The announcement on Friday by Minister Barnett that the Tasmanian Government is developing a '10-year Salmon Future Directions Plan' confirms that the industry and Government are not listening to calls from the community to reduce the impact of industrial fish farming.
Currently, salmon farms in Tasmania are creating huge environmental problems but it seems the Tasmanian government wants to push on with destroying Tasmania’s marine ecosystems.
"With the Gutwein government’s track record for 'sustainability', alleged 'world’s best practice' and community consultation with regards to the salmon, it would appear that this 10-year plan amounts to nothing more than a smoke screen for business as usual and a further give away of Tasmania’s beloved and pristine public waters to the polluting salmon barons," said Alistair Allan from the Bob Brown Foundation's marine team.
“The Tasmanian government and salmon industry are in cahoots to ensure the expansion of salmon over the next 10 years, even though it is plain to see that salmon farms are destroying Tasmania’s rivers and oceans now. If they continue to expand like they want to over the next 10 years, there won’t be one clean beach left in Tasmania.
The Blue Economy CRC is a collective of government and industry bodies perpetuating the interests of big business and carving up coastlines and ocean for industry usage, they don’t have the interests of Tasmania, its environment or communities at their core.
What the government should be announcing is a 10-year plan to repair and restore Tasmania’s waterways, especially Macquarie Harbour, from the massive damage already done by industrial salmon farming in our public waters," said Mr Allan.
Bob Brown challenges Morrison to stand up to Beijing on Australia’s environment.
According to today’s Australian Financial Review (Matt Oliver p. 12), China Minmetals Corporation, which owns MMG including the Rosebery mine in Tasmania, has been agglomerated, with two other giant state-owned mining companies, into a giant “super group” called China Rare Earths.
This mining colossus is likened to an ‘aircraft carrier’ and, according to the AFR, analysts warn that it will give Beijing even stronger influence over pricing. The report says that ‘Chinese media state outlets have also hinted that its stranglehold could also be weaponised as Beijing’s “ace in the hole” during tense US-China trade war flare-ups. It has only added to the nervousness in western capitals in ever greater need of the essential minerals, as reliance on technology that contains them grows.’
Bob Brown Foundation says that Canberra is being taken to the cleaners by Beijing in regards to MMG’s proposed toxic waste dump in the Tarkine rainforest where preliminary works are due to begin as early as next Friday, 21st January.
The foundation is preparing to peacefully blockade the ‘entirely unnecessary destruction of this ancient area of rainforest when good alternatives for the dump exist outside the Tarkine’.
Foundation patron Bob Brown says that Beijing obviously sees the Rosebery mine as part of its geopolitical power play in the world and has found Canberra and Hobart asleep at the wheel of environmental prudence and Australia’s national interests.
“The Morrison government is licensing this giant state-owned Chinese corporation to blitz the rainforest in the Tarkine with no independent analysis of the perfectly reasonable and prudent options outside the Tarkine, on the Rosebery mine side of the Pieman River. The Prime Minister and his Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley should urgently review their derelict decision-making at Rosebery in light of the far greater global self-interest Beijing is levying here and worldwide.”
“The Tarkine rainforest toxic waste dump proposal is wickedly unnecessary. It is an environmental outrage. If it goes ahead I will be going up there to join the foundation’s gallant staff and volunteers standing in the way of this atrocious and entirely avoidable robbery of Tasmania’s natural heritage,” Brown said.
Late this afternoon Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has permitted Chinese state owned miner MMG’s plans to construct roading drilling and preliminary excavations at its proposed tailings dam in the southern reaches of takayna/Tarkine. The works entail 14km of six metre wide roading and 170 drilling and test pitting sites each requiring cleared areas of up to 25 x 25m.
MMG was forced to cease these same works in July after Bob Brown Foundation foreshadowed legal action over MMG’s commencement of works without approval. 71 people were arrested preventing MMG’s illegal activity. Earlier this week BBF uncovered and reported that some works had proceeded without permits, and yesterday MMG attempted to move a crane onto the site.
