Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
The Liberals’ announcement today, about changes to the Reserve Activity Assessments in national parks and reserves, is a good first step. It is a clear admission the EOI process has been secretive and shut out Tasmanians from having a say on the future of protected areas.
While the statutory replacement of the Reserve Activity Assessment process is welcomed by the Greens, we will reserve any celebration on behalf of wilderness lovers until we see the final draft legislation.
The introduction of third party appeals is a critical part of any statutory process, but there must also be the capacity for judicial review. We hope the Liberals’ Bill will include a pathway for review.
The publication of lease and licences over reserved lands is long overdue. We, like many other Tasmanians who care very much about their protected areas, have had to endure protracted Right to Information appeals to obtain what should be public documents.
We acknowledge the new Parks’ Minister has taken a positive step towards giving Tasmanians a say about publicly owned lands.
Minister Petrusma has done what many before her have refused to do.
In her explanation to Budget Estimates about the changes, however, we were only told that the assessment process would be mandated for ‘major uses and developments’. We have concerns this means some developments will not be properly assessed against the management plan.