Le­gal call to jus­tify fish farm ap­proval

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - JES­SICA HOWARD

THE Bob Brown Foun­da­tion and two East Coast tourism com­pa­nies are de­mand­ing an­swers from the Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter over the ap­proval of Tas­sal’s Oke­hamp­ton Bay sal­mon farm.

Tas­sal last month re­ceived the fi­nal ap­proval it needed to start putting fish in the water for its Oke­hamp­ton project.

Fed­eral Court ac­tion has now been launched by the Bob Brown Foun­da­tion, joined by Spring Bay Mill Pty Ltd and Tri­abunna In­vest­ment Pty Ltd, against En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg.

The two tourism com­pa­nies, owned by Wo­tif.com founder Graeme Wood, are de­vel­op­ing the for­mer Tri­abunna wood­chip mill site, ad­ja­cent to Tas­sal’s pro­posed shore base.

Dr Brown said the foun­da­tion had taken the le­gal ac­tion to seek an or­der for the min­is­ter to pro­vide rea­sons for his ap­proval and for the de­ci­sion to be set aside.

He said the foun­da­tion had asked the court to hear the mat­ter ur­gently be­cause work on the farm had started.

“This is just the lat­est ex­am­ple of the se­crecy and in­dif­fer­ence to com­mu­nity con­cern from both Tas­sal and the min­is­ter — is it any won­der this project never se­cured a so­cial li­cence,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Fry­den­berg said the de­ci­sion to ap­prove Tas­sal’s pro­posal “is sup­ported by in­de­pen­dent en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vice and fol­lows a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod”.

“Tas­sal, how­ever, will be sub­ject to strict en­vi­ron­men­tal re­quire­ments in­clud­ing avoid­ing sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts on na­tion­ally listed threat­ened and mi­gra­tory species, such as the south­ern right whale,” he said.

The case has been listed for a hear­ing in the Fed­eral Court in Ho­bart on Wed­nes­day.

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