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

Economy

‘Extraordinary and unprecedented …’ ET’s damning report …

First published February 15

Hansard here …

Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (21:22): Last week, Australia’s second largest salmon farming company, Huon Aquaculture, initiated legal proceedings against the Tasmanian government for failing to protect the environment in the World Heritage-listed area in Macquarie Harbour. These unprecedented legal actions were filed in the Federal Court and in Tasmania’s Supreme Court. Huon Aquaculture—and I will say it again: the second largest aquaculture company in this country that employs 600 Tasmanians—claims the industry regulator, the Environment Protection Authority and the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment—DPIPWE—have failed to manage and protect the environment in Macquarie Harbour, with the government allowing companies to intensively farm salmon in numbers far greater than the harbour can sustain.

This is extraordinary, and it is unprecedented—that a public company is actually launching legal action; for a government not doing its job; for a government not regulating the industry. How many companies go to the extent of asking for more regulation, let alone launching a legal proceedings against both the state and federal government for not doing their jobs? As I understand it, this is unprecedented; it has never happened in Tasmanian Supreme Court history before. So while that is novel, what is actually behind this, unfortunately, is a sad Tasmanian story. It is a story of history repeating itself—a story of cronyism and of governments getting too close to business and not doing their jobs of providing the checks and balances that are needed to protect the environment, communities and, ultimately, the future of workers and the reputation and brand of my state in Tasmania.

The forestry industry went down this road. My road to parliament was all about watching: a powerful CEO of a large corporation getting his way in Tasmania; the Tasmanian Premier and ministers being summoned at his beck and call; the government allowing a company to write its own legislation for a pulp mill. This has been very well documented. I recommend people read Professor Quentin Beresford’s book, The Rise and Fall of Gunns Ltd. And it is not just forestry; it is happened in other industries in the past—for example, around the power of hydro—and in mining in areas like the north-west of the Tarkine.

The question is: why? Why is the salmon industry, a successful industry in Tasmania that employs a lot of Tasmanians, now in open conflict and open warfare? The answer is simple: a government is not doing its job. The more important question is: why isn’t the government doing its job? And I will tell you what: I am frustrated and I am angry because, 18 months ago, I tabled some leaked documents at an adjournment speech in here and I stood up and said, ‘We need to have a Senate inquiry into this issue. The federal government needs to step in, the Senate needs to step in and sort this issue out for the sake of the industry, as well as the environment.’ We had a chance in the Senate to actually shine some light on what were emerging as serious problems based on the leaked information that was given to the Greens. But, unfortunately, history shows that a lot of that Senate inquiry was a whitewash. A lot of the evidence provided from a number of the expert witnesses turned out to be either ignorantly false or wilfully misleading and deceptive. And things have gotten worse. We had a chance to actually fix the situation, but, instead, what we got was a cover-up.

And what does the Tasmanian government do when they are in a situation when suddenly they are coming under attack—and, by the way, from not the Greens and the environment movement but within the industry itself? What do they do? They pass this off as competitive pressures. ‘These are competitive tensions between salmon companies.’ That is patently untrue. This is about special deals for special mates in Tasmania.

So I am going to name this up. This is about one CEO of Tassal, Mark Ryan, and his relationship with the Tasmanian government—his very close relationship with the Tasmanian government. These allegations are not just being made by me. Read the leaked documents that made their way to the media last week about accusations from other salmon companies that this industry has been regulated for Tassal—that this industry is being regulated for one company; that it is regulatory capture.

Why, for example, was Tassal given special stocking densities in Macquarie Harbour that other companies were not given? The letters exposed on Four Cornersquite showed that Tassal has been given the most favourable farming rates despite Tassal having the worst environment record in Macquarie Harbour. The letters exposed that Tassal was issued with 14 non-compliance notices in September 2016, up from three notices in May. The other companies had a couple of non-compliance notices over that period. And I keep in mind that Tassal’s lease is also located closest to the World Heritage Area. Why were they given stocking densities up to three times the other leases for the other companies in Macquarie Harbour? Why, when, finally, after 18 months of us talking about this issue to try to get some transparency from the government, were they given three months to de-stock their leases? Apparently, the EPA has came out and said, ‘It’s for commercial considerations. We let them de-stock that lease for three months for commercial considerations.’ Since when does an Environmental Protection Authority make their decisions based on commercial considerations?

