The Climate Council has launched its Cities Power Partnership, encouraging local councils to commit to 5 key actions across renewable energy, efficiency, transport and working together.
The Partnership project recognises the invaluable impact of local action on emissions reduction, and is supported by a new report highlighting innovative local government actions around Australia.
In Tasmania, Huon Valley Council and Glamorgan Spring Bay Council have already joined the Partnership. Encourage your local council to sign the pledge, too!
On 15 July 2017, the Minister for State Growth released draft legislation to allow the Mount Wellington Cable Car project to avoid the need to obtain landowner consent from Hobart City Council. Instead, the Minister will acquire the land on behalf of the proponent and allow a planning application to be submitted for the project.
To read the draft Bill, click here. The key changes proposed are explained in our Briefing Note.
Any person can make comments on the draft Bill until 4 August 2017. Read more and have your say.
The Tasmanian Government has released a consultation draft of the Special Species Management Plan. The Plan, made under the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Act 2014, aims to “provide a management framework for the long-term and sustainable harvesting of Tasmanian special species timbers.”
Comments on the draft Plan can be made until 9am on Monday 28 August 2017. Read more and have your say.
Salmon laws, building heights, climate policies, plastic bags, wild deer, and tax deductibility for environmental groups. Something for everyone in the latest EDO Tas Bulletin!
The Tasmanian Government has released the draft Finfish Farming Environmental Regulation Bill 2017 for public comment. The Bill aims to clarify the role of the EPA and responsibilities for future management of environmental impacts from salmon farming.
Read our briefing note on the proposed changes here.
Comments on the draft Bill can be made until 28 July 2017.
EPA Director, Wes Ford, will be discussing the draft laws at a NELA / EIANZ breakfast seminar in Hobart on 27 July 2017. For details, click here.
On 23 June 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed two applications by the Tarkine National Coalition to challenge decisions to grant mining leases for the Mt Lindsay and Livingstone mines. Justice Estcourt was satisfied that the previous Ministers who made the decisions had done so lawfully, and the leases were valid.
For more details and background relating to this case, click here.
EDO Tasmania extends our thanks to the barristers in this matter, Juliet Forsyth, Claire Harris and Jim Delany QC.
Barristers, Claire Harris and Juliet Forsyth, with TNC’s Scott Jordan
It’s been a busy fortnight in environmental law in Tasmania. Catch up on what’s been happening with the latest edition EDO Tas Bulletin.
When there’s something strange in the neighbourhood… you’ll want to know what it means, and what you can do.
For over 20 years, when people have heard about proposed forestry operations, wondered why a waterway is polluted, seen a notice about development, or been concerned about loss of bushland, they’ve called EDO Tasmania for advice.
Over the next 12 months, there are likely to be some strange things happening in our collective Tasmanian neighbourhood:
When the community needs information, support and advice on these (and many more) issues, who are they going to call?
Make a tax-deductible donation today to help make sure our expert legal team is there to answer.
EDO Tasmania relies on donations to keep our service running. In the years since the Australian government turned their back on environmental justice and withdrew funding, we have survived because of generous people like you. Thank you for your support!
If you’d prefer not to donate online, click here for other options.
The Tasmanian Government has released Climate Action 21, a climate change action plan for 2017-2021. The Plan follows the earlier draft plan, Embracing the Climate Challenge, released for public comment in January 2016.
Climate Action 21 sets out an “aspirational emissions reduction target of zero net emissions by 2050” and actions in six priority areas:
- Understanding Tasmania’s future climate
- Advancing our renewable energy capability
- Reducing our transport emissions
- Growing a climate-ready economy
- Building climate resilience
- Supporting community action
Climate Action 21 includes some significant improvements from the previous draft, but there is still room for more concrete actions to address Tasmania’s contributions and exposure to a changing climate.
Importantly, the government has committed $3M over the next four years to implement the Plan.
Good stuff in Climate Action 21
- Proposes to legislate 2050 zero net emissions target
- Commits to annual progress reports against Plan milestones
- Supports National Climate Science Centre and efforts to update projections for sector-specific and local government impacts
- Aims to maximise renewable energy generation, and recognises the role Tasmanian renewable energy can play in supporting national emissions reduction and energy security
- Acknowledges vulnerability to catastrophic bushfires, heat waves, flooding, storm surge and coastal erosion, and need to support local governments to improve resilience
- Provides subsidies for training to develop skills in climate-related industries (e.g solar panel installation)
- Commits to developing a waste management strategy
- Recognises need to address climate-related population health risks
- Commits to working with agencies to “embed climate change consideration into strategies and decisions, particularly relating to assets and infrastructure, and key growth sectors” and to improve climate considerations in purchasing decisions
Areas for Improvement
- The Plan continues to focus on role of forest sinks in achieving net zero emissions, but fails to acknowledges government policies to revitalise forest industry or impacts of increased use of forest residues as fuel sources.
- The Plan does not set interim or sectoral emission reduction targets – all sectors should be subject to emissions reduction goals, to avoid over-reliance on forestry to achieve overall emission target.
- Despite aiming to “maximise renewable energy”, no target is set for meeting Tasmania’s stationary energy needs from renewable sources.
- Many of the actions relate to improving information, developing strategies and implementation plans. There is clearly a role for further investigation in many areas, but ample resources already exist to allow government to set a bold, clear and ambitious action plan.
On 31 May 2017, the Director of the EPA determined that the biomass for Macquarie Harbour will be set at 12,036 tonnes for 2017-2018, or 13t/hectare of farmed lease areas. His decision notes:
- Long-term monitoring of dissolved oxygen confirms a steady decline in middle and bottom water oxygen concentrations since 2009 to the current extremely low levels.
- The environmental health of Macquarie Harbour is likely to represent a crucial factor in the future well-being of the critically endangered Maugean Skate population.
As flagged in his draft determination, despite the overall reduction in biomass limits, the Director will allow Tassal to exceed its allocated cap and stock up to 28t/hectare (about 4,000 extra tonnes), provided an “approved waste capture system” is installed.
The Director released guidelines for approved waste capture systems, and indicated that systems would be regulated under an Environment Protection Notice. Tassal has already received approval to trial five waste collection units during June 2017, with all waste collected to be taken ashore and treated prior to disposal. No EPN will be issued for the trial, as biomass limits are likely to remain below the 13t/ha cap during that period.
Huon Aquaculture’s submissions in response to the draft determination raised strong concerns about the effectiveness of waste collection systems, and the appropriateness of trialing unproven systems in an already compromised environment. The company responded to the final determination by announcing that they will continue their legal challenge, querying why complex waste capture provisions were developed rather than requiring Tassal to harvest its stock to comply with the biomass cap.
To see our timeline of Macquarie Harbour events, click here.