“Minister Ley has decided that rogue mining companies should be gifted with permits rather than prosecutions," said Bob Brown Foundation takayna/Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“She has placed the whims of a company owned by a foreign state over the verified National and World Heritage values of Australia’s takayna/Tarkine. And has done so without even requiring an assessment
We know where the Minister stands. It now falls to citizens to again take to the barricades to defend the rainforests, the eagles, the owls, the quolls and the devils that call this region home. We urge people to rally now to join us on the blockade to defend this ancient and majestic wild place," said Mr Jordan.
The area to be affected has been verified as habitat for endangered species including the Wedge-tailed Eagle, Masked Owl, Spotted tailed Quoll and Tasmanian Devil.
Bob Brown Foundation re-established its blockade of the access road to the site on Sunday.
Bob Brown Foundation has written to the Minister for the Environment detailing further illegal activity by MMG ahead of this Friday’s decision on whether their roading and drilling works will require Commonwealth assessment under the EPBC Act. The works uncovered include marking out of drill sites and test pit sites not yet authorised by the Minister.
This is the third occasion that MMG has breached regulations in six months. In July MMG was forced to cease work on roading for drilling access after BBF uncovered that no permits existed. In October BBF uncovered that MMG had applied for a mine lease that it was not legally entitled to and was subsequently withdrawn by the Minister for Resources. Seventy one people were arrested between May and July 2021 while preventing MMG’s illegal works.
“MMG seems to think it can do as it pleases, and unfortunately having an Environment Minister who has refused to prosecute them will only reinforce that belief," said Bob Brown Foundation takayna/Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“For the third time now it is Bob Brown Foundation and citizen scientists uncovering MMG’s breaches, not the departments charged with regulating MMG’s activity
We are calling on the Minister to refuse the application before her from this company that clearly cannot follow simple rules, and to prosecute MMG for this and previous breaches of the EPBC Act," said Mr Jordan.
On Sunday evening Bob Brown Foundation re-established their blockade to prevent MMG’s destruction of rainforest and melaleuca forest for this obscene tailings dam.
The marked out areas include habitat for threatened species such as Spotted tailed quoll, Tasmanian devil and areas where Masked owl soundings have been recorded.
Ahead of an expected decision on whether Chinese state owned miner MMG can recommence work on its proposed toxic tailings dam north of the Pieman, Bob Brown Foundation have re-established a blockade camp on the access road to the controversial rainforest site. MMG’s illegal and unapproved works were halted by a combination of BBF led protests and legal interventions in 2021.
“While we hope that Minister Ley will refuse the Chinese government owners their request to waive the drilling and roading for this project without EPBC assessment, this does look like a deal has been done to help MMG bypass the normal assessment system. Why else would they withdraw these elements from an existing assessment and resubmit them as a stand alone?" said Bob Brown Foundation takayna/Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“In expectation of the Minister capitulating to MMG, we have re-established our blockade in the Pieman overnight. We are standing in defence of these ancient rainforests and the species like the Masked Owl and Spotted Tailed Quoll that calls them home. Hundreds of Tasmanians stood with us in 2021, and many more will join us in 2022”.
“The ball is in the Minister’s court. She can prove us wrong by ending this toxic project and prosecute MMG for their illegal actions, or she can condemn ancient rainforest to an outdated mine tailings dump."
MMG has not been prosecuted for their illegal works over May-July 2021. Seventy one people were arrested halting these illegal works over this time.
Today, racers were welcomed to the mouth of the Derwent River by a huge banner on the Ironpot lighthouse reading “TOXIC SALMON”. They will also be joined by a flotilla of yachts flying “TOXIC” flags and concerned Tasmanians were at the docks to highlight the very real threat of the ever-expanding salmon industry to Storm Bay and Tasmania’s unique coastline. A life size seal made entirely out of marine debris that has washed up from the industrial salmon farms was also towed around the docks.