I can understand the Hodgman government not caring about the environment and putting dollars before the environment. That make sense to me. But is the EPA in Tasmania ultimately independent? Is the EPA in Tasmania independent like it was supposed to be? This was a Greens recommendation—that the EPA be put in charge of regulating the Tasmanian salmon industry. That needs to be substantiated. Exactly what is independence, and how is this process working? I ask that because it is not working. We have an industry that is openly split. We have an industry participant who is suing both the state and federal governments for not doing their jobs. We have damage being done to the Tasmanian brand. We have workers’ jobs on the line here if we do not fix it.

The Tasmanian government needs to move beyond cronyism. It needs to move beyond giving big business whatever they want and to actually do its job. There are 600 workers working for Huon Aquaculture, a very important company that is making a stand because it actually wants its leases in Macquarie Harbour to be destocked to down below 10,000 tonnes. The government was previously running them at 21,000 tonnes. They are going to question a new consideration of 14,000 tonnes.

I raised this issue privately with Senator Ruston, who is in the chamber here—that this could have been avoided if the federal government had stepped in and actually tried to do its job under the EPBC Act and actually looked at the considerations around its responsibilities in Macquarie Harbour. The IMAS report, which has just been released in the last week, suggests that the science tells us that there are significant problems. I will be on the east coast of Tasmania next week and I will be meeting communities around Okehampton Bay where Tassal are planning to expand fish farms. Based on my experience as a Tasmanian senator trying to do my job—trying to get this situation sorted out—I will have to say to them: ‘I have no faith in the Tasmanian government to regulate this industry. I believe Tassal is too close to the Tasmanian government, and they you good reason to be concerned. You should be opposing the expansion of fish farms in Tasmania until we can actually get the Tasmanian government to do their job and properly regulate this industry.’ We need public confidence in this industry. This industry needs to have a future, and future sustainability. (Time expired)

*Peter Whish-Wilson is Senator for Tasmania and Greens’ spokesman for healthy oceans.

Peter McGlone: Are Tassal’s auditors avoiding their responsibilities over Macquarie Harbour fish farms?

Environment Tasmania, Misleading consumers: Tassal, ASC and WWF Today peak state environment group, Environment Tasmania, will release a damning report into the faulty auditing process which has allowed Australia’s largest salmon company to falsely market its salmon to consumers as ‘clean and green’. Tassal’s product has carried the Aquaculture Stewardship Council – or ASC – logo for its salmon from Macquarie Harbour, on Tasmania’s west coast, since 2014. Yet government data shows oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour plummeted to worrying levels in 2013 and the latest report by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies shows that all marine life is dead under Tassal’s largest lease in Macquarie Harbour. Tassal’s role in the crisis in Macquarie Harbour was the subject of a Four Corners investigation in October last year. Environment Tasmania has expanded its investigation into ASC processes and discovered even larger amounts of money changing hands between Tassal, WWF and the ASC, and false reporting within ASC audit reports …

Jeremy Rockliff: Independent Review green lights salmon farming in Okehampton Bay

Rosalie Woodruff: Okehampton Bay Decision It’s no surprise the Minister’s hand-picked panel have agreed with Minister Rockliff and recommended approving Tassal’s operations at Okehampton Bay. The same company responsible for creating dead zones in the West has been given the go-ahead to expand into Tasmania’s East Coast …

Environment Tasmania: Rubber stamp for Tassal’s east coast expansion as Macquarie Harbour suffocates On the day that ASC auditors and the Federal Government are reviewing dead zones in Macquarie harbour, the Hodgman Government’s rubber stamping, marine farm review panel has called Tasmania’s salmon regulations ‘world’s best-practice’ and approved Tassal’s expansion onto the east coast …

