Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Tasmania’s beautiful coastline needs your help

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

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 O’Connor MP

Member for Denison

Tasmanian Greens’ Environment and Coastal Policy Spokesperson

Level 1/162 Macquarie Street

Hobart TAS 7000


Cassy O’Connor MP
Greens Coastal Policy Spokesperson
Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. whishy

    February 26, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Bill (post 11),
    If you get a chance, look into a company called “Anthology”, who own and operate Bay of Fires and Cradle Huts walks, and other assets such as Quamby Bluff. They specialise in Eco sensitive developments/experiences and at a recent eco-tourism expo on the mainland announced they may have an extra $200mill to spend in Tassie for the right opportunities. They employ up to 70 staff at various times of the year, and they are profitable and run by an investment syndicate….many of their investors are Macquarie St Bankers from Sydney (but I wouldnt dare call them greedy money makers !!). Get in touch with me if you want more information/contacts for the company, there are other good examples of other company’s in this space also. cheers whishy

  2. don davey

    February 26, 2009 at 1:31 am

    (10 @ 8)
    Tell me guy’s , is it that this development is so terrible ! or is it really what you refer to “Steve” , in that it will make the developers rich ! so what ! if someone make’s a buck whilst building something worthwhile good on them , we had exactly the same “bullshit” with Dick Smiths development.

    As long as we shoot down any and every development that tries to get off the ground ,we make it easier for our critics to say “Bloody Greenies ! against anything ! @ everything ! put forward by big business “, thereby getting the rank and file on side thinking that we are “spoilers” for the sake of it ! and making it easier for the proponents of the pulp mill to say so.
    for christ sake wake up !


  3. Bill

    February 25, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Steve (10)Its fairly obvious that someone is building the canal system to make themselves rich.I am not sure I know of anyone or any business that does things purely from a selfless motive.(volunteer organisations excluded)ie Just for the good of the Tasmanian citizens.
    I have a question.People state that we should look at being smart and use our states natural beauty with eco friendly, tourism focussed, job creating businesses. (quote from mandy 8).This is a common catch cry but no-one seems to know what these businesses would be or whether would they help us here in Tas anyway.Does any one have any ideas about what all these mythical businesses are and if they are so good ,why aren’t the greedy money makers actually promoting them or building them.I am sure they are not adverse to making money in any way,shape or form. PS The builders of the canal system will only make money if there are a lot of people who want the houses so there must be some interest

  4. Steve

    February 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Well put Mandy (8). Why on earth bring that style of development here. It’s patently obvious that it’s sole purpose is to make the developers rich, yet people still quibble back and forth.

  5. don davey

    February 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    As i’ve said before , in my opinion the development is an excellent one (From all that i have seen) for an area that sadly needs upgrading and will be a boon to tourism and upmarket housing, those that oppose it will be be most likely the usual crowd that can’t stand to see new development of any kind , just because they can .

    I dare say ,someone will soon discover a nest for the “LITTLE KNOWN TASMANIAN ORANGE CRESTED TROTTING DUCK” in the very near, ‘
    heh,heh !

    They should embrace such development’s and thank their lucky stars that its not a BLOODY pulp mill.
    sigh !


  6. Mandy Helen

    February 25, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    My concern is more that Michael Figgs outburst only has one goal and thats to hijack the real issue. I think we have to agree it smells like Labor spin…So instead of caring about Michaels opinions, we should get back to the real issue – for me thats “why any Tasmanian would possibly want a canal development anywhere in our State.” Sure Lauderdale could use some development but why can’t our politicians start being smart and use our states natural beauty with eco friendly, tourism focussed, job creating businesses.

  7. francis

    February 25, 2009 at 11:49 am

    The responses to your post Michael are typical. Not one has refuted any of the environmental statements you have made, although apparently that is the MAIN concern. Perhaps your post could have been worded better, but the information you have posted is important to get out into the public domain.

  8. Abe

    February 24, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    So Michael, here we go again:

    1) Are you a member of the Clarence Plains branch of the ALP, the one that sent out that letter encouraging members to post comments onto news-based websites, including TasmanianTimes and The Mercury. From memory, the letter said something like this: “when making comments you do not have to use your real names or where you are from”.[ http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/off-the-back-of-a-truck/ ]

    2) Shortly after being elected to head a large group who attended a packed hall meeting in 2004 because they were all utterly opposed to the Ralphs Bay marina proposal, did you express doubts privately over being seen as “anti-development” if you were involved in opposing the marina?

    3) At about the same time, did you also express an interest in using your role as head of the SRB group to base your own run for a seat on the local Clarence Council?

    4) Do you understand why the SRB people removed you shortly afterwards?

    5) In light of those last two questions, can you see a certain irony in your repeated public assertions that Cassy O’Connor cynically used her role at SRB to get elected?

    6) You recently told various media outlets that you were an opponent of the Ralphs Bay marina estate, but that now you’re a supporter. Exactly when did you change your mind?

