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Government Must Release IMAS Report

7 Feb 2017

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Environment spokesperson

Late last year, the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies produced a report for government on the health of Macquarie Harbour. 

The  ‘January 2017 Environmental Research in Macquarie Harbour’ report is understood to be behind Huon Aquaculture’s decision to launch actions in the Supreme Court of Tasmania and the Federal Court of Australia.

The government must release the IMAS report publicly, and explain why it was hidden.  

The Liberals are sitting on critical, and possibly damning, information, believed to show they have been ignoring their own irrefutable science on Macquarie Harbour. 

If this is true, it would reveal their decision to risk damaging Tasmania's globally significant World Heritage Area, threatened species and the reputation of an industry that employs thousands of Tasmanians.  If it’s not, what do they have to lose with its release.

Leaked excerpts from the report indicate dissolved oxygen levels throughout the harbour have plummeted to historic lows causing salmon and other marine life to suffocate.

The number and types of animals living on the sea floor have dropped dramatically across the harbour, which is also home to the endangered maugean skate.  The leaked information suggests one lease site is devoid of all fauna up to 500 metres around the cages.   

Consecutive Labor and Liberal governments have hidden the damage to Macquarie Harbour from Tasmanians.  It is long past time government was open and transparent about the environmental damage occurring.

Minister Rockliff’s hand-picked Marine Framing Review Planning Panel is making decisions about Okehampton Bay on the East Coast right now.  It’s going on behind closed doors and deaf to public comment and science. 

In failing to release the tax-payer funded IMAS report, Minister Rockliff is proving the government can’t be trusted to regulate the industry.