ABC: Tassal Okehampton Bay fish farm plan gets green light

Helen Polley: Campaign against the salmon industry is dangerous

Jeremy Rockliff: Sustainable Industry Growth Plan to guide salmonid industry

Environment Tasmania: Hand-picked review panel ignores best-practice science

Rebecca White: Libs light on for details, risking salmon’s future

Jeremy Rockliff: Greens’ hypocritical attacks on Panel

Guy Barnett: Unions at War on Fish Farms

Laura Kelly, Environment Tasmania: Minister announces ‘sustainable oceanic plan’ while green lighting inshore developments …

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Claire Gilmour

    February 21, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Fair dinkum when was the last time you (Jeremy Rockliff) scuba dived on the east coast of Tassie with dolphins in a kelp forest?

    For me it was 30 years ago .. and thank goodness – what an absolutely amazing experience … 60ft plus kelp forests we could swing on, then be part of a pod of 100’s of dolphins flying through and around you …

    It’s a one in a million type of experiences …

    Now you can’t do it anymore!!!
    Why is that? …
    Think about it! …
    What you selling the state out for?

    Some cattle style fish pens one can look at from the beach? Perhaps the government can charge people to shoot the seals who come in? Or charge people for swimming and being attacked by the sharks who are also attracted!?

    Tasmanian Government and politicians give new meaning to being at the bottom of the world …!

    Or perhaps that should say … the bottom of the food chain!?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-21/tasmanian-kelp-forests-dying-as-water-warms-dive-operator-says/8289300?WT.ac=statenews_tas

  2. Peter

    February 20, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials.

    It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.

    Crony capitalism arises when business cronyism and related self-serving behavior by businesses or businesspeople spills over into politics and government, or when self-serving friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts public-serving economic and political ideals.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crony_capitalism

  3. mike seabrook

    February 20, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    # 24
    would not know where to start

    alison alexanders book
    corruption and skullduggery in tassie from 1804

    nothing changes except the british taxpayer copped the bill in the times this book refers to.

    now the mainland taxpayer has to pay as tassie is effectively broke and under official administration.

    serves em right when they crippled the tassie economy by halting construction of the gordon-below-franklin hydro scheme and stifled tassie with laws, rules, regulations and red and green tape etc. particularly over bass strait

    and the rba sets interest rates with sydney house prices in mind.

  4. duncan mills

    February 19, 2017 at 12:07 am

    What a lovely little case study of the systemic corruption of Tasmanian institutions this might be .

    Such enquiries however are too rare, and Tasmania is denied the.opportunity to learn from its mistakes. It appears too many parliamentarians and senior public servants and their cliques are implicated in these grubby messes for that to happen.

    If we are too have government of integrity we need an ICAC with full powers to investigate complaints of administrative weakness of character such this and report to parliament.

    Without effective open critical examination of fiascos like the aquaculture overstocking and mislocation, or forestry bankruptcy there can be no institutional improvement and no learning for Tasmanians at large.

    Brand Tasmania, as is the state parliament, is fast becoming a hollow joke thst shames us all.

    It is in the interests of all Tasmanians to protect the integrity of all Tasmanian institutions, public and private. Trustworthiness is vital to the wellbeing of all.

  5. mike seabrook

    February 18, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    should tasmanians worry / tassie taxpayers panic
    wot says the politician appointed auditor general?

    sat mercury feb 18, pg 34

    unfunded super liabilities as at 30 june 2016 ? at $10.495 bn

    and increased by $1.690 bn in the past 12 months

    this is an increase of $140 million every month by my calculator

    surely these numbers are not right.

    the pollies do not seem to be pannicking

    and these other expenses seem relatively minor

    $50 mn hunt for reynard the tassie fox,
    $150 mn to relocate the macquarie point sewerage works
    will it be $100 mn for the myer hole and fixing the hobart rivulet.
    and of course the cost of all those diesel electricity generators when the dodgy , limited life bass strait cable went down – unknown reasons they say

    things looking up as moving out of 10 murray st before it is knocked down and moving into new salamanca place offices and luxury fit out being paid for – probably good value at $1 million per month.

    will know that things are bad when

    the construction of the gordon-below-franklin hydro scheme is recommenced.