Storm Bay, just to the south of Hobart and the Derwent River mouth, is an iconic stretch of water and is the final leg of the Sydney to Hobart race. Depending on conditions, racers often have to tack across the full width of Storm Bay to make the narrow entrance into the Derwent. But soon this bay will be full of fish farms.
“Over 1,000 hectares of leases are granted for the industrial salmon industry to expand into Storm Bay. This is an industry with a reputation for polluting the marine environment, not listening to community feedback, shedding mountains of marine debris, and a scandal where two scientists quit over the Storm Bay lease approvals” said Alistair Allan, Campaigner at the Bob Brown Foundation. “It seems the toxic salmon industry is not content with only destroying Tasmania’s marine environment, the industry now has its sights set on ruining the Sydney to Hobart yacht race as well."
“Do racers really want to have to navigate around these industrial feedlots on the final leg of the race? Doesn’t this detract from the feeling of sailing through a beautiful wild bay? We are asking racers, sailors, surfers and all who love our wild oceans and rivers to join us in defending the marine environment and Tasmania’s unique coasts. Not only will the Storm Bay expansion ruin the Sydney to Hobart, it will ruin the whole marine environment altogether.”
Forestry Tasmania and the Forest Practices Authority -the body responsible for protecting and ensuring the survival our endangered species - have sanctioned cable logging in a coupe with verified Swift Parrots feeding ground. Forestry Tasmania has planned and commissioned the logging, and the Forest Practices Authority ( FPA) has determined that the logging, currently occurring within the Swift Parrot’s core range in the state's deep southern forests, is ticked off to resume.
Over the past two years, Bob Brown Foundation in conjunction with experts in the field has been running citizen science surveys of areas of potential Swift Parrot habitat. ANU Conservation Scientist Dr Matthew Webb visited the site recently with Bob Brown Foundation.
"The number of newly fledged SP in this area is a rare event to witness and it's very clear this is an extremely important location. The evidence of successful breeding here exceeds anywhere else I have seen this season and is equivalent to the most productive sites elsewhere in the breeding range," said Dr Matt Webb.
"This cannot be ignored if we are serious about preventing the extinction of swift parrots. How decision-makers deal with this scenario in terms of the threat posed by logging here will be another litmus test for the industry and government," said Dr Webb.
The presence of Swift Parrot within the coupe has been verified and corroborated by the FPA.
“The system is failing. Potential nest trees, habitat and feeding grounds are being cable logged while the FPA hides behind weasel words like ‘minimise the risk to the species’ while endorsing the extinction of this critically endangered species”, said Bob Brown Foundation Campaigner Erik Hayward.
“This duplicity proves that there are no enforced protections for our Swift Parrots, and there is no accountability for the demise of this critically endangered species. The protocols in place are arbitrary and inadequate and the Forest Practices Plans are inept at capturing or protecting the values held within each forest area.
It is a sorry state of the times when citizen science has to voluntarily uncover, document and police that which a government enterprise such as Forestry Tasmania is tasked to perform. It receives millions of dollars of taxpayer funds and still fails in its duty and responsibility," said Mr Haywood.
BBF will be continuing our surveys for the fastest parrot in the world as they prepare their new young fledglings for a long haul flight to the mainland.
“The time for this morally moribund industry is over. We must end native forest logging if we are to save species like the Swift Parrot” said Mr Hayward.
Bob Brown Foundation continues its Mount Lindsay rainforest defence.
Drill rigs have been shut down on the slopes of Mount Lindsay in takayna/Tarkine as Bob Brown Foundation enters its seventh day of protest actions in the World Heritage value rainforest.
Protester Annette Levis has padlocked herself to a drill rig on the Mount Lindsay site, preventing Venture Minerals from planned drilling.
“I am here because I feel passionate about the rainforest, and once it’s gone it cannot be replaced. Once you see this forest you will be amazed and shocked that anyone would consider removing it for such short term gains," said Ms Levis.
