Before complaining about our rising TasWater bills, it’s worth considering the work that is being done to improve Tasmania’s water quality. TasWater is undertaking a massive program of works, started by its predecessors, to upgrade drinking water and sewerage treatment infrastructure across the state. This promises to have very significant benefits for its customers and the natural environment
On 29 January 2014 the Tasmanian Parliament passed the Pulp Mill Assessment Amendment Bill 2014 for the purpose of removing all doubts regarding the legal validity of the permit for the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill and, specifically, to prevent the TCT’s Supreme Court case continuing and potentially finding the permits had lapsed.
While the TCT is pleased with the expansion of the previously tiny marine reserves at Ninepin Point and Tinderbox in 2009, it is disappointing that, under the Labor–Green government, no new reserves have been created or proposed.
Tasmania’s current approach to managing the use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals is largely based on out-of-date codes of practice from 2000 (aerial spraying) and 2001 (ground spraying) that rely on voluntary industry compliance with virtually no possibility of prosecutions for contraventions. The state government initiated a review of agricultural and veterinary chemicals management in 2008 and there were public consultation processes in April 2008 and in May 2011.
In November 2011 the Legislative Council threatened not to pass the new Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical (Control of Use) Regulations plus the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical (Control of Use) Amendment Bill (the Bill is required so that many functions previously contained in the codes of practice can be incorporated into the greatly enhanced and expanded regulations).
A recent amendment to the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995 puts more direct power in the hands of the minister. This change makes it even more obvious that the government believes Tasmanians should have no meaningful role in the planning process that governs Tasmania’s aquaculture industry.
In February 2010 the Australian and Tasmanian governments signed an agreement to undertake a strategic impact assessment pursuant to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) of the state government processes and regulations under which the Midlands Water Scheme (MWS) will be developed.