  6. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    February 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Is the time ‘ripe’ for a few buckets of rotten fish to be dumped onto the floor of one of the state parliamentary chambers … accompanied by slogans such as, ‘Something’s fishy in the state of Tassy, or, ‘Off like a bucket of Tassie salmon’?

  7. mike seabrook

    February 18, 2017 at 1:58 am

    # 8

    a great marketing idea for tassall – even the seals are not partial to petuna salmon

  8. Greg James

    February 18, 2017 at 1:27 am

    I agree with Birdz #12 ‘follow the money’. It is obviously involved and corruption may have occurred. It’s more likely the bureaucrats, but time will tell.
    Thank you Peter W-W.

  9. mark

    February 17, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Anyone note that Mark Ryan admitted culpability in Macquarie Harbour

    “We’re not proud of where Macquarie Harbour is as an industry and you know we’ll own the part that we’ve played in that,” Mr Ryan said.

    He also confirmed the environmental damage in Macquarie Harbour had reached the World Heritage Area.

    “There is some of it in the World Heritage Area, by us destocking that will recharge,” he said.

    Tassal then rang up the ABC to retract that!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-17/tassal-welcomes-approval-of-okehampton-bay-salmon-farm/8281462

    Meanwhile, I’m not sure there are two brain cells left to rub together at The Advocate. This was in their editorial this morning.

    “Tassal has been going through the process this week of keeping their accreditation as a top quality producer. Meetings at Strahan and in Hobart showed that there is obvious concern within the community about how they conduct their business.

    People in Strahan had concerns which were flagged at the meeting, and perhaps this signals that they aren’t getting the message out about the company’s care for the environment that they work in.”

    Yep, it’s not an environment problem, it’s a PR problem!

  10. Claire Gilmour

    February 17, 2017 at 2:37 am

    No Whishy, you say government isn’t doing their job … ? the answer is … politicians aren’t doing their job properly for the benefit of the citizens! You included.

    Like so much corporate citizen welfare it’s about political parties following their corporate and multi-national mates …

    Tasmania is being used and abused for corporations who don’t give a flying fuck about the welfare of its citizens and workers.

    Whilst I can agree with some of what Whishy says … What Whish-Wilson and Beresfords book and most of the upper echelon corporate Greens mostly ignored was the PLANTATIONS growth, especially e.nitens in Tasmania and how it does and continues to affect so many.

    NO-ONE has written and published that history yet!

    Like so much corporate citizen welfare it’s about political parties following their corporate and multi-national mates …

    Whare is the community based incentive? For real sharing …?

    Oh look …

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-17/tassal-welcomes-approval-of-okehampton-bay-salmon-farm/8281462

    A so called 30 jobs – Michael Kent from Glamorgan Spring council said and apparently ALL for unemployed people ! What a complete load of bullshit! Pull the other leg! Prove it! Fair dinkum if anyone believes that then they deserve what they get … nothing! Ta Ann and the Circular Head council said similar with Forestry … another bullshit story …

  11. Studler van Surck

    February 16, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    And further to #8, Okehampton Bay is just a leisurely swim for all the seals at Ile des Phoques, the spectacular diving spot in the Schouten group, absolutely bursting with seals. Will Tassal declare them all roques after they have relocated them 3 times and get permission to kill them all? Why not prevent the problem occurring in the first place and seek a permit to wipe them out in a pre-emptive strike? Tassal???

  12. Studler van Surck

    February 16, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    The Marine Farming Planning Review Panel report has “debunked” the notion that Okehampton Bay cannot sustainably support Tassal’s massive fishfarm according to the Minister. Well, Macqarie Harbour could “sustainably” grow 21000 tonnes of Salmon until a few weeks ago. Now it can “sustainably” grow 14000 tonnes and the largest Tassal lease can grow none. Next year it will sustain far less. Sustainability is flexible in the extreme it seems.

