Cassy O’Connor
IT NEEDS all Tasmanians who love their unspoiled bays, beaches and estuaries to act.
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David Jamrozik

Sydney-based Walker Corporation plans to build Tasmania’s first canal housing estate inside the footprint of the Ralphs Bay Conservation Area, an internationally significant bird and marine habitat that belongs as much to the quirky Pied Oystercatcher as it does to the people of Tasmania. It belongs to our children and grandchildren, to Tasmanians not yet born who we have a responsibility to put before short-term politics and hungry developers.

We have until 4.30 p.m. on April 6th to send a message to the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) to protect the Ralphs Bay tidal flats. Your voice IS important. It will carry weight in the assessment process, adding to the critical mass of support needed to persuade the Commission to reject the Walker Corporation Project of State Significance (PoSS).

Only a small effort is required to make a representation to the RPDC. A short, pithy letter – no longer than a few heartfelt lines – is 100% better than no letter….

Just say how you feel, as a Tasmanian, about places like Ralphs Bay, Bruny Island, Seven Mile Beach, Crescent Bay, the Bay of Fires, Bridport and Marrawah … all those places we value beyond measure as parts of the glorious whole that is ours to share and enjoy.

Here are some key points you may wish to include in your own words:

The Walker Corporation proposal is un-Tasmanian. It represents an unacceptable threat to our wild coastline, and to our economically vital clean, natural brand.

The proposal is unnecessary; there is no shortage of land available to suit current market needs. And, there are more than enough other tacky coastal strips interstate to satisfy real estate buyers looking for an artificial waterfront lifestyle.

Ralphs Bay at Lauderdale is a Conservation Area which – according to the Commonwealth and State funded Derwent Estuary Program – is critical to the health of the slowly recovering River Derwent.

Resident and migratory shorebirds that feed, rest and breed at Ralphs Bay are protected under State and Commonwealth law, as well as international agreements with Japan, China and the Republic of South Korea.

The critically endangered Spotted Handfish is resident inside Ralphs Bay, inhabiting the sandy bottom in deeper waters. According to the State and Commonwealth Spotted Handfish Recovery Plan, disturbance of sediments is a key threat to its survival as a species. A projected 7-10 year construction period digging out 150 hectares of tidal flat in the near vicinity represents an unacceptable risk to the Spotted Handfish.

The proposal to privatise and destroy the Ralphs Bay Conservation Area has no ‘social license’ ie. it does not have the support of a significant percentage of the South Arm peninsula community or the wider population, as demonstrated in three credible community surveys and continued bad press for the proponent.

The Bartlett Government’s very recent decision to change the State Coastal Policy 1996 to allow development on mobile coastal landforms, along with a proposed major shakeup of the planning system, can only be regarded as interference in the RPDC assessment, compromising its independence and integrity, putting the community and environment at a distinct disadvantage in the planning process; a repeat of the Lennon Government’s form on Gunns’ pulp mill.

The Commission must be left to undertake its task independent of such interference, and adhere to the core Precautionary Principle of the State Coastal Policy to reject the Walker Corporation proposal.

Here is the link to the Walker Corporation Draft Integrated Impact Statement and information on the assessment process:

http://www.ralphsbay.net.au/DIIS.asp
http://www.rpdc.tas.gov.au/poss/lauderdale_quay/assessment_-_approvals_process
Here are the contact details for the RPDC:

Executive Commissioner
Resource Planning and Development Commission
3rd floor, 144 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: (03) 6233 2795
Fax: (03) 6233 5400
Email: enquiry.rpdc@justice.tas.gov.au
Please take action by April 6th, for Ralphs Bay, for Tasmania ….
And feel very free to pass this message on.

Warm regards,

Cassy.

Cassy O’Connor MP

Member for Denison

Tasmanian Greens’ Environment and Coastal Policy Spokesperson

Level 1/162 Macquarie Street

Hobart TAS 7000

www.tas.greens.org.au

HANDS OFF THE RPDC DURING RALPHS BAY ASSESSMENT
Cassy O’Connor MP
Greens Coastal Policy Spokesperson
Wednesday, 25 February 2009

www.tas.greens.org.au
The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Premier to reassure Tasmanians concerned with coastal protection that the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) will be left free to rigorously and independently assess Walker Corporation’s proposal to destroy the Ralphs Bay Conservation Area and construct a 500-block canal housing estate.

Greens Coastal Policy spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said the RPDC is currently at a critical point in its assessment of Walker Corporation’s proposal as a Project of State Significance (PoSS), and it must be left to do its work without interference or threats from the Bartlett Labor Government.

“Threatening the future of the RPDC at the very time that it is assessing the controversial Ralphs Bay proposal stinks of intimidation,” said Ms O’Connor.

“The community fighting to save Ralphs Bay has invested a huge amount of energy and scarce resources into the RPDC process, in good faith. It is divisive and hypocritical for the Premier to threaten to shift the goalposts and create great uncertainty right in the middle of the process.”

“Good planning is about unifying the community behind shared visions for the future, but the major shake-up announced by the Premier has enormous potential to disempower the community and sow more seeds of division.”

“David Bartlett has already publicly spruiked the supposed benefits of the Ralphs Bay proposal, and he has altered Tasmania’s Coastal Policy to allow for development on actively mobile landforms – it is time for the Premier to take a step back and let the RPDC assessment run its course.”

“Good outcomes do not flow from threats made against the umpire.”

“The Labor Government have form when it comes to sidelining the planning system to suit a political purpose – they ignored the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal (RMPAT) over the Meander Dam, they allowed Gunns to sideline the RPDC over the Pulp Mill, and they now appear to be preparing the ground to once again sideline the RPDC over the Ralphs Bay proposal.”

“The Premier should pull his head in and give the RPDC, the community, and Ralphs Bay a fair go,” Ms O’Connor said.