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East Coast Salmon Expansion - Access to Water

1 May 2019
Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRIES and WATER, Mr BARNETT

Today construction is starting on a pipeline along the Prosser River as 
part of Tassal's bid to get water for their east coast salmon expansion. 
Tassal has not formally got that water source sorted. The Twamley Dam at 
the head of the Prosser River has not passed ECBC approval because of 
swift parrot impacts and may never get the tick-off, yet MAST has 
advertised that the pipe is being laid. An internal TasWater briefing in 
late 2016 identified major risks with loss of catchment yield from this 
particular dam, including concerns about bulk water storage, long-term 
water security at Orford and Triabunna and exacerbation of an already 
critical drought situation in the area. 

The recent audit panel meeting minutes at Glamorgan Spring Bay Council 
reveal the water will instead have to come from Hobbs Lagoon, a supply 
that is only viable for three to eight years at the most depending on 
rainfall. Mayor Wisby recognises a very limited supply of water on the 
east coast and said she has not seen any modelling of an alternative water 
supply for residents and irrigation if the Hobbs Lagoon runs dry. East 
coast residents are already suffering under incredibly dry conditions with 
regular water restrictions, a recent bushfire at Dolphin Sands and a 
predicted El Nino summer ahead. 

Your Government continues to put the salmon industry above the interests 
of the community and the environment. Will you step in and call a halt to 
this ill-conceived pipeline and do the proper modelling you should have 
done in the first place on climate change impacts, water availability and 
threatened species impacts and put residents' views and needs and farmers' 
needs before your salmon giant friends?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question and the opportunity to 
speak in support of the salmon industry for Tasmania. Of course the 
Greens have been consistently opposed to the salmon industry and jobs in 
the salmon industry. However, what is the position of Labor? This is the 
big question for the people of Tasmania about preferencing the Greens, the 
anti-salmon candidates - what is the position of Labor regarding salmon? 
That is what we want to know. That is what the Tasmanian people want to 
know. It is a very important question for the Labor Opposition in terms 
of salmon. 

Let me make it very clear that there is no stronger friend of the salmon 
industry than the Hodgman Liberal Government. It has been made perfectly 
clear again today with the Greens opposition. With respect to the Prosser 
water scheme, I am advised the department has not received an application 
for the proposed Twamley Dam. Further, I am advised that the proposed 
Twamley Dam has not received federal government approval, and the member 
for Franklin is aware of the position that that is still under 
consideration.

Dr Woodruff - Didn't you listen to the question?

Mr BARNETT - As recently reported, construction of a pipeline from the 
existing Prosser River Dam to Orford to service a number of parties, not 
just Tassal, is very important to the east coast, Glamorgan Spring Bay, a 
beautiful part of the world and they need water. The council has every 
right and entitlement to pursue this project and clearly that is a project 
that they wish to pursue if they are seeing it as a priority. Water is a 
priority and that is why this Government is supporting our initiatives in 
terms of drought and drought-affected areas, whether they be on the east 
coast or other parts of Tasmania.

There is no greater supporter of this than the Hodgman Liberal Government. 
We know that the Labor Party is still tied at the hip to the Greens. We 
do not know the position of Labor with respect to salmon. The decision 
has been welcomed by the company.

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of clarification, Madam Speaker. That is absolutely 
untrue. On the issue of fish farm expansion, the minister knows he is not 
speaking the truth. There is absolutely nothing similar about the 
position of the Greens on fish farm expansion and the Labor Party, who are 
in lockstep with the Liberals.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. I will take that as a point of clarification. 

Mr BARNETT - That is a wonderful point of clarification, Madam Speaker. I 
am delighted with the opportunity to respond to the point of clarification
. The Greens have been consistent and I commend them for that, but what 
about the Labor Opposition, tied at the hip with the Greens, preferencing 
the Greens at the election on Saturday and in the federal election, anti-
salmon candidates, Labor and Greens anti-salmon candidates? What about 
those who are pro-salmon? I appreciate the opportunity to clarify that 
matter and ask the question, what is the position of the Labor Opposition?