  13. Geoffrey Swan

    February 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    ​​Report of ​​​th​e Mari​ne Farming Planning Review Panel into Salmon Farming Operations at Okehampton Bay…

    read it here http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/sea-fishing-aquaculture/marine-farming-aquaculture/okehampton-bay

    Everyone must read this report – to understand how narrow the terms of reference were, to understand how can a DPIPWE nominated panel be considered independent when the charter for DPIPWE is growth at whatever cost!!

    And to see how 5898 submissions were effectively taken off the table because they were “duplicated campaign submissions” and god forbid some were in “foreign languages”. How dare anyone outside of Tasmania have a voice about the destruction of our environment. And only 210 addressed the ToR.

    Concerns of visual and noise pollution, whale migration, climate change, impact on world heritage values, compromising nature tourism were all excluded as they were not included as part of the Terms of Reference.

    Shocking!!

    Did the “not independent” panel even consider for a moment that we have a 54% plus functional illiteracy issue in Tasmania and that submitting a “boilerplate” submission actually gives a voice to some people who are language challenged. And that attempting to follow the submission guidelines and ToR is akin to sitting a tertiary exam.

  14. Birdz

    February 16, 2017 at 11:29 am

    So, if Tassal are forced to reduced their Macquarie Harbour operations to “save the environment”, which company benefits?

    Just curious.

    Usually it’s all about the money. But I can be a bit cynical.

    It is still wonderful that the Tasmanian environmental regulators have been shown for what they are.

  15. Robin Charles Halton

    February 16, 2017 at 10:37 am

    It is highly probable that salmon farming is a less risker a venture for Tassal at Oakhampton Bay than the current concerns about over stocking within the enclosed waters of Macquarie Harbour.

    Fish could do better but the possibility of periods of increased water temperatures in the East Coast does increase risk to production!

    There is do doubt in my mind that fish cages when required WILL be easily towed into deeper water within the northern margins of Mercury Passage where it enters the Tasman Sea in order to maintain fish health.

    The main problem could be the Water supply from the Prosser River as its watershed could be unreliable during periods of extended drought.

    The long term solution for reliable water supply given the expansion of fish processing, tourism ventures,residential and farming in the Orford / Triabunna region could have been piped water originating from the Upper Derwent system.

    Being common in Tasmania as there is a lack of long term planning throughout the State, damming of the upper Prosser River for exclusive fish farm use may turn out not to be the best decision for the State Government to make a rather hurried entry into supporting the new salmon farming enterprise.

    There are a number of elements of production and financial risks associated with this new venture which Tassal has too wear but I think the State Government should have been more wary of investing taxpayer money in this instance.

  16. O'Brien

    February 16, 2017 at 2:53 am

    It seems odd that as far as the government & opposition are concerned Tasmania does not require a fully fledged commission for corruption. Most other Australian States have been lathered in rotten deals from bent cops up to the first in the land. Not Tassie, everything seems above board and beyond suspicion according to our elected representatives, police & integrity commission. How can that be?

  17. Pete Godfrey

    February 15, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    I worked out many years ago, that Tasmania is actually a satellite. We revolve around the Earth not far behind the Moon. The way we are fooled into thinking that we are actually part of the Earth itself is that mirrors are positioned in space so that we see ourselves parked just below Australia.
    It was shown on the secret map I found as “Lennon Land”.
    Finding this out helped me to understand how everything here is Worlds Best Practice.
    We practice fine, just when it comes to the main game we aren’t on the field.

  18. Studler van Surck

    February 15, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    The Australian today reported that Tassal over a period of 4 months has “relocated” some 684 fur seals, Huon only 25 and Petuna none. World’s best practice Tassal? Strange of course that the Mercury did not report this failure.

  19. MJF

    February 15, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    This would seem amazingly short sighted of Huon Aquaculture to initiate an action against the government while seemingly ignoring their operating conditions and getting away with blatant pollution at least at the Russell River site.

    They must be confident of announcing a sale of that hatchery as well.

