Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE, Mr JAENSCH
Your Government has missed two statutory deadlines for the State of the Environment Report, much like your mainland colleagues. Since 2009, three serious fires have devastated the TWWHA, and we have had the longest ever documented marine heatwave in east coast waters that killed almost all of our giant kelp communities. The number of species close to extinction has dramatically expanded and these are just the ones that we know about. Your colleague, minister Ferguson, has palmed off this critical work to get another review. As Minister for Environment and Climate Change, you should know we do not have time to waste because we are in a climate and biodiversity crisis. Will you recognise the urgency and commit to ensuring we have an independently produced state of the environment report, as legislated, by 2024?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question.
Dr Woodruff - Are you getting talking points from the Deputy Premier?
Mr Ferguson - We're a team, unlike that side.
Mr JAENSCH - Absolutely, we are a team.
Dr Woodruff - He should be able to talk for himself.
Mr Ferguson - We help each other.
Mr Tucker - We're a team.
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Ms O'Connor - Who runs this show?
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr JAENSCH - Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I understand there is also a reference in here to a matter that is an order of the day for later today so I will aim not to enter into that area. However, I want to make it clear in terms of the matters Dr Woodruff has raised that a State of the Environment report is typically a backwards looking update on a range of parameters in the performance of our environment and our regulatory systems. When it comes to questions about how we plan for, manage and acquit our responsibilities under legislation to management of our environment, we are dealing with real-time data and advice from a wide range of government agencies who are working every day to ensure that we have up-to-date science, advice and policies to address the climate and environment challenges facing Tasmania.
I reject the assertion that somehow the absence of a State of the Environment report -
Ms O'Connor - Two of them - two!
Mr SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, order.
Mr JAENSCH - affects the Government's ability to successfully manage environmental priorities at all. As we have said previously, there has been an independent review of the roles of the Tasmanian Planning Commission which identified that the commission is not the appropriate body to prepare updates of the State of the Environment Report in the future.
Dr Woodruff - It used to be in 2009, it just had no money.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, member for Franklin.
Mr JAENSCH - An independent review found that. Sometimes the Greens like independent reviews but sometimes if they do not come out the way they want, they want us to be able to intervene. It is a bit like independent regulation of environmental matters, it is very important that it is done at arm's length from the Government, but as soon as it does not look like what they want, they want us to intervene, so there is some hypocrisy in that.
We are commissioning advice on where the State of the Environment Report should best sit within the machinery of government and what the purpose of a future state of the environment report should be and we will have more to say on that in coming weeks.