Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
The Minister for Primary Industries made it clear in Parliament today he has no intention of limiting or stopping the expansion of Tassal onto the East Coast, despite a review that’s still ongoing.
When the Greens questioned Minister Rockliff in Parliament this morning, he talked up his assessment process and defended the industry's decision to ignore it in the very same breath.
Submissions on the Great Oyster Bay and Mercury Passage Marine Farming Development Plan 1998 are open until late September.
Minister Rockliff requested an independent assessment by the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel of the 20 year-old lease for salmon farming at Okehampton Bay, citing a need for community confidence.
As well as appropriate monitoring, the assessment will examine effects to the ecology, visual impact, and predicted impacts of increased marine farming on the area.
Whatever the Panel's findings, Tassal has stated their intention to proceed regardless. This is despite findings not being expected in February next year, and community members still preparing their submissions.
Tassal’s sustainability manager said on September 8th that, "as far as I’m concerned, we have a lease in place and we have a licence... we could put a pen out there tomorrow if we wanted to and start growing fish.”
It doesn't bode well that the proponent is continuing regardless of what the Panel may recommend, and the Minister is just shrugging his shoulders at their actions.
Either Minister Rockliff wants the East Coast community to have a say about development in their region, or he wants to roll out the red carpet, unchecked, for industry. But he can't have both.
Minister Rockliff needs to choose whether he will have an independent and modern regulatory assessment process, or do things the old Tasmanian way.