    Obviously any EPN issued to Huon Aquaculture for the Little Denison River site is now voided if under different ownership.

    Lodgement of an appeal with the RMPAT was clearly a stalling tactic to accommodate the change of ownership.

    Back to the drawing board Mr Swan I’m afraid to say, due to a technicality.

    The EPA wouldn’t be committed enough to the cause to outflank any ownership change by wording the notice accordingly on substandard hatchery practices and regardless of ownership.

    Probably couldn’t legally anyway. There would have to be a respondent nominated in an EPN.

  20. Richard Dax

    February 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Well said both Peters. The Government in its quest for jobs ignores the environment and not merely in Macquarie Harbour.
    Our free flowing rivers never seem to get a mention and yet this is where the whole process begins.
    Whilst there are a number of modern recirculating systems producers continue to use open air flow through ponds diverting clean water from rivers into the ponds and then re releasing it back into the river downstream complete with the impurities of faeces and left over fish food.
    We shouldn’t lionise the second biggest producer for taking the Government to task as they stand condemned for their treatment of the Southern Russell River and far from blameless.
    Through experience I have no doubt that their actions are not altruistic and that a hidden agenda exists.
    Despite admitting environmental the environmental damage it should be noted that Huon Aquaculture’s treatment of the Russell is allowed by the Minister and the EPA on the basis that they believe that despoiling of the riveris “reversible” in the future.
    The Government and its various agencies are clearly complicit with industry placing commercial gain before the environment.
    Salmon farmers will come and go but the environment is finite and requires an completely independent assessor not paid for by the salmon producers.

  21. Geoffrey Swan

    February 15, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    #3 Even more inaction by the our regulators…

    In December 2014 the EPA and IFS were advised of the downstream eutrophication of the Little Denison River in Lonnavale due to the sewerage outfall from the Snowy Range Hatchery (flow through pond system) then owned by Mr Bob Cleary.

    (And later to be on the market, June 2015 for offers over $3m. Latest news is it has been sold to Tassal and Mr Cleary is now working at the Huon Aquaculture Hatchery on the nearby Russell River)

    Just prior to Christmas the Director Inland Fisheries John Diggle and Senior Environmental Officer Dr Sarah Richards inspected the river and confirmed there are downstream environmental issues.

    Manager Environmental Operations, Darryl Cook wrote to me 9th January 2015.

    “The EPA has certainly become aware of the situation with the Little Denison River.

    Please understand that, as things currently stand, Huon Valley Council, Inland Fisheries Service and/or Water Management Branch of DPIPWE are considered to have regulatory responsibility for one or more aspects of the fish farm activity on the Little Denison.

    EPA is looking carefully at whether to take responsibility for the environmental aspects of discharges from the fish farm, but needs to build the case for this in consultation with the other relevant authorities.

    I’m hoping that this will play out relatively quickly, but please allow some time for us to work through the process.”

    After follow up the Director EPA Wes Ford wrote to me July 2, 2015:

    “A draft EPN has been prepared and is being discussed with the company.”

    And again October 27, 2015:

    “The draft EPN has not been finalised and hence not served at this stage. I will provide it to you once it has been served.”

    And March 17, 2016:

    “I can advise you that Mr Cleary has lodged an appeal with the Resource Management Planning Appeal Tribunal against the conditions of the EPN, hence until that matter is resolved I will not be providing you with a copy of the EPN.”

    And April 27th 2016 the matter was raised as an urgent matter at the ordinary Huon Valley Council meeting that the Snowy Range may have to close down, and this would mean jobs and an economic impact to the community.

    A decision was taken that the Huon Valley Council writes to the Snowy Range Trout Farm stating that the Huon Valley Council supports businesses and the economic benefits that they contribute to the area and that Council recognises the contribution that the Snowy Range Trout Farm brings to the Huon Valley.

    And again from Director Wes Ford, EPA September 14, 2016:

    “The EPN for the Snowy Range Hatchery remains in the appeal tribunal process and therefore it is not appropriate that I pre empt (sic) the outcome of that process.”