“We have shut down the destruction at Mount Lindsay for the seventh time in the past five weeks because Venture Minerals is not listening. Australia’s largest remaining temperate rainforest is not their sandbox to dig and spoil”, said Bob Brown Foundation takayna/Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“Mount Lindsay is home to Tasmanian Devil, Spotted tailed Quoll and Masked Owl, while the company’s adjacent exploration plans risk remnant stands of Huon Pine on the Wilson River. We will continue to stand in between Venture and these rainforests until they surrender their mine lease and abandon this fool’s project”
Drilling on Venture Mineral’s mine lease has been halted for the fifth day this month as Bob Brown Foundation has prevented the deployment of two drill rigs. A protester was arrested yesterday after courageously locking onto the drill rig yesterday and two have returned to halt drilling today in the remote takayna/Tarkine rainforest.
Environmental Science student Lola Jackson (21) and artist Iona Marsden Sweeney (22) have walked into the ancient remote rainforests and are preventing the drilling for a new tin and tungsten mine.
Also this morning, Midnight Oil has released their new song and video, Tarkine, from their forthcoming album Resist.
“The wild, ancient and threatened takayna/Tarkine has just been immortalised by one of Australia’s greatest bands. From our Tarkine in Motion environmental arts project, Launceston artist Darryl Rogers partnered with Jim Moginie from Midnight Oil in a Mona Foma installation. It was from this collaboration that Jim Moginie was inspired to write a dedication to Tasmania’s Tarkine. Midnight Oil has captured the urgency the Tarkine faces from logging and mining.
We will continue to resist the destruction of one of the last wild places on Earth, knowing that Midnight Oil has just given that place, its ancient rainforests and all the wildlife, a new international platform,” Jenny Weber, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager said.
“I am here to help protect the invaluable and magnificent takayna/Tarkine from unnecessary, irreversible and endlessly damaging mining activity”, said Lola Jackson.
“I am here to protect Earth’s wildness. The wild places of this magnificent Earth are shrinking and they must be left,” said Iona Marsden-Sweeny.
Venture Minerals is attempting to raise capital to progress their proposed mine at Mount Lindsay within National and World Heritage value rainforest in takayna/Tarkine.
“Investors should hear loud and clear that this project faces significant community opposition. Tasmanians will not accept the destruction of ancient, carbon rich rainforest in a climate and biodiversity crisis”, said Bob Brown Foundation takayna/Tarkine Campaigner Scott Jordan.
“Our Foundation will continue to stand up for the forests, the wildlife and planet Earth”.
Midnight Oil song
The Bob Brown Foundation says that Premier Peter Gutwein has come up with a plan for shooting feral deer in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area which is aimless and the worst of all worlds.
“Far from being a scientifically based cull, the Gutwein plan is to turn part of the World Heritage Area into a recreational shooting zone. Shooters will be chosen by lottery. This is a shocking outcome from years of genuine public input to the government and with all parties - environmentalists, shooters and farmers - agreed that the World Heritage Area should be rid of deer altogether through a properly designated program using professional culling,” Bob Brown said.
The Central Plateau component of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, including the Great Western Tiers and Tumbledown Creek area north and east of Lake Arthur, and the Mother Lords Plains and other areas adjacent the Great Lake, are being tuned into a permanent shooting gallery. The biggest concession to public safety for bushwalkers in the area is that shooters should wear hi-viz vests or hats. This plan could spread the destructive deer faster, rather than eliminate them from this fragile highland environment,” he said.
“This is government delinquency. The premier should outline how he sees his lottery for recreational shooters ridding the TWWHA of feral deer. He should also outline the public safety measures for other users of the high plateau and tiers when these lottery shooters move in. As feral deer have already reached across the western lakes of the plateau as far as the Walls of Jerusalem, one of Tasmania’s world-renowned beauty spots, Premier Gutwein should explain what, if anything, his plan will do to solve a problem which is rapidly worsening on his watch.”