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Coastal Policy Statement

Position statement:

Environment Tasmania is opposed to the proposed changes to the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy 1996 announced by the Tasmanian Liberal government on 6th May 2024. 

The proposed changes could potentially open up the Tasmanian coastline to private development by removing a clause that prohibits development on mobile coastlines. It is also apparent the government intends to fast-track these proposed changes via parliament, circumventing the standard legislated public consultation process.

Environment Tasmania is concerned that the proposed amendments, which are retrospective amendments, would facilitate the construction of infrastructure for Robbins Island Wind Farm (a 510m jetty), undermining the current Supreme Court Appeal against the development by conservation and community groups.The EPA was forced to join the appeal when it became apparent that they had erred in the law by not ensuring compliance with the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy. These series of events are evidently connected to the retrospective amendments sought to the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy; all the more reason for the government to follow the legislated, consultative process.

On legal advice, which they will not disclose, the government claims the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy has been applied in a way that places the legal status of numerous jetties around the state in doubt, and this in itself threatens the ‘Tasmanian way of life’.

Asserting that “Tasmania’s way of life” is being threatened by the Tasmanian Coastal Policy which protects the coasts that Tasmanians love to enjoy, is contentious.  It is also underhand to not provide the public with evidence of the legal advice received or the locations of the jetties, the legal status of which is apparently threatened.

Tasmania is the stronghold for tens of thousands of shorebirds, and sites like Robbins Island Passage meet eight out of the ten criteria to be designated a Ramsar site. To open up the coast to private development will threaten the very habitats these shorebirds rely on.

Many Tasmanians centre their lifestyle around the coast and enjoy having easy access. Fishing, swimming, diving and surfing are some of the ways that Tasmanians enjoy the coasts. This is very much “Tasmania’s way of life”.

Environment Tasmania is calling for the government to:

  • Stop its attempt to amend the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy, ensuring there is no impact to the Robbins Island Supreme Court case.
  • Any proposed changes to the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy must follow the existing, legislated public consultation process.
  • If, as the State Government asserts, the legality of existing structures such as jetties and wharves is in doubt, they have a responsibility to the Tasmanian community to release the legal arguments (if not the legal advice) supporting these assertions to ensure transparency in the proposal.

Click here to read the Background Report written by Planning Matter Alliance (PMAT).

Click here to read the state government’s media release from 6th May 2024.

“Should these changes go ahead, it would be a backward step for transparency and good governance in Tasmania. Areas of the coast could become locked up for private development, making them inaccessible for Tasmanians, threatening the “Tasmanian way of life”. We are calling on the members of both houses to vote to leave the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy as it is.” Rebecca Howarth, Senior Marine Campaigner


“The coastal Tasmanian way of life for me is shack life. As far as development goes, those rickety wooden shacks, that’s as far as it needs to go. Coastal development in Tasmania just doesn’t fit in with what we want. We don’t want concrete access to every beach path, we don’t want hot showers at the entry of every beach, we don’t want buildings and hotels and development all over the foreshore. We want to maintain the vistas that we have. If we end up allowing more and more development along our coastline, we are just going to cater for a few, the wealthy, and we’re really not looking after the locals. It’s locals that the government needs to focus on. We should be able to just enjoy rocking up somewhere and adventuring. Adventure’s such a massive part, and exploration, of being a Tasmanian. It would be great if we could maintain that.” Bob Boost, Recreational fisher, Eaglehawk Neck


“We do not want our beautiful pristine coastlines looking like the Gold Coast.” Libby Douglas 


“No development. Our pristine beauty and lack of hideous developments on our stunning coastline is why I live here and why people visit. The proposed major Development in Swansea would have really changed the whole vibe of that lovely little town” - 



“I place so much value on having public access to our coastline. I love being able to freely walk along it, to swim, play and surf.” Not_porter_ricks


“Tassie’s coastline is talked about by thousands and thousands of people from all over the world because of the way they are, unadulterated by gross high rises and high density suburbia, just wild and rugged or beautiful and free for all to enjoy. Why would you stuff up one of our most valuable assets to line the pockets for some developer. So against anything that jeopardises that for visitors and the ‘People Who Live here!’” gneti_3

“Equitable, low impact access to wild nature” ratherbewildered