For three years, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has been talking with stakeholders and the general public regarding the impacts of 4WDs and other vehicles on the sensitive Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area (APCA): it has hired consultants to talk with the community to do further assessments; it has summarised public comments, hold workshops to discuss concerns with the community stakeholders – but not one off-road track in the APCA has been closed. (See below, ‘Parks and Wildlife Service’s Chronology of Inaction’.
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.
Tasmania has been branded as ‘the road kill state’. An apt title considering that Tasmania has the highest incidences of wildlife roadkill in the nation (Magnus et el, 2004). An estimate 293,000 animals are killed on Tasmanian roads each year. Of those, approximately 3,000 Tasmanian devils are killed (3% of the total devil population) making roadkill the second biggest threat to the devil population after Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Examples of every species of Tasmanian native animal can be found dead on the roads: quolls, bandicoots, wedge-tailed eagles..the list goes on. Local newspapers and State government departments frequently receive comments and complaints from visitors to the state expressing concern about the amount of roadkill they have seen on Tasmanian roads.
he Tasmanian Conservation Trust recently issued a media statement accusing the state government of scraping the 2009 draft management plan for the Seven Mile Peninsula and abandoning a proposed community steering committee in favour of a Ralphs Bay–style exclusive deal, to develop a golf course and resort for the peninsula. The development also seems to defy the recommendations of a 2008 government-funded consultant’s report which ‘rules out development over most of the peninsula’.
The annual CCAMLR Commission meeting finished in Hobart in early November – that’s the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the international body with a conservation mandate for controlling relevant activities in the Southern Ocean, with its Secretariat based in Hobart. I had the privilege of representing Australian conservation organisations on the Australian government delegation, as I have done for the last few years.
The Tasmanian Government’s failure to act on longstanding problems associated with the rock lobster fishery not only threatens its sustainability and export accreditation, but also jeopardises the abalone fishery and the marine environment. Tasmania’s iconic rock lobster fishery has been plagued by serious problems for many years and the Tasmanian Government is doing nothing about it. Localised overfishing, inshore fishing pressure and expanding Centrostephanus urchin barrens are longstanding problems. Since 2008, recruitment failure, that is the failure of juvenile rock lobsters to grow and survive to become part of the legal sized fishery stock, has amplified the other problems.
The TCT has a long association with Wellington Park. In 1990 the Wellington Range Working Group was set up with representatives from all government agencies (state and local) with an interest in the management of the Wellington Range. The working group undertook an extensive public consultation process during which the TCT lobbied heavily for the creation of a Wellington Range National Park.
On 25 October 2011 the Tasmanian Conservation Trust commenced proceedings in the Tasmanian Supreme Court in Hobart seeking a determination that the Tamar Valley pulp mill permit has lapsed as the pulp mill was not substantially commenced before midnight on 30 August 2011. It is a matter of the utmost public interest for all Tasmanians and in particular the people of the Tamar Valley, that the legal status of the permit be resolved. We are advised only the Court can determine this.
On 20 September 2011 the Minister for Energy and Resources, Bryan Green, approved a revised Permanent Native Forest Estate Policy (PNFE Policy). The TCT is greatly concerned at the effect the changes will have and about how and why the policy was amended. The announcement regarding the revision to the PNFE Policy hardly rated a mention in the media because Minister Green’s announcement related to forest ‘clearing and conversion’ and not ‘logging’.
At a time when the rest of the world seems to be finally waking up to the significance of forest management in climate change policy, forest managers, including Tasmania’s, seem determined to turn a deaf ear. While the use of fossil fuels must be drastically reduced if we are to avert dangerous climate change (limiting global warming to less than 2oC), greenhouse gas emissions from misuse of land (especially deforestation, forest degradation and peat drainage) are so large that they, too, must be constrained if we are to succeed.
The Tasmanian Weed Alert Network is a group of volunteers looking out for serious new weeds in Tasmania. Volunteers come the across livestock, cropping, forest and mining industries, the community and government. We have around 80 volunteers spread across the state, including on the Bass Strait islands.
The review process for the Tasmanian rock lobster fishery is nearing its final stages. Unfortunately it looks as if DPIPWE has learned nothing from the community consultation process, has ignored some obvious solutions to some obvious problems, and is overseeing the demise of this once iconic fishery.