TCT launches petition calling for stronger laws to control roaming owned cats

Media release

 25 October 2019

The TCT today launched a petition calling for stronger laws to stop owned cats from being able to freely roam. The petition to the House of Assembly calls for the state government to amend the Cat Management Act to make it an offence for a cat to roam off the owner’s property and for there to be appropriate penalties.

In launching the petition, TCT Director Peter McGlone said ‘Cats are devastating Tasmanian native wildlife and many are owned pet cats that are allowed to roam uncontrolled.’

‘We need stronger laws to stop owned cats from roaming and attacking and killing our wildlife.’

 ‘A lot of people say to us that cats should be treated the same as dogs and we agree.’

‘It is an offence for a pet dog to roam off the owner’s property or be in a public place and not under effective control - and the owners can face hefty penalties if the dog is caught. Cats should be treated the same.’

The TCT said that the state government will soon be introducing a number of commendable amendments to the Cat Management Act but it is not proposing to act effectively on roaming cats.

The proposed changes to the Cat Management Act will only make it an offence for a cat to roam if it has not been desexed or microchipped and allows all other cats to roam uncontrolled. These provisions are only implemented if there is a cat holding facility in the area which is not the case in many regions of the state.

‘The government’s proposed approach may lead to more cats being desexed but it will not stop cats from wondering.’

‘It is not too late for the government to draft amendments addressing roaming owned cats.’

‘The reason given by the state government for not acting on roaming cats is it does not want to force all councils to police new rules. But legislation can be written to give a council discretion as to whether they enforce the new laws and that is what our petition calls for.’

The TCT urges all concerned Tasmanians to go to our web site and sign the petition: 

http://www.tasconservation.org.au/stop-roaming-cats  

The petition calls on the Minister Primary Industries and Water, Guy Barnett to propose amendments to the Cat Management Act that will:

  • make it an offence for the owner of a cat to let it roam off their property or be in a public place while not under effective control (e.g. being on a lead or in a crate);

  • provide a fine for owners of a cat found roaming or not under effective control that is similar to that applied to dogs and that harsher penalties apply for multiple, repeat or serious offences;

  • allows a council to appoint an appropriately trained officer to enforce these provisions but councils are not compelled to do so.

Further comment:

Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust
0406 380 545

Record number of people opposes Rosny Hill development

Media Release

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust says that the controversial Rosny Hill tourism development has created a record for the most number of people making representations opposing a development in Clarence.

Yesterday afternoon the public comment period closed on the Rosny Hill tourism development. The TCT hand delivered 460 representations to Clarence City Council, all opposing the development, and in addition to those submitted directly to council the total will likely exceed 500.

The TCT Director Peter McGlone said that 'In my 28 years of experience in conservation I cannot recall this many people expressing their opposition to a development assessed by the Clarence City Council.'
'Most representations came from local residents who wrote personal comments about their love and enjoyment of Rosny Hill reserve and how the proposed development is too big and will destroy their enjoyment if it.'

"The main point raised by submissions is that the proposed development is just too large for the small Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Area. The main complex of buildings including a hotel, cafe and restaurant is an incredible 185 metres in length, meaning it would not fit inside the Blundstone Arena in Bellerive.'

It is expected that the Council will be deciding on the application in the next month or two.

Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust
0406380545

Rosny Hill development - proponent hood winks community over development’s size and impact on bushland

The proponent of the Rosny Hill development is desperately trying to hoodwink local residents into accepting the proposal by claiming it will take up only 2 % of the Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Area.

The TCT Director Peter McGlone said today that "The development will impact up to 23% of the reserve's area and the main complex of buildings is an incredible 185 metres in length."

"The 2% claim refers to the precise footprint of the main buildings i.e. the hotel, cafe, restaurant, accommodation pods. The developer has misleadingly failed to account for the 114 car parking spaces, other infrastructure and the massive fire hazard reduced area."

The TCT has calculated the true area of impact to be 23% of the reserve. While there will be some fragments of bushland remaining in this 23% it will be dissected with infrastructure and will be heavily degraded by construction activity and high visitor numbers. 

Another deception by the developer is its refusal to ever refer to how long the buildings will be.

"While the proponent likes to tell people the buildings will be largely underground and not protrude above the skyline, they don't tell people that the main complex of buildings is an incredible 185 metres in length, from the reception centre in the north to the public cafe in the south. Also, when the new car park and accommodation pods are included the entire development is an unbelievable 300 metres in length."

