Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area 4WD tracks project

Ordinance Point_Whish-Wilson - Tarkine 4WD -7008_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.

Regional Forests Agreement re-signed

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On 18 August 2017, the Prime Minister and the Premier signed a variation to the Regional Forest Agreement, extending the existing Agreement for an initial 20 years, with automatic renewal following each subsequent satisfactory five-yearly review.

A Conservation Assessment reviewing the CAR Reserve system was also released in support of the extension.

Variations to the RFA are largely technical, but include the following material changes:

  • Explicitly provides that the Forest Management System protects Environmental, National Heritage, Commonwealth Heritage and Aboriginal Heritage Values, rather than requiring that those values be protected.
  • Requires new management prescriptions to have a sound scientific basis and provide for the maintenance of species, and planning tools to be implemented, but no longer makes this requirement legally enforceable.
  • Commits the State government to have regard to climate change, and to manage forests for the “effective management of carbon within the carbon cycle.”
  • Expressly recognises that Special Species Timbers can be harvested in accordance with statutory management plans (such as the proposed Special Species Management Plan currently out for comment).
  • Commits to “a policy of open access to information.”

An analysis of significant changes is available here.

Forestry operations conducted in accordance with the revised RFA will continue to be exempt from the EPBC Act. For a detailed analysis of the problems arising from this exemption, read our earlier report, State Forests, National Interests.

Salmon Industry Growth Plan open for comment

The Tasmanian government has released its draft Sustainable Industry Growth Plan for the Salmon Industry.

The Growth Plan proposes new areas for salmon farm expansion in the oceanic waters off the State’s north-west coast, King Island, Flinders Island and Storm Bay, with the remainder of the State’s coasts to be declared “no grow” zones. To view a map of these areas, click here.

The Growth Plan outlines how the government intends to encourage and manage the continued expansion of the industry, including by:

  • the introduction of a new Biosecurity Act
  • the creation of a new Finfish Farming (Compliance and Monitoring) Unit in the EPA to be funded by an industry levy
  • the facilitation of a new formal agreement between the three major salmon companies concerning the future of salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour (to replace the existing Area Management Agreement)
  • providing public access to more environmental monitoring data
  • the establishment of a new industry reference group for the implementation of the Growth Plan

Public comments on the Growth Plan are open until Friday, 8 September 2017. Read more and have your say.

Ready for a challenge?

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.55.15 pmHave you ever wondered what it would be like to walk (or run) from Wrest Point Casino to the top of kunanyi/Mount Wellington?

Wonder no more!  Join our team in this year’s Point to Pinnacle, and help EDO Tasmania in its never-ending funding marathon.

If you’re new to Point to Pinnacle (P2P), we’re happy to have a chat about what’s involved and answer any questions you may have.  
Get in touch with Vicki at
Meanwhile, there’s more information including some Q & As here.

If you have already entered P2P (or Point to Pub) as an individual, you can still join our team.
Please get in touch if you’re having trouble trying to do this.

And if pounding the pavement isn’t your thing, you can always sponsor our team.  :)

Note:  the new Point to Pub event has already sold out, and Point to Pinnacle is filling up fast, so don’t delay!

Cities Power Partnership encourages local govt action on climate

Cities PowerThe 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!

Cable car legislation released for comment


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.

Draft Special Species Management Plan released

Special SpeciesThe 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.