Since inscription on the World Heritage List in 1982, the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) has been managed under a partnership arrangement between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments. Day-to-day management of the area is the responsibility of the Parks and Wildlife Service.
Back in May 2007, an article entitled ‘World Heritage Embarrassment’ was published in the Tasmanian Conservationist (#311), highlighting the stand-off by the Tasmanian Government on funding for a program to remove rabbits, rats and mice from Macquarie Island and its credibility on nature conservation in one of the most important reserves in Australia.
The Tasmanian Liberals, with the support of the Labor Party, passed legislation through the lower house of the State Parliament on 16 October to remove the veto that the Wellington Park Management Trust has, but has never used, over development proposals for Mt Wellington. The Legislative Council has also now passed this bill. We congratulate Rob Valentine as the only Legislative Councillor to vote against removing the veto.
In case the new Coalition government is interested in providing additional financial support to the Three Capes Track (as requested last month by state Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Brian Wightman) it should consider the report bySyneca Consulting, Economic Impact Analysis for Three Capes Track, Tasman National Park – Revisited 2012. Syneca also did a narrower economic analysis in 2008.
The Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry was released in early October and briefly enlivened the public debate about bushfire management and, in particular, fuel-reduction burning. Sadly, the debate has quickly died down and there is little pressure on the state government to show leadership to improve bushfire management.
In July 2013, the Tasmanian government released for public comment a draft State Coastal Policy Statement. This is the first product in the development of the anticipated ‘Coastal Protection and Planning Framework’ intended to replace the State Coastal Policy 1996. Significantly, the draft statement aims to settle overarching principles of coastal management, rather than provide any detail regarding implementation or on-ground work – such detail has been deferred to ‘Phase 2’.
In October 2013 the state government introduced legislation to establish a Parks and Reserves Authority to manage the public reserve estate – which is currently 38% of Tasmania’s land area and expected to be increased to more than 45% of the land and 5.75 % of the state-controlled marine environment. By the time you read this article we are confident that the legislation will have passed the lower house of the Parliament; the Legislative Council should complete its deliberations before the end of the year.
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust today issued a statement reminding investors who may be interested in buying the Tamar Valley pulp mill permit that the TCT’s Supreme Court case challenging the validity of the permit is still underway.
Along with representatives of Markets for Change, Huon Valley Environment Centre and Still Wild Still Threatened, I attended a meeting with Forestry Tasmanian CEO Steve Whiteley and other FT staff on 16 October, to discuss FT’s impending application for Forest Stewardship Council certification.
Several related wildlife themes have surfaced in the recent past: ways in which our cities and suburbs turn some animal species into winners or losers (Low 2002); a trend for some species to adapt to habitat or landscape-scale changes (TPC 2010) and how landowners might best manage the major problem of browser impacts (Greening Australia 2003). Are we creating winners and losers by appropriating wildlife habitat? What is the current position? The Hobart suburb of Fern Tree may be an instructive example here.
During the federal election the proponent of the Copping hazardous waste landfill facility (or C-cell), Southern Waste Solutions (SWS), tried unsuccessfully to obtain a funding commitment from the major political parties. On 2 August 2013 the Southern Tasmanian Councils Association released its ‘2013 Federal Election Manifesto’, which includes a request for a commitment to providing $9 million for construction of the proposed Copping C-cell.
The Cat Management Act 2009 and Cat Management Regulations 2012 commenced in July 2012 as Tasmania’s first ever legislation for the control and management of cats. About a year after the legislation commenced the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Brian Wightman announced that his department would be assessing the effectiveness of the legislation through a formal review.