Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
Tasmanians in coastal areas woke up this morning to news that their communities are potentially under threat from a massive expansion of fish farming into inshore waters.
Primary Industries Minister, Guy Barnett, last month quietly announced he would be supporting the industry to grow to two billion dollars a year. That’s more than double its current gargantuan footprint.
Now the Greens understand Minister Barnett is overseeing a secretive review of the current ‘no grow’ zones on the East Coast, with no public consultation until the proposed changes are finalised. This is the type of sham consultation Tasmanians are sick of.
Despite a cast-iron commitment by the Liberal Government to the people of the East Coast there would be no more fish farming outside Okehampton Bay, we understand industry are begging for more marine sites – and one company has purchased Lease 164 in a consortium, a shellfish lease in the pristine Mercury Passage.
The Greens asked the Minister whether his department is forming a secret Committee to look at the “No Growth Zone” on the East Coast, and whether they would be reclassifying any existing leases – or creating new ones near the Maria Island marine protected area.
Minister Barnett obfuscated, and refused to address or answer these questions.
Instead of insisting the salmon industry’s quest for expansion occurs on land or far out to sea, we understand the Liberals are doing everything possible to facilitate growth through the cheapest, dirtiest, and most environmentally-harmful expansion options.
How long has the Gutwein Government been in conversation with fish farm companies about these plans for another massive expansion?
The Liberals can’t ignore questions about public waterways, or shut down the Greens when we raise matters in the public interest. Minister Barnett must rule out a coast grab.