    And the last word to date, (but I wrote to Director Ford February 2, 2017 and I am still awaiting a response.)

    “In relation to the EPN issued to Snowy Range Aquaculture, as previously advised I will provide you with a copy of the EPN once the matter before the Resources Management Planning Appeal Tribunal has been concluded. That may be some weeks away depending on the outcome of the legal process currently underway.”

    So here we have it… some 26 months later… EPA confirmed there is an environmental issue, confirms an Environmental Protection Notice will be served. However it took 12+ months before it was finally served and still there is no outcome.

    And if Tassal now have ownership – what will happen to the EPN and what will happen to the Little Denison River in Lonnavale.

  22. Geoffrey Swan

    February 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you Peter – finally the facts – please submit this also to the Mercury for publication… if you are lucky!!

    As you are personally aware I provided a written submission to the Fin Fish Senate inquiry, and was afforded a mere 3 minutes to speak at the public hearing, to highlight the destruction of the Russell River by the sewerage* outfall from the Huon Aquaculture Company Hatchery in the past 10+ years.

    However my written submission was not published on the Senate website until after the public meetings and until after the media had had their day.

    Unbeknown to me until it was published, Huon Aquaculture were given a right to respond to my submission and this was uploaded to the website alongside my submission.

    The “counter submission” in my view contained considerable errors of fact, slandered my integrity, and as an under oath submission intentionally or otherwise the Huon Aquaculture Company published an altered paragraph taken from their Environmental Protection Notice 7667/2 and in so doing removed the words “environmental nuisance”.

    This in effect downplayed their ongoing impact on our river and I wrote back to the Senate to inform them this was in contempt of the Senate, but this went nowhere.

    In 2014 a Senior Officer with the EPA told me on two separate occasions – “since Roman days mankind has been using rivers to discharge their waste…”

    Director EPA, Wes Ford, wrote to me in October 2015

    “My objective is to seek minimise (sic) the impact on the river and have Huon operating within an acceptable level of impact. However, this does not include managing for zero impact.”

    And in October 2016

    “A requirement to reduce input loads further will effectively require the company to close the flow through facility for its brood stock and replace it with a full recirculation system.”

    *Huon Aquaculture have been discharging to this day 26 million litres of raw fish farm effluent* (sewerage* Macquarie dictionary) into the Russell River in Lonnavale, every day of the year for the past 10+ years.

  23. john hayward

    February 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

    There’s nothing “extraordinary and unprecedented” about Tas regulators declining to observe the law. It’s all but standard in my experience.

    What is unusual is to see a large listed company on the outside of the Tas Inc tent. Encouraging to see there’s an action in the Federal Ct.

    John Hayward

  24. mike seabrook

    February 15, 2017 at 3:13 am

    and the auditor – brilliant – closes eyes to the obvious – is this also how the tassie auditor general appointed and paid by the tassie pollies also operates these days . guess did not see the $50 million fox as well and says nothing, and then the forestry debacles.

    i thought that auditors are trained to assess risks and look there first, and then shoot the wounded.

  25. John Biggs

    February 14, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Very well said indeed. Thanks so much Peter for your speech and publicising it here. This is so clearly a replay of the pulp mill, which as Quentin Beresford has made absolutely in The Rise and Fall of Gunns Ltd is about crony capitalism: a greedy CEO calling out favours from an old mate or mates in Government and to hell with fair play, environmental protection, and the reputation not only of this industry but Tasmania’s reputation as providing clean,green products.

    Honest Tasmanians can only despair that we see this kind of corruption time and time again. Small state, connections everywhere from school days onwards, contempt for checks and balances and sometimes even the law itself infecting the power structures such as apparently the EPA in this instance. This is third world stuff, and here as in the forestry pulp mill issue both parties Labor and Liberal are deeply involved.

    Peter’s article should be widely circulated. But we’ll get the usual here “go the Greens anti-everything mantra again.” I wish the right (and that includes many in the Labor Party) would stop this stupid name calling whenever an environmental issue is raised and attend to the facts, the science and the evidence.

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