    7,8) Did you declare your ALP membership or mention your historical issues and apparent bitterness towards Cassy O’Connor and the SRB group before, or after, any of your recent interviews with these media outlets? If not, why not?

    9) During your interviews, you asserted that 60 percent of local people now support the proposed marina estate. Where does this figure come from, and did you make this clear during your recent interviews?

    10) The writing from “Jack Smith” and yourself seems awfully consistent and similar. Are you posting onto the Mercury website as “Jack Smith”?

  9. Abe

    February 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Michael, I am very chuffed to see your “new” writing style. Imitation is indeed flattering :)!

    Unfortunately, you still appear unable to realise that YOU are the one who is making repeated personal attacks on other people. Which makes your claim to be ‘sick of personal attacks’ more than a bit weird (unless you were gazing lovingly into the mirror when you wrote that line?)

    I suspect that what you are actually saying, is that you’re sick of other people defending themselves from your personal attacks. Because by Christ that’s the way it looks from over here.

    Now if you could just answer the questions I asked you weeks ago, after you came out publicly and made a number of claims that I don’t believe and that you have so far refused to back up with any evidence whatsoever …

  10. pilko

    February 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    The feedback is 60% for the development?
    The feedback?
    From whom to whom? Are we taking about hard statistical evidence here or just a vague feeling Michael?
    If you dont have any hard stats to back up your 60% then who are you to criticise a survey that did provide statistical evidence?
    Speaking of feedback, I have not men one single person who is for this tacky stupid canal project.
    Where are they Michael? You never see them or here them. Where’s the enthusiasm? Or I suppose you are going to tell us that all these local canal estate enthusiasts are a “quiet majority”. Now where have I heard that one before?
    Michael, you sound like you are pretty sold on this Walker corp mob. I reckon though that the majority of folks will take Cassy’s word over those “professional” down at Walker corp. and politicians and government departments that you seem to have so much faith in. I also think that unlike yourself most people with an interest in this issue believe in climate change.
    It hasnt occured to you Michael that Walker might have a vested interest here cobber?.

  11. Wes Young

    February 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    You make some interesting points regarding the construction and operation of this proposed development.

    However your arguments are undermined when firstly you claim that facts are being distorted, then follow up with with the old unsubstantuiated “more and more people” chestnut in point four.

    Furthermore, it’s hard to escape the beautiful irony of your post, especially the last two points.

    “I for one am sick of personal attacks,” followed up with a personal attack of your own on Ms O’Connor.

    Then, “ask the politicians,” last time I checked Ms O’Connor WAS a politician. I’ll even concede she was elected on a countback but the fact remains the party she represents has concerns regarding the proposal, a stance taken prior to the 2004 state election with in excess of an electoral quota of voters in Denison supporting the Greens’ stance.

  12. joey

    February 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    where does the the feedback that “60% of the local community is for the development” come from? is it from a large sample survey or derived informally from a small meeting?

  13. Michael Figg

    February 24, 2009 at 11:06 am

    1. Can you please explain to me and the community why it has been accepted that “climate change sea level rise will flood and destroy the habitat” but you fail to mention this?
    2. As you are aware the spotted hand fish habitat is approx. 2km away from the proposed development, and yes it is in deep water not on the mud flats.
    In fact I would suggest that the marina might well give the fish a larger area to swim and live?
    3. You imply that the sediment will be disturbed by the excavation by Walker Corp. but you continue to twist the truth.
    Walker have stated many times that the excavation will be in a dry bund area and thus NO Silt will be exposed to the environment.

    You have stated that the bay will be dammed closing the canal and other areas from water flow, this is also not true, if you had looked at the plans you would see that only the construction site was to be dammed leaving the canal and other areas free.

    The construction period of 7 to 10 years is NOT the excavation period as you imply it is the total period including the construction of the houses on the land mass.
    4. Your surveys including the original survey done by me did give a 70% feedback of a NO vote for the development but they were done over 4 years ago! The mood has changed and now the community is finding out the facts and they tell another story. The feedback presently is that 60% of the local community is for the development.
    More people, as you have noticed on this site and others have stated they want the development to go ahead.

    5. You state that these developments have been banned interstate if that is so can you explain why the local council has approved a 444 lot marina in arno bay on the eyer peninsula? The Mayor also states that” he was looking forward to seeing the development progress. It would certainly be a positive boost for the region,” he said. (Adelaide advertiser 17/2/09)

    6. I for one am sick of the personal attacks, the propaganda, the twisting of the truth and the orchestrated approach you have taken.

    You treat us as if we were mindless sheep baying to your every command.
    If the community want the truth go and seek it; ask the local council, ask the government departments, ask the politicians, ask the professionals, ask walker corp, ask the community, read the press, ask interstate governments, ask people that live in other marinas, and then make your own mind up.

    Michael Figg

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