Mercury Article “Report 10 Years Late”

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Mercury Article: “Report 10 Years Late” by Rob Inglis

More than 30 conservation groups have signed a joint statement imploring the Rockcliff government to urgently release the long-delayed State of the Environment report, without which they say the Liberals are making major policy decisions that aren’t informed by “the best available science”. 

Groups including the Environment Tasmania, the Wilderness Society, and the Australia Institute say that if the report is again delayed, it would show that the government would “rather make decisions blindly, with little regard for transparency or delivering the most considered outcome for Tasmania and the Tasmanian public”.

Intended to outline baseline environmental data, trends, and risks across the island, as well as help legislators deliver improved environmental outcomes for Tasmania, the State of the Environment report was last published in 2009, despite the government being required by law to release a new version of the report every five years. 

The Tasmanian Planning Commission was due to hand the new report to Planning Minister Felix Ellis by June 30 this but has since asked for an extension until August 30 in order to “undertake quality assurance processes to finalise the report”, Mr Ellis has said.

This has alarmed environmental groups, who fear the recommendations and actions contained in the report may not be funded in the 2024-25 state budget, which will be released just two weeks later on September 12.

It comes amid concern over a number of government proposals the group say would have an adverse impact on the environment, such as moves to allow more coastal development and log an additional 39,000ha of native forest.

Environment Tasmania executive officer James Overington said it was “deeply concerning” that an updated report had not been released for 15 years. “Without these reports, Tasmania’s precious environment is exposed to poorly informed decision-making. This needs to be address as soon as possible,” he said. 

Australia Institute Tasmania director Eloise Carr demanded the government commit to funding the new report’s recommended management actions in the upcoming budget. 

Mercury Opinion Piece: Report 10 Years Late

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