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Lake Pedder Committee of Inquiry - Final report on flooding, April 1974


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THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

1974—Parliamentary Paper No. 104

FINAL REPORT OF THE

LAKE REDDER COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY ON

THE FLOODING OF LAKE PEDDER

April 1974

Presented by Command 24 July 1974

Ordered to be printed 13 August 1974

THE GOVERNMENT PRINTER OF AUSTRALIA

CANBERRA 1975

Printed by Kerton Bros (S.A.) Pty Ltd. Edwardstown, S.A.

LAKE PEDDER COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY

The Secretary c/- Department of the Environment and Conservation P.O. Box 1937 .

Canberra City, A.C.T. 2601

26 April 1974

Dear Minister, On 23 February 1973 you appointed us to enquire into the circumstances surrounding the flooding of Lake Pedder in Tasmania and report upon its implications for the future planning of major development projects in Australia.

This assignment has not been without its difficulties. At an early stage the Government of Tasmania and the Hydro-Electric Commission declined to participate in our Enquiry. It soon became apparent to us that a case could be made for a deferment of the flooding of the lake, in order to permit a more detailed investigation

into alternatives which might allow it to be saved from inundation altogether. Accordingly we first directed our attention to the preparation of an Interim Report, in which this case was presented, which we transmitted to you in June 1973. Further investigation convinced us that whilst our detailed investigation into the

Lake Pedder affair itself had been handicapped by the unwillingness of the Tasmanian Government and the Hydro-Electric Commission to assist our enquiries, there was sufficient evidence to provide the basis for a detailed study of the implications of this affair for the planning of future development projects in

Australia. Accordingly we have devoted rather more time than was originally thought necessary to a consideration of these implications. We now have the honour to transmit our Final Report, which seeks primarily to make recommendations to you

concerning the future planning of major development projects and the future management of Australia’s natural resources.

Yours faithfully, J. R. Burton (Chairman)

Dr Moss Cass W. D. Williams

Minister for the Environment and Conservation E. St John

Parliament House C anberra D. Hill

C o m m it t e e M em bersh ip

P ro fessor John B urton D r W . D . W illiam s M r E. St John M r D . H ill

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CONTENTS

Page

SUMMARY........................................................................................................... viii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS............... xi

1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................. 1

2 THE COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY................................................................. 3

3 THE BACKGROUND TO THE LAKE PEDDER CONTROVERSY 6 3.1 The South-West....................................................................................... 6

3.2 Lake P e d d e r............................................................................................ 9

3.3 The Hydro-Electric Commission and the Middle Gordon Scheme. . . . 12 3.4 The Tasmanian Econom y...................................................................... 18

4 CHRONOLOGY OF THE LAKE PEDDER CONTROVERSY 21 4.1 , Early Days: 1835-1955............................................................................ 21

4.2 The Investigation Period: 1955-1967 .................................................... 21

4.3 The First Phase of the Controversy: 1967 .............................................. 24

4.4 The ‘Scientific’ Interlude: 1968-1970 .................................................... 27

4.5 The Second Phase of the Controversy: 1971-1973 ................................ 27

5 MAJOR COMPONENTS OF THE LAKE PEDDER CONTROVERSY 30 5.1 The Complex Nature of the Controversy................................................ 30

5.2 The Engineering Alternatives................................................................. 32

5.3 The Basis for Planning: Future Power Demands................................... 40

5.4 The Scientific Value of Lake Pedder....................................................... 47

5.5 Official Biological Investigations in the Lake Pedder A r e a ................. 54 5.6 The National Park Issue.......................................................................... 58

5.7 Aesthetic and Recreational Values of Lake Pedder and the South­ West ........................................................................................................ 66

