Every now and then a court decision comes along that requires us to stand up and take notice. The role of courts in our democracy is extremely important and, arguably is becoming more and more important as the years pass. Courts do not just determine disputes between people or determine whether people have committed criminal offences. A more fundamental and arguably important role of courts is to determine the limits on the power exercised by our governments and by our Parliaments in a federal system. As our governments and parliaments are increasingly captured by well-resourced lobby groups - aided and abetted by large multinational news corporations - the role of courts on checking overreach by state parliaments has grown.
The TCT is very concerned about certain aspects of the Liberal Party’s firearms policy. In particular, we are concerned about the proposal to make Category C licences (rapid fire firearms) available to a wider group of people than is currently the case, which we are told is for the purpose of controlling native animals to protect crops and pasture.
If we look at some recent scientific literature regarding the state of the natural world, such as the WWF Living Planet Report or any of the Australian Government’s State of the Environment Reports, it is very clear our natural world is in decline, globally and at home. The purpose of this article is to discuss the impacts of population growth on both our natural environment and quality of life, and what should be considered by policy makers when determining a population policy.
When Australia nominated the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania’s Southwest Wilderness as World Heritage areas, it was to protect them from damage by specific industrial activities, like oil drilling and damming. Our national environmental legislation includes World Heritage areas and Commonwealth marine parks as ‘triggers’ for the involvement of the Federal government. However, is Federal law equipped to protect these same World Heritage areas from the impacts of climate change?
The Liberal Party’s 2018 state election policy ‘Safeguarding Tasmania’s Unique Natural Environment’, commits to a program to assist in cleaning up major rubbish dumps and stronger penalties for those responsible. This may not sound like a ground breaking environment policy but it was the only positive environment policy the Liberals proposed other than more staffing for the Parks and Wildlife Service.
The State Government’s changes to planning legislation have sown the seeds for overdevelopment in Tasmania’s iconic cities, coastal hideaways, heritage towns and wilderness areas, whilst creating opaque processes that empower the Planning Minister and strip the community’s rights. They have plans for more draconian changes.
On 28 February 2018 I was pleased to speak at the launch of Kingborough Council's 'Inside with cats' video series. There are five short videos each telling a personal story of why a cat owner has decided to contain their cat and what the benefits are for them and their cat. There is a crucial need for high quality education such as these videos plus complimentary legislation to encourage high levels of responsible cat ownership. My talk regarding the proposed amendments to the Cat Management Act is included in full below and you can view the five videos via the link. https://www.kingborough.tas.gov.au/2018/03/inside-with-cats/
The TCT said today that Peter Gutwein's Draft Major Projects Legislation, if enacted, will deliver the Fragrance Skyscrapers in Hobart and Launceston, against the interests of local communities.
'It seems that the purpose of the legislation is to fast track the approval of any development that is vehemently opposed by the community including the two massive Fragrance skyscrapers proposed for Hobart and the recently announced 70 metre high Fragrance hotel proposed for next to Launceston's City Park,' said TCT Director Peter McGlone.
The Minister for Planning, Peter Gutwein, announced on 22 November 2017 that the Draft Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Major Projects) Bill 2017 (Major Projects Legislation) would not be tabled in parliament prior to the state election. The Minister promised that the bill would be redrafted to rule out very high buildings being able to be declared major projects.