The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy has invited public submissions in relation to the Tasmanian Government’s proposal to re-open a number of off-road vehicle tracks in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area, on Tasmania’s west coast.
The approximate 37km of tracks traverse the Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape (WTACL), which is on the National Heritage list due to the outstanding significance of the Aboriginal cultural heritage found there.
The Tasmanian Government’s referral of the project to the Commonwealth Minister comes after a number of years of litigation by our client, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. The objective of the litigation was to protect the values of the WTACL from significant impacts from off-road vehicles and ensure the tracks were not reopened without the necessary approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The first round of consultation relates to whether or not the proposed works are a “controlled action” – that is, whether the activity is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of the WTACL and therefore must be assessed by the Commonwealth Minister – and, if so, what level of assessment the proposal should be subject to. If the Minister decides that the proposal IS a controlled action, there will be a further opportunity for public comment on whether the proposal should be approved.
Public comments on whether the proposal is a controlled action will be accepted until Tuesday, 26 September 2017. Read more have your say (search for referral 2017/8038).
To read more about the background to the TAC’s court cases, click here.