15 May 2024

Bob Brown Foundation condemns move to change State Coastal Policy

| James Day
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A planned retrospective amendment to the State Coastal Policy of Tasmania has come under fire from the Bob Brown Foundation. Photo: iStock/wallix.

A proposed retrospective amendment to the State Coastal Policy of Tasmania has been criticised by the Bob Brown Foundation as a sellout to multinational developers.

Minister for Parks and Environment Nick Duigan said the State Government wanted to ensure Tasmanian communities had the necessary infrastructure to safely enjoy marine recreation, while also providing developers and regulators with confidence in how the state’s policies were to be interpreted and applied.

“The government will be looking to amend the Tasmanian State Coastal Policy to ensure that there we can both protect our coastal environment and allow sensible and sustainable recreational and other infrastructure that is necessarily connected to our coasts,” Minister Duigan said.

“The government will also ensure that decisions made under previous interpretations of the State Coastal Policy and Tasmania’s planning system are validated to address any unintended liability consequences that may now arise.”

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Mr Duigan said the government had received advice in March regarding the application of the Coastal Policy.

“This advice is different to the way that the policy had been applied to developments in coastal areas since being introduced,” he said.

“This could potentially impact on the use of all coastal infrastructure, including community infrastructure such as jetties and boat ramps.”

This interpretation also led to the Environmental Protection Authority joining an appeal against Robbins Island windfarm in March 2024, which has been approved by the local council, with the decision upheld by the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TasCAT).

Bob Brown Foundation spokesperson Christine Milne said the upheld decision was done at the behest of multinational company ACEN, because the community, through the legal system, was preventing it destroying the coast of Robbins Island.

“Make no mistake, if the Coastal Policy is retrospectively amended it will affect every square inch of Tasmania’s coast,” Ms Milne said.

“Developers will love the idea that they can build wharves, jetties and infrastructure on dune systems regardless of environmental impact or the increasing erosion from rising sea levels.

“Global warming is accelerating and instead of taking it into account, the Rockliff Government abolishes the Climate Ministry and accelerates the degradation.

“Because the Circular Head community and the EPA have argued in court that the State Coastal Policy prevents ACEN destroying the coastal landforms, ACEN has demanded the law be changed and so Premier Rockliff has agreed.”

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Ms Milne went on to claim that when ”Doubts Removal” legislation had been retrospectively applied in the past, it was for pulp mills and loggers – but now with this change, it was for wind farm developers, fish farmers, TasNetworks and Marinus Link.

“Tasmanians voted for change at the election but instead, they have more of the same,” she said.

“All those who said they’d hold the government to account need to stand up against this assault on the law, Tasmanian communities and the coast they love.”

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