When is it safe to swim in the Derwent River?

On 2 January the media widely promoted that the trans-Derwent swim had been relocated to Seven Mile Beach because of concerns over stormwater pollution in the Derwent. It was warm enough for a swim and I wanted to know if the cancellation of this race meant all beaches around the Derwent estuary were unsafe? The Derwent Estuary Program's 'Beach Watch' web page announced on 30 December 2016 that: 'Following recent heavy rain, water quality at most Derwent beaches has been poor - including at Howrah, Bellerive, Kingston, Blackmans Bay and Nutgrove/Little Sandy Bay. 

Parks and Wildlife Service audit

On 15 November 2016 the Tasmanian Audit Office tabled in Parliament the report No.5 2016 Park Management. The full report, summary and audio summary are available from the Tasmanian Audit Office web site. The Audit Office assessed the management of national parks and other reserves, focusing on important matters related to management of high value assets, weed, pests and diseases, fire and human safety.

Tasman Island historic buildings secretly opened for commercial development

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust has for the second time this year exposed the Parks and Wildlife Service for misleading the Tasmanian pubic in changes to a National Park management plan. The PWS has proposed changes to the Tasman National Park management plan to allow commercial helicopter handlings on Tasman Island, but during the public consultation process, it failed to explain that the consequence of this change would also make the historic buildings on the island open for redevelopment for commercial accommodation.

Clarence Council risks $4 million on hazardous waste dump

If you live in Clarence you may not have heard that your Council has recently provided $4 million of Council’s money (rate-payers’ money) for the construction of a hazardous waste facility (or C-cell) near Copping, in the Sorell municipality (‘Tender let for C-cell’, 31 August 2016). The C-cell, approved in 2012, is permitted to receive a higher level of hazardous waste than normal landfill sites, including, potentially, all types of non-liquid waste except nuclear waste. Construction has not yet commenced. 

State government abandons threatened species

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust has today called on the Tasmanian Planning Commission to recommend to the State Government that the approach being taken to conservation of natural values in the Tasmanian Statewide Planning Scheme is totally inadequate and devoid of contemporary scientific input and that the Natural Values Code in particular should be scrapped and started again.

Salmon farming at Okehampton Bay

On the eve of the submission period closing for the review of the proposed expansion of salmon farming at Okehampton Bay on Tasmania's east coast, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust has again questioned the independence of the Panel chosen by the state government to conduct the so called "independent review". The TCT has also revealed, for the first time, questions over the legal status of the review called by Minister Jeremy Rockliff which may mean the review will have no authority to bring changes to how fish farming occurs in this part of the east coast. 

Community, science and environment voices raise alarm

In the lead up to the final opportunity for consultation on the proposed new single Tasmanian Planning Scheme, a growing range of community voices are coming together to highlight key concerns with the direction of the changes and the alienation of the public in planning decisions. Next week the Tasmanian Planning Commission will hold hearings on aspects of the scheme.

Foreign Investment Review Board fails to see Tasmanian devils as being in the national interest

The TCT is disappointed that the Foreign Investment Review Board and Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison have approved the sale of Van Diemens Land Company without placing conditions requiring the buyer to retain all habitat for the Tasmanian devil. The current owners of VDL are dedicated to clearing more than 1800 hectares of forest at its Woolnorth property and converting it to dairy pasture.