Fracking moratorium extended to 2020

BannedThe Government has released its Fracking policy, which extends the current moratorium on fracking for gas or petroleum until March 2020. The policy makes clear that exploration not involving fracking may continue during that period.

The policy recognises the uncertainty regarding impacts and the genuine concerns expressed by the community, including farmers and producers throughout Tasmania. The government will undertake a full review of fracking practices prior to 2020, having regard to regulatory frameworks and environmental and health impacts experienced in other states.

Read the policy here, the final report of the Fracking review, and all submissions received here.

Read the ABC News report here.

Green tape report released

Credit_Frederique_Olivier_MG_3528The House of Representatives yesterday released its report into “streamlining and green tape”.  Predictably, the Liberal / National majority report expresses support for the government’s one-stop shop policy, despite concerns expressed by various stakeholders (including ANEDO) that the policy would weaken environmental protections, create conflicts of interest and reduce consistency across Australia.

Labor’s dissenting report describes these conclusions as ‘disingenuous’ and without factual support.

The report states that the inquiry focussed on “excessive environmental regulation that does not  deliver associated improvements in environmental outcomes”, rather than environmental regulation more broadly.  However, the report fails to critical analyse environmental outcomes, the economic value of environmental protection or the criteria by which regulation would be assessed as “excessive”.

The report assumes that quick approvals are inherently better approvals, and accepts the largely anecdotal evidence of industry stakeholders that environmental regulation is affecting productivity growth.  This contrasts with the findings of a previous Environment and Communications Legislation Committee report on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Retaining Federal Approval Powers) Bill 2012, which found there was no empirical evidence that Commonwealth involvement in assessments was a significant additional burden.  It also conflicts with recent OECD findings that stricter regulation does not hurt productivity, especially when the economic value of a healthy environment is considered

EDO Tasmania supports efforts to reduce unnecessary duplication, but believes the report has missed an opportunity for a comprehensive analysis of ways to improve the efficiency of regulation without compromising environmental outcomes. Despite this, the report does make a number of positive recommendations regarding coordinated threatened species lists, public-access databases, accreditation of practitioners to improve the standard of impact assessments and increased use of strategic assessments.

Read the full report

Read Jess’s comments to the Examiner about the report

First round of tourism proposals announced

700px-South_Cape_BayDetails have been released for a number of tourism projects accepted to move to Phase 2 of the government’s Expressions of Interest process.

  1. Blue Derby Pods Ride – accommodation to support new mountain bike tours in the north east
  2. Tasmanian Boat Charters – on-water accommodation and tours in Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour (within the World Heritage Area)
  3. Narawntapu Adventures – accommodation base for horse-riding, kayaking and fishing in the north
  4. South Coast Track Huts walk – guided bushwalk and private huts along the South Coast (within the World Heritage Area)
  5. Flinders Island Crossing – guided bushwalk and private huts in central Flinders Island
  6. Tarkine Coast Walk – multi-day accommodated walk operated through the Dooloomai Project for disadvantaged youth
  7. Bunkers Big Wave Base Camp – surf camp at South Arm
  8. The Lighthouse Project – accommodated cruises in the lower Gordon River
  9. Trees Adventure – adventure courses in Mt Field National Parkmtreadhuoncb
  10. Walls of Jerusalem Lodge Walk
  11. Overland Track Experience – four day guided bushwalk, with hut accommodation
  12. Cradle Base Camp Experience – overnight hut and guided bushwalk in northern Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park
  13. Frenchman’s Cap Walk – guided bushwalk with permanent camp bases
  14. Recherche Bay Eco Resort – floating hotel in Recherche Bay, with land based backpacker accommodation and market gardens (outside the TWWHA)
  15. Mount Read Ancient Huon Pine Experience – guided tour to Mt Read Huon pine (oldest continuous living organism on the planet!) and glass-bottomed boat expedition to view huon pine salvage operations

More information regarding the remaining projects currently being assessed are expected to be released by 13 March 2015.  Details of the proposals, and the assessment process, are available on the Coordinator-General’s site.

For media commentary, click here.

For more information about how developments in national parks are currently assessed, check out our fact sheet.

EDO BULLETIN 3/2015 RELEASED

EDO-Tas-Logo-no-wordsThe latest edition of the EDO Bulletin is now available here. This edition covers amendments to the EPBC Act and defamation laws, and updates on the 4WD Tarkine case as well info on public consultation opportunities and events.  To subscribe, click here.

Defamation laws dropped

The Tasmanian government today announced that it was abandoning its proposal to amend the Defamation Act 2005 to allow companies to sue for defamation.

The government’s decision comes after it failed to get support to amend the uniform defamation laws from other States and Territories, the Law Society, civil liberties groups, media, environment groups and other community organisations.  Even Ta Ann has expressed support for the decision to keep the laws as they are!

For a good explainer on why the government changed its plans, click here

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EDO Bulletin 2/2015 released

EDO-Tas-Logo-no-wordsThe latest edition of the EDO Bulletin is now available here.  This edition covers new regulations for hemp production and domestic bee-keeping, updates on the proposed woodchip barge facility and details of a range of public consultation opportunities and events.  To subscribe, click here.

State of Conservation Report on TWWHA

State PartyThe Australian government’s has delivered its State of Conservation Report on the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to the World Heritage Committee.  The Report outlines the government’s response to previous decisions of the World Heritage Committee and updates on management activities.

The Report does not include the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value currently being finalised by the government.  The draft SOUV is expected to be submitted for consideration of the next Committee meeting in June 2015.

Click here to read a copy of the State Party Report.

EDO BULLETIN 1/2015 RELEASED

EDO Tas Logo - no wordsThe 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.

Draft TWWHA Management Plan released

Styx Valley - Rob BlakersThe 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.

Proposed changes to defamation laws

Kudelka LoraxIn 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: