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?
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?