Those who pay for reser­va­tion go un­heard

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - Wayne John­ston

THE TFGA has re­cently been in dis­cus­sions with the Fed­eral Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and En­ergy about a pro­posal to list eu­ca­lyp­tus ovata and eu­ca­lyp­tus brook­e­ri­ana as a na­tion­ally threat­ened eco­log­i­cal com­mu­nity un­der the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act 1999.

We have been told by the depart­ment these species are threat­ened and there is a re­quire­ment to pro­tect them. We have also been ad­vised the dewear part­ment took ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion be­fore pro­ceed­ing with the pro­posal.

This con­sul­ta­tion ap­pears to have in­volved every­body ex­cept farm­ers. The irony in this is that it is farm­ers who will be ex­pected to main­tain these com­mu­ni­ties and ex­pected to the eco­nomic costs of do­ing so. Un­der cur­rent leg­is­la­tion in­dus­trial forestry on crown land will be ex­empt, so once again pri­vate landown­ers will carry the weight.

What is equally dis­turb­ing is that the three state min­is­ters in­volved in this area were not ad­vised of this pro­posal. It is dif­fi­cult for a state gov­ern­ment to have in­put into de­ci­sions if the rel­e­vant min­is­ters are un­aware of the pro­posed ac­tion.

From the TFGA’s point of view there is no crit­i­cism of the min­is­ters in ques­tion, but ques­tions around a process that can be per­mit­ted to pro­ceed while excluding the ma­jor play­ers.

Two key stake­hold­ers, the State Gov­ern­ment and farm­ers, were not con­sulted in any way about the pro­posal. Once again, we find a process that ap­pears less than trans­par­ent.

If en­gaged the both the state min­is­ters and the TFGA, rep­re­sent­ing farm­ers, would have been able to add sound coun­sel to the orig­i­nal as­sess­ment process. As it stands we have had an ad­mis­sion the process was flawed, that con­sul­ta­tion should have been wider, par­tic­u­larly with key stake­hold­ers, and an ac­knowl­edge­ment farm­ers will wear most of the cost of any list­ing.

The TFGA pol­icy is very clear on this. If the com­mu­nity has ex­pec­ta­tions, and we recog­nise they do in re­la­tion to bio­di­ver­sity on pri­vate land, then the com­mu­nity needs to pay for them. Cur­rently the com­mu­nity makes no eco­nomic com­mit­ment to the pri­vate landowner and as such places no eco­nomic value on the reser­va­tion. It is the landowner who in­curs the cost who places a greater value on the out­come.

The com­mu­nity needs to be pre­pared to place a dol­lar value on its ex­pec­ta­tions.

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