Environment Tasmania welcomes today’s decision by the Tasmanian Planning Commission that it is unable to approve Tassal’s development plans for its controversial Okehampton Bay development, because the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council failed to meet the exhibition requirements of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Regulations 2014.
“The Planning Commission rejection is more evidence of the shonky governance process surrounding Tassal’s controversial east coast plans," said Laura Kelly, Environment Tasmania. "Tassal and Council have tried to ram plans through so quickly they haven’t even bothered to comply with the most basic provisions in the land use act."
“Public exhibition requirements exist so that the community can have a say in controversial developments. It is not surprising that Tassal and the Council breached these requirements, this is in keeping with the usual approach to withholding information about controversial developments in Okehampton Bay and Macquarie Harbour.”
“As well as failing to properly advertise the development application, Council failed to make available to the public key documents including a risk management plan for dredging for Tassal’s industrial jetty, which scientists have warned is risky because of the presence of toxic algal blooms on the east coast.”
“The process was rushed and key documents withheld, and unfortunately this type of behaviour – fast-tracking Tassal’s developments and turning a blind eye when Tassal breaks the law, has become typical of government’s approach when Tassal is involved. Both the Council and State Government claim they are approving harmful developments for ‘jobs’, but they completely ignore the fact that doing things right creates just as many jobs,” Ms Kelly said.
“Thankfully the Tasmanian Planning Commission has the power in this case to force Tassal and the Council to follow proper process. Their decision demonstrates that we need the same oversight for Tassal’s ocean based developments, but unfortunately we are lumped with Minister Rockliff having the sole power to rubber stamp an industrial-scale salmon farm in warm, weakly flushed water in prime fishing and tourism country,” Ms Kelly said.
Environment Tasmania will continue to challenge Tassal’s controversial east coast developments plans when the company resubmits its development application and Council follows basic process.
For comment: 0401 559 355.