6 THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS: The Committee's First Term o f Reference 74

6.1 Scope of Committee’s Analysis............................................................... 74

6.2 Planning Objectives and C riteria........................................................... 74

6.3 Engineering Investigations..................................................................... 79

6.4 Economic Investigations........................................................................ 81

6.5 Scientific Investigations.......................................................................... 86

6.6 Recreational and Aesthetic Investigations........................................... 88

6.7 The Decision-making Sequence............................................................. 89

6.8 The Decision-making Responsibility.................................................... 91

7 THE FUTURE MANAGEMENT OF LAKE PEDDER: The Committee’s Second Term o f Reference 97

7.1 Scope of the Committee’s Recommendations....................................... 97

7.2 The Moratorium Proposal..................................................................... 97

7.3 Possible Recovery of Lake Pedder from Inundation 102

7.3.1 Sources of Information............................................................... 102

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7.3.2 Biological A sp ects........................ ................................................ 102

7.3.3 Physical Aspects............ ............................................................... 104

7.3.4 Aesthetic Aspects........................................................................... 104

7.4 Future Management of the Lake Pedder Area 104

7.4.1 Potential Management Problems 104

7.4.2 Artificial Stocking with Trout in the Huon/Serpentine Storage . 104 7.4.3 Re-establishment of Endangered Species................................... 108

7.4.4 Boating Activities................................... 109

7.4.5 Management of Recreation and Tourism in the Lake Pedder Area ............................................................................................... 110

7.5 The South-West National P a r k .............................................................. I l l

8 LESSONS FOR FUTURE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT: The Committee's Third and Fourth Terms o f Reference 115

8.1 Scope of the Committee’s Anaylsis......................................................... 115

8.2 The Nature and Scope of Multi-objective Planning............................... 115

8.3 National, State and Regional Policies for Land Use Planning and the Management of Natural Resources................. 127

8.4 The Planning of Natural Resource Development Projects.................... 134 8.5 The Assessment of Environmental Im p a c t............. .. . ......................... 143

8.6 The Question of Public Involvement.................................................'. . . 145

8.7 The Planning and Management of Australia’s National P a r k s ........... 148 8.8 Education and Research Needs ..................................... 150

9 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 153

9.1 Introduction............................ 153

9.2 The Background to the Controversy....................................................... 153

9.3 The History of the Controversy................................................................ 154

9.4 The Major Components of the Controversy............................................ 157

9.5 Conclusions Under the Committee’s First Term of Reference............. 158 9.6 Conclusions Under the Committee’s Second Term of Reference......... 161 9.7 Conclusions Under the Committee’s Third and Fourth Terms of Reference................................................................................................ 163

APPENDIX I —Witnesses at Public H earings.......................... 171

APPENDIX II —List of those who presented written submissions to the Committee............................................ 172

APPENDIX III—List of those who made representations to the Committee . . . 173 APPENDIX IV—Bibliography for documentation of species endemic to Lake Pedder.......................................... 175

APPENDIX V —Bibliography................. 176

SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT OF MR EDWARD ST JOHN, Q.C.. . 181

FIGURES

Figure 1. General location of area under discussion........................................ 7

Figure 2. Location of National Park and Fauna Reserve boundaries.............. 9 Figure 3. Lake Pedder and environs.................................................................. 11

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Figure 4. Location of power stations in T a sm a n ia ........................................... 13

Figure 5. Diagrammatic layout—Middle Gordon Schem e............................. 14

Figure 6. Gordon Scheme—diagrammatic cross-section................................ 15

Figure 7. Engineering alternatives to the Gordon S ch em e.................... 34

Figure 8. Projections of energy demand and system capacity—Lake Redder Action Committee, 1971........... 41

Figure 9. Projections of energy demand and system capacity—Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry, June 1973 ..................................................... 43

Fig. 10-11 Projections of energy demand and system capacity—Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, August 1973 ........................ 45 46 Figure 12. Development of the boundaries of the Lake Pedder National Park. 69 Figure 13. Base camp areas in the South-West. Arrows indicate excursion

routes from base c a m p s ..................................................................... 70

Figure 14. South-east Australia—wilderness areas (areas more than three miles from the road)........................................................................... 73

Figure 15. The Planning Process—current practice.......................................... 135

Figure 16. The Planning Process—a suggested procedure based on multi­ objective concepts........... : . . ............................ .............................. .. 139

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SUMMARY

The purpose of this Enquiry has been to prepare a report for the Australian Minister for the Environment and Conservation concerning the circumstances leading to the flooding of Lake Pedder in Tasmania, in order to assist him in an examination of the Australian Government’s role with respect to the environment in relation to development projects in the States and the Territories.

