three-pronged strategy on defamation bid – Talking Point by Vanessa Goodwin, The Mercury
- Tasmanian business lobby support defamation laws; national counterpart urges caution, The Mercury
- Tasmania, letting companies sue for defamation is a really, really bad idea, Marque Lawyers
- Nikolic backs power to sue, The Examiner
- Labor lashes timing of defamation law change, The Mercury
- Laws would stain State, The Mercury
- State government’s planned defamation laws spark national backlash, The Mercury
- Tasmania moves to allow corporations to sue protestors, The Guardian
- Why you could soon be sued for defamation in a Tassie court, Crikey
- Concerns raised Tasmania could become defamation magnet, The Mercury
- Free speech sue threat, The Mercury
- Defamation law change aim shakes and stirs media, The Examiner
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (represented by EDO Tasmania) has been successful in its application for an urgent injunction to prevent the Tasmanian government from re-opening off-road tracks in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area. The tracks, which were closed in 2012 to protect natural and cultural heritage values, are within the nationally listed heritage place, Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape.
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre argued that off-road vehicle use is likely to have a significant impact on the Aboriginal heritage values and the habitat of listed threatened species, and therefore requires approval by the Federal Minister. The government had indicated that the tracks would be open “before Christmas”, despite no evidence of any mitigation works to avoid impacts on heritage values.
The application for the urgent injunction was heard in the Federal Court on 22 December 2014. On 23 December 2014, Justice Kerr issued an interim injunction preventing the Director from giving any permission for vehicular access to the tracks until the matter is heard. You can read the full judgment here, or check our blog for a summary.
Once again, a huge thanks must go to our wonderful legal team, Richard Niall QC, Tiphanie Acreman, Adam Beeson and Sarah Wilson.
Photo from “Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage is Important”
Today the Supreme Court ruled that the Tarkine National Coalition (represented by EDO Tasmania) should succeed in their challenge to the EPA Director’s decision to permit above-ground storage of potentially acid-forming waste material at Nelson Bay River mine.
Justice Estcourt was satisfied that the change, which allowed up to 230,000m3 of waste to be stored in a pile up to 20m high, was a fundamental change and went beyond the power of the EPA Director.
A huge thanks to our stellar legal team – barristers, Jeremy Gobbo QC and Juliet Forsyth, EDO’s Adam Beeson and our volunteers, Frances Spry and Rafael Szumer – and to Scott Jordan of Save the Tarkine.
EDO Tasmania’s experience with communities affected by proposed unconventional gas activities suggests the current laws and policies that regulate exploration and production are in need of significant reform. Generally speaking, the legal framework does NOT:
- Adequately protect the environment and achieve sustainable development, therefore improvements in the environmental impact assessment framework are necessary;
- Provide for equitable community participation in land-use decisions or sufficient landowners’ rights regarding fracking; or
- Provide for sufficient monitoring, enforcement or reporting requirements.
We do not believe that the current moratorium period allows enough time for an adequate assessment of the impacts of fracking (environmental, social & human health). We recommend that the moratorium remain in place until a comprehensive, independent review of shale gas activities in Tasmania has been completed and the outcomes of the review considered by government.
This Christmas, give someone you love the warm-fuzzy feeling of helping to protect the environment. Perfect for lovers of bad puns, great art and sustainable futures.
No Well, No Well: Your gift will help EDO Tasmania assist communities to challenge inappropriate mining and exploration activities
Stocking density: Your gift will help EDO Tasmania work with the aquaculture industry to secure best practices on Tasmania’s marine farms.
Silent? Fight!: Your gift will help EDO Tasmania to fight against efforts to silence public participation in decisions affecting the environment
For Calling Birds: Your gift will help EDO Tasmania to protect threatened bird species, like Tasmania’s Forty spotted Pardalote.
A new Climate Council report, The Australian Renewable Energy Race: Which States are Winning and Losing?, examines how all Australian jurisdictions are tracking in terms of renewable energy policies. While Tasmania currently has the highest percentage of its overall energy produced from renewable sources (93%), we rank only 6th in terms of investment in renewables since 2001. The report awards South Australia and the ACT as the winners, commending their significant efforts to embed renewable energy sources and set themselves up for a lower carbon future.
Read the full report here.