Director's Report November 2014

Fracking moratorium

During the state election the Liberal Party promised a 12-month moratorium on fracking across Tasmania. In the last newsletter we told you that the TCT had written to the new Liberal government requesting details about when the moratorium would commence and what it intended to do in terms of studies and policy reviews during the moratorium. On 26 August 2014 we received a letter from Minister for Resources Paul Harriss informing us that the moratorium had commenced four months earlier. Not only had nothing occurred during the four months but the government had notified no one about it until it wrote to the TCT.

Liberal Party proposal for a moratorium on fracking

Is there, or is there not, a state government moratorium on fracking? Despite the Liberal state government’s clear and emphatic election policy to institute a moratorium on fracking, four months after the election there is no evidence a moratorium has been instituted. Two days after the election the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jeremy Rockliff, made the statement transcribed below, to ABC Local Radio’s Country Hour. While encouraging, this statement raised more questions than it answered.

Dans Hill nickel mine

In October 2009 we ran a front page story in the Tasmanian Conservationist, ‘Nickel Mine Nightmare’, regarding the proposal by the New South Wales–based company Proto Resources to mine for nickel and other minerals in the Dans Hill Conservation Area and nearby private land near Beaconsfield. The original proposal, if approved, would have destroyed half the known individuals of the nationally listed, critically endangered plant species Tetratheca gunnii. 

Dans Hill nickel mine proposal update

The Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, has replied to the TCT’s letter regarding the Dans Hill nickel mine proposal (feature article in the of the Tasmanian Conservationist #319) and has promised to investigate the circumstances and conditions under which Australian Government funds were used for the purchase of private land for inclusion in the Dans Hill Conservation Area.

Proto Resources’ Dans Hill Nickel Mine is a nightmare

Proto Resources’ Dans Hill Mine proposal is for a 210ha  open-cut nickel mine, half of which is within the Dans Hill Conservation Area (see map). Mining this area would result in the destruction of half of the known population of the nationally listed critically endangered herb Tetratheca gunnii, possibly Tasmania’s most endangered plant species. But wait, there’s more. One hundred hectares of the proposed mining area was purchased in 1999 – 2000 with Australian Government funds through the Private Forests Reserve Program specifically to protect Tetratheca gunnii.