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


‘Freycinet chopper flights sign of things to come … with no consultation’

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Freycinet chopper flights a sign of things to come with no community consultation and urgent need for Federal assessment

The Freycinet Action Network and BirdLife Tasmania today condemned the helicopter joy flights over the Freycinet National Park that started operation in December 2017, with no community consultation, no environmental assessment and no DPIPWE oversight.

Activities that are likely to have a significant impact on nationally listed threatened species or significant wetlands such as the Ramsar-listed Moulting Lagoon must be referred to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for assessment.

The introduction of helicopters at Freycinet poses a new risk to threatened eagles and disturbs breeding and non-breeding waterbirds using the internationally-significant wetlands.

A compromise “Fly Neighbourly Advice” guidance document to manage flights near eagle nests is weak, and local reports suggest poor compliance by the pilots. Locals and visitors have no confidence that impacts on eagles are being dealt with. The flights are adversely affecting visitors’ amenity while in the National Park.

“This is a sign of things to come if the Liberals win government at tomorrow’s state election,” said Sophie Underwood, from the Freycinet Action Network. “Together, the new statewide planning scheme and the proposed major projects legislation reduces the community’s input into decisions that affect them or things they care about.”

“The fact that new helicopter joy flights slipped through the assessment cracks, with no consultation, no rights of appeal and little actual oversight is extremely disappointing and short-sighted.” Ms Underwood noted.

“The White-bellied Sea-eagle is listed as Threatened, and the Wedge-tailed Eagles is Endangered. Both species are known to be highly sensitive to helicopter operations.” Dr Eric Woehler, Convenor for Birdlife Tasmania said. “Both species are known to nest around Moulting Lagoon and on the Freycinet Peninsula. Clearly there is concern that the flights will impact on nesting eagles” Dr Woehler added.

Over 550 personal emails have been sent to Premier and Tourism Minister Will Hodgman calling for Freycinet Peninsula to be a heli-tourism free zone, since Freycinet Action Network launched its petition in late December 2017.

“It’s clear this operation could have significant impacts on Threatened species such as the White-bellied Sea-eagle and the Wedge-tailed Eagle, and therefore the Premier and the company must refer the matter to the Commonwealth Minister to ensure nationally significant species and internationally-significant wetlands are not at risk,” Ms Underwood and Dr Woehler jointly concluded.

Authorised by: Sophie Underwood, 130 Davey Street, Hobart.

Sophie Underwood: Local Government votes to review State Planning Provisions

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


  1. mike seabrook

    March 2, 2018 at 1:23 am

    #3 … Very quiet on the wind farm hazards which kill them ..

  2. MjF

    March 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    For once I agree with conservation concerns on this subject.

    Recently I developed an FPP for a pine coupe operation behind Wilmot. The coupe is serviced by a gravel council road. Beyond the coupe were two WTE nests with a nesting pair using one of the bests for the breeding period just completed (August – February). The coupe was just outside the recommmended 1 km line-of-sight exclusion zone from the nests, which meant travel restrictions were placed on crew vehicles and trucks by not traversing the public road beyond the coupe boundaries towards the nests’ area.

    This is designed to not cause any disturbance to nesting birds by unnecessary trafficking within the restriction zone.

    Problem was that restrictions could only apply to the operators in the coupe under that specific FPP. Every other farmer, tourist, landowner, neighbour and unrelated forestry worker is at liberty to travel this road beyond the coupe, past the nests and potentially disturb birds which my operation has been designed to avoid.

    Crazy situation, but certainly not new.

  3. john hayward

    March 1, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Sea eagles and such creatures of nature belong to no one, which is why the Liberals value them at zero.

    John Hayward

  4. Wining Pom

    March 1, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    We had a holiday in Kauai recently and really enjoyed it, but the constant noise of the helicopters did take a lot of the enjoyment away. It really was constant.

  5. Ted Mead

    March 1, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I agree with all of the above, and the notion that life for our Eagles will be under greater threat if the Libs are returned!

    However the protection of Eagles through the DPIWE’s Eagle Recovery Plan 2010, should in principle ensure the protection of these wonderful birds, though the plan needs to be updated ASAP.

    Essentially it’s Parks & Wildlife’s call, but we saw what happened at Crescent Bay when Dick Smith proposed to build a decadent lodge next to a Sea-Eagle’s nest.

    That lodge proposal clearly breached the department’s own management protocol, and the Director at the time Peter Mooney signed off on those eagles just to favour his helicopter buzzing mate. This was typical of what was happening under Peter Mooney’s directive management.

    Parks and Wildlife essentially were manipulated to make such a decision through big business influence. This is the state of play right throughout Tasmania now.

    When it comes to National Park and Tourism development – Money talks as always!

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