"To put the size of this development in perspective, the main building would not fit on Blundstone Arena. The entire development is longer than the longest side of the nearby Eastlands Shopping Centre at Rosny."

"However the developer wants to describe it, this development is just too big for the Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Area.

"This massive development will not only require the clearing of large swathes of bushland, including an endangered orchid, it will also bring massive numbers of visitors that will increase traffic congestion and destroy the quiet nature of the reserve."

"Rosny Hill is already a traffic bottle neck and this development will add to it with 114 new car parking spaces and capacity for up to 500-600 people at any one time including lookout users."

"Rosny Hill was declared a Nature Recreation Area to protect its natural bushland and allow for recreation sympathetic to its natural setting. The development will destroy both the natural and the recreational value of the reserve."

"Locals who currently enjoy the quiet nature of the reserve will keep away from the pinnacle that will be crowded with hundreds of tourists. The developer is trying to embellish the value to residents with new tracks, but some tracks will go within metres of visitor's bedrooms, which will not please either locals or visitors."

Public comment on the proposed development closes next Monday 14 October at 5.00 pm.

Submissions can be made via the TCT's web site at:

http://www.tasconservation.org.au/save-rosny-hill  

Further comment

Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust
0406 380 545

Update on SKM stockpile at Derwent Park

IMG_20190826_153721.jpg

I visited the SKM Recycling facility at Derwent Park yesterday afternoon, after earlier visiting it on 16 August. The photos above and below are from yesterday.

"In the ten days since I first visited SKM Recycling at Derwent Park the only thing that has changed is the stockpile of recyclables, mainly plastic containers, has grown larger. It is hard to imagine that the stockpile can be expanded further without causing an unacceptable fire hazard or having piles fall over, threatening workers.”

"The Tasmanian councils who have contracts with SKM need to inform their rate-payers immediately as to how many days or weeks until the SKM stops receiving recyclables at Derwent Park and what will happen then?”

"SKM receivers Korda Mentha has admitted there are massive stockpiles at SKM facilities in Melbourne and media reports estimate the total of all stockpiles to be 70,000 tones. The TCT believes these date back to last year and contain Tasmanian recyclables, in particular plastics.”

"Can Tasmanian councils inform rate-payers why their plastics have not been recycled since last year and why they have been paying a recycling fee for having plastics stockpiled??

"It is also notable that the stockpile at SKM is mainly plastic containers but also includes a lot of paper, card board, aluminium cans and even milk cartons."

Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust
0406 380 545

The Local Government Association refers to this stockpile as plastic containers - I can see lots of paper, card board, a milk carton and possibly soft plastics: none of it being recyled.

The Local Government Association refers to this stockpile as plastic containers - I can see lots of paper, card board, a milk carton and possibly soft plastics: none of it being recyled.

Response to LGAT criticism of TCT regarding recycling in southern Tasmania

LGAT's media release admits that "For the short term, plastics are being baled and stored" and therefore are not being recycled.

The TCT's Director Peter McGlone replied to this statement by stating "LGAT does not say what will happen to plastics when SKM's Derwent Park facility is full. Without additional storage space they will presumably have send plastics to landfill. I visited this facility this afternoon and the yard and shed were very close to full with bails of plastic and other materials. The facility will have to close shortly."

Responding to Luke Martin

Letter to the editor
The Mercury

Luke Martin does not respond well to criticism of the tourism industry. His Talking Point article (Mercury 13 June 2019) responds to Charles Wooley's concern that Tasmanians may grow to hate tourists by saying that he and other critics would have different views if they just talked with tourism businesses to see the positive side.

https://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/talking-point-dont-be-turned-off-tourists-before-you-visit-the-towns-they-benefit/news-story/234ae8c4fad547eb8344d848bf548762

Only half way through the article did he respond to the criticisims by saying "No one is denying the concerns many Tasmanian's have about how tourism is being managed in some of our beloved sites". But he doesn't identify a single concern such as over crowding diminishing the experience of visitors and locals, impact of visitors on the environment and over sized tourism developments in national parks. It seems that he doesn't want to say how these problems will be addressed, other than to "invest heavily in visitor infrastructure especially in our natural areas". Ironically this infrastructure is one of the concerns people have.

The tourism industry relies heavily on publicly owned natural assets and the industry needs to mature to the point where they can acknowledge problems and talk with the community about how to address them.

Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust

Letters to the editor, The Mercury

Disappointment with new bus services

At the state election the Liberal Party promised funding for a doubling of non-Metro bus services to Sorell and four additional services for Dodges Ferry. I am a daily user of the Dodges Ferry bus.

In the ten months it took to implement the policy there was no community consultation about what new non-school services people wanted. Schools may have been consulted. Apparently the state government and not the bus companies decided the new services. 

Building heights are a matter for local communities

Former Planning Minister Peter Gutwein endlessly claimed that building heights were a matter for local communities to determine…

Now new Planning Minister Roger Jaensch is intervening in Hobart City Council's business my claiming that proposed maximum building heights for the CBD are too low and bases his concern on unsubstantiated links to affordable housing. The state government can't have it both ways.


TCT says Storm Bay Approvals Must be Revoked  

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust is calling for Tassal and Huon Aquaculture’s Store Bay Marine Farming Plan approvals to be revoked in light of two scientific members of the Marine Farm Planning Review Panel (Panel) resigning and saying the process was ‘inherently compromised’.
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust Director Peter McGlone said that: ‘The former panel members, both eminent scientists, provide a damning assessment of the operations of the Panel which justifies revoking the permits to restore trust to the process’.

Arm End Reserve effluent pipeline approval condemned

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust and Re Imagine The End have joined forces to condemn the Clarence City Council's approval of the Arm End Reserve effluent pipeline.

Last Monday (4 February 2019) the Clarence City Council voted in favour of the water pipeline that is proposed to bring treated effluent from the Blackman's Bay sewerage treatment plant to Arm End Nature Recreation Area to irrigate a proposed golf course.

Tasmania’s environmental groups unite to call for action to stop destruction of east coast reefs by the long-spined sea urchin

“It is disturbing that while over fishing of large rock lobsters is acknowledged in the IMAS report as contributing to the explosion of the sea urchins the government’s forum does not have a speaker talking about the importance of large lobsters as a natural control on the sea urchins.”

Sea urchin spreading devastation at alarming rate on Tasmania’s east coast

New government survey shows long-spined sea urchin spreading devastation at alarming rate on Tasmania’s east coast. Urchin numbers are predicted to explode in the next three years threatening large areas of the marine environment and iconic fisheries. The area of reef habitat lost to the sea urchins is predicted to go from the current 15% to 32% by 2021.

Tasmanian Planning Policies Legislation a Positive Step 

30 November 2018 

The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act Amendments Bill passed the Legislative Council late yesterday enabling the creation of Tasmanian Planning Policies that have the potential to provide some long awaited policy direction to the Tasmanian Planning System.

The Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania, Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the Tasmanian Planning Information Network welcomed the state government’s Tasmanian Planning Policies legislation and hopes that Minister Roger Jaensch works with the broad Tasmanian community to develop the policies to give strategy direction to land use planning in Tasmania. The groups also urged the state government to develop state polices (under existing legislation) to address the most important issues facing Tasmania over the next decade. A mix of State Polices and Tasmanian Planning Policies will deliver the best results for the planning system.

PMAT coordinator Sophie Underwood said that “Since the Liberal Government commenced its reforms of the Tasmanian Planning System in 2014 our organisations have advocated for State Policies – critically because they bind all state government agencies - but we also believe that the state governments proposed Tasmanian Planning Policies can make a positive contribution if developed appropriately.

Tasmanian Conservation Trust Director Peter McGlone said “Our organisations support the TPP legislation following very significant amendments in the House of Assembly that were proposed by the Labor and Greens parties and supported by the government. The amendments address most of our concerns and importantly the amended bill won unanimous support in the House of Assembly.”

“The State Parliament has worked very effectively in the last few weeks and this bill is an important example of that.”

Tasmanian Planning Information Network Spokesperson, Anne Harrison said “The final legislation reflects the community’s interest to have greater input to decisions about planning and its demand for greater transparency and scrutiny on decisions made by ministers. “Tasmania faces many serious problems that are in large part related to decades or poor planning and the development of a mix of State Polices and Planning Polices is needed to address these problems.

Sophie Underwood added that “With the potential to develop Tasmanian Planning Polices, we hope the state government does not abandon State Polices. State Polices tend to deal with the most important issues that affect the whole state and critically bind all state agencies to uphold them and to assist with their implementation.”

