Don’t zone Tassie’s east coast industrial

Tasmania’s peak environment group will be attending the meeting of Glamorgan Spring Bay Council tonight to object to an application by salmon farming giant, Tassal, to have endangered whale calving habitat on Tasmania’s east coast zoned industrial.

6000 Environment Tasmania supporters have written to Council objecting to rezoning of ‘Environmental Management’ and ‘Public Reserve’ land and water, to ‘light industrial’ zoning with a variation to allow for industrial aquaculture operations.

“Tassal has already pushed endangered species to the brink of extinction in Macquarie Harbour, and now they want to do the same in endangered Southern Right Whale calving habitat at Okehampton Bay,” said Strategy Director, Laura Kelly. “Council could not possibly approve this controversial development without ignoring the threats industrial aquaculture infrastructure poses to endangered whales which are protected under Commonwealth law.”

“All threats listed under the Commonwealth Conservation Management Plan for Southern Right Whales are represented by this development, from noise from pile driving, to increased vessel disturbance and habitat modification.”

“The majority of Tasmanians support our salmon industry, but that doesn’t mean Tassal can expand open slather on our coastline, especially in prime tourism and fishing territory and endangered whale calving habitat.”

Environment Tasmania will also be drawing Council’s attention to ongoing issues with 'use classification' within the development application. Failure to properly classify resource management uses was one reason that the Tasmanian Planning Commission has already rejected this development application once - in March 2016.

“The Tasmanian Planning Commission has already rejected Tassal’s application once. Unfortunately the same problems remain with the application, with the company naming its infrastructure ‘light industrial’ when it is clearly ‘general industrial’ and will have significant impacts on adjacent land users. Environment Tasmania will again challenge this application in the Tasmanian Planning Commission,” Ms Kelly said.

Environment Tasmania will also be writing to Council to challenge their decision to single out the 6000 email submissions sent by Environment Tasmania supporters from the written submissions received by Council.

“There is absolutely no reason why Council should treat submissions from individuals received via email differently to submissions received in writing. Council needs to step into the 21st century and realise that they will receive communications via 'the internet'.”

“Environment Tasmania also questions whether Council’s decision to single out submissions received by Environment Tasmania supporters is discriminatory. Councillors should consider all submissions equally, regardless of whether they agree with their content,” Ms Kelly said.