DANIELLE McKAY | May 20, 2011 12.01am
LEGISLATION to better protect Tasmania’s coastline has been rejected for being vague, ignoring climate change and failing to define a coastal area.
The failed draft State Coastal Policy, that was seven years in the making, was rejected by the Tasmanian Planning Commission yesterday.
Liberal planning spokeswoman Elise Archer has labelled the policy a farce.
Ms Archer said the state would suffer while the process to replace the original 1996 legislation started over again.
Local governments and environment bodies have expressed continued concern for the state’s coastline, while calling for a more professional and timely response in developing a new policy.
Premier Lara Giddings said it was regrettable the process was “going back to square one” but said the state’s coastline remained protected while the Government devised a more robust policy.
Ms Giddings said she had asked Planning Minister Bryan Green to present the framework from the commission’s 11 recommendations to Cabinet.
“I am taking this issue extremely seriously and, as I said, have determined that it is much better that we see this process come to an end and the new process begin,” Ms Giddings said.
Greens MP Cassy O’Connor said Tasmania’s 4900km of coastline was threatened by sea level rises, inappropriate development, marine pollution and marine pests.
Ms O’Connor called on Ms Giddings to outline a clear policy.
“In Tasmania we are still operating under the State Coastal Policy 1996, which is widely regarded as ineffective,” Ms O’Connor said.
“As an island state, Tasmania’s coastline is of vital ecological, social and economic value [and] it should be protected.”
Ms Archer said the Government’s approach to the policy reform had hindered local governments and development throughout the state.
Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive officer Allan Garcia said the existing legislation was problematic, inconsistent and led to “patchwork decisions” across 29 councils.
Mr Garcia said the draft was not much better.
“The draft was a failure and there is relief it has been rejected,” he said.
“But that relief is coupled with concern that we’re now facing the whole process beginning from scratch again.”
Environment Tasmania spokesman Dr Thomas Moore said the defeat of the draft policy was a good result and he hoped the Government would use the opportunity to prioritise the issue.
The commission made 11 recommendations including the need for consideration of policies in other states and agreement on sea level rise limits.