Anne Harrison added that “The State Policies and Tasmanian Planning Policies can be used to answer fundamental questions about what the Statewide Planning Scheme is meant to achieve. If the minister chooses to effectively reach out to the Tasmanian community and develop policies that reflect the broader community’s interest then he can make a major contribution to Tasmanian’s long term future.

Peter McGlone added that “The Minister has it in his power now to set a new positive direction for the Tasmanian Planning System we look forward to working with him.” Our Alliance of 60 groups from across the State look forward to robust strong planning policies that are measurable and well integrated with all other planning instruments.

For Comment

Sophie Underwood, Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania 0407 501 999

Peter McGlone, Tasmanian Conservation Trust 0406380 545

Anne Harrison, Tasmanian Planning Information Network 0419 585 291

Rosny Hill public meeting Tuesday 17 July 2018: Speaking notes – Peter McGlone

Privatising a public reserve

Hunter developments proposal is just too large for Rosny Hill. When you add up the area required for buildings and infrastructure and the fire management zone that surrounds them, it will occupy and degrade more than 40% of the Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Area.

A development of this size will totally dominate the reserve and alienate most people who currently enjoy using the reserve for passive recreation and to get away from “developed” areas.

Most locals will simply not want to visit the reserve if the development is constructed.

If you do continue to visit the area surrounding the development it will be a much diminished experience: less bushland, 800 cars per day and people in accommodation looking at you.

Destruction of native vegetation

The development will result in a substantial area of eucalypt woodland and she oak forest being cleared. The area affect by the proposed development includes the car park and other cleared areas, but still around 25% of the reserve’s vegetation will be cleared or highly degraded.

Much of the effected vegetation will not be directly cleared to make way for the proposed buildings but it will be lost over time.  The vegetation surrounding the buildings will be fragmented and degraded by construction activity and, over time, it will be further degraded by fire mitigation works and trampling by thousands of visitors.

We compared a map of the proposed development with a distribution map of the endangered Leafy sun orchid. About half of the orchid population will be destroyed to make way for the development. The Rosny Hill population is the largest known population in Tasmania and is the only Tasmanian population found in a formal reserve. To do this to a threatened species anywhere is outrageous but to do it in a reserve is just beyond words.

A history of inadequate community consultation

The Council has treated the local residents horribly as they seem desperate to force an unwanted development on an unwilling community.

In 2014 the Council initiated a process to identify a preferred developer for Rosny Hill without first asking the community whether they wanted any development on the hill or. if they wanted development, what type of size would be acceptable.

This approach to community consultation is dishonest as the community is not given a choice in the critical first step – the Council presumably hoped that the proposed development would be seen as a fait accompli.

This approach is unfair as the community is put in a position of being unequal with the developers, having to fight against a development proposal they don’t want rather than being involved in planning one that it and a developer might support.

In 2015 the Council picked Hunter Developments proposal, ignoring the fact that is contrary to the Rosny Hill Management Strategy and over-ridding the very thorough and informed community consultation that the strategy was built upon.

The Strategy states that ‘Any proposal for development would need to’ ‘be located within the development zone areas defined by council’ (Page 39-40) – these are two small areas corresponding to the existing car park and a degraded area to the north of it (each only a hectare or two).

The Council’s preferred development is ten times as large as these two areas.

By proceeding with a preferred developer who proposes a development much larger than the areas identified in the Strategy the Council is being grossly dishonest.  The Strategy recommendation should be adhered to and any development restricted to the identified development zones.

In February 2016, 218 residents of Rosny and Montague Bay signed a letter to the Council calling for the Council to initiate a process to have Rosny Hill rezoned to limit all development to the two areas identified in the Strategy.

The Council refused to even put this issue on the agenda for discussion and most councillors to this day have refused to meet with concerned residents.

Concluding comments

For four years the Clarence Council has been ignoring the community – it is now time for the Council to listen to what the community wants.

The Minister for Parks and Wildlife Service, Will Hodgman confirmed in a letter to the Rosny Hill Friends Network in June that the council can grant land owner consent for a development. Well if Council can grant consent it can refuse consent and it should do so immediately and put an end to this inappropriate over-size development.

Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania Planning Policy Election Scorecard

The key findings from the scorecard process was that the Liberal Party is committed to changing legislation to limit who can take appeals over development approvals and have made many more developments permitted (which removes the community’s right to comment on and appeal developments). It also supports major projects legislation that would give the minister unprecedented powers to call-in developments, taking the assessment away from councils and removing the community’s appeal rights.