The first two chapters of the report deal with the circumstances leading to the formation of the Committee of Enquiry, the Committee’s constitution and Terms of Reference, and the scope of its activities. The third chapter deals with the background to the Lake Pedder controversy. It describes the South-West region of Tasmania, and outlines the features and characteristics of Lake Pedder and its environs. It proceeds with a brief description of the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission and its power development activities and

a description of the Gordon River Power Development Stage I project, whose construction involves the flooding of Lake Pedder. It concludes with a brief discussion of the Tasmanian economy and the role of hydro-electric development in that economy.

The fourth chapter is a chronology of the controversy that has surrounded the flooding of Lake Pedder. This has been dealt with in five segments: the early days from 1855 to 1955; the investigation period from 1955 to 1967; the first phase of the controversy in 1967; the ‘scientific interlude’ from 1968 to 1970; and the second phase of the controversy, from 1970 to the present time.

The fifth chapter examines the major components of the Lake Pedder controversy. It includes commentary on the complex nature of the controversy; an analysis of the possible engineering alternatives to the Gordon River Scheme which might have avoided the flooding of the lake; a discussion on forecasting of future energy demands in Tasmania and its relevance to the planning of the Gordon scheme; a discussion of the scientific value of Lake Pedder; a description and evaluation of the official biological investigations undertaken in the Lake Pedder area prior to the decision to flood the lake; a discussion of the problems of national park planning and management which figured so significantly in the controversy; and a commentary on the recreational and aesthetic values of Lake Pedder and the South-West.

The sixth chapter contains discussions, conclusions and recommendations under the Committee’s First Term of Reference, which related to the adequacy of the investigation, planning and decision-making processes which led to the flooding of Lake Pedder. This topic is analysed under the following headings: planning objectives and criteria; engineering investigations; economic investigations; scientific investigations; recreational and aesthetic investigations; the decision-making

sequence; and the decision-making responsibility. The seventh chapter deals with the Committee’s Second Term of Reference, which related to action that might be taken to alleviate the adverse consequences of the flooding of Lake Pedder. It includes commentary on the Committee’s Interim Report, issued in June 1973, which proposed a moratorium on the flooding of the lake to permit further investigation into the possibility and desirability of restoring it to its former condition. It then discusses a number of topics relating to the management of the enlarged Pedder impoundment, including the problems introduced by stocking with trout, the possibilities of re-establishment of endangered species, the

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management of boating activities and the management of recreation and tourism in the Lake Pedder area. It concludes with a critical discussion about the future planning and management of the South-West National Park. The eighth chapter contains discussions, conclusions and recommendations under

the Committee’s Third and Fourth Terms of Reference, which related to the lessons to be learnt from the Lake Pedder controversy and their relevance to the future planning of major resource development projects in Australia. This material has been discussed under several headings which comprise the nature and scope of multi-objective

planning; the need for national, State and regional policies for land use planning and the management of natural resources; the planning of resource development projects; the assessment of environmental impact; the question of public involvement in the decision-making process; issues relating to the planning and management of

Australia’s National Parks; and education and research needs in conservation and environmental management. The final chapter is a detailed summary of all the proceding material and includes a resume of the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations under its Terms of

Reference. This chapter is designed to be read as a condensed version o f the entire report.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A great many people have assisted this Committee in its enquiries and the preparation of its final report. The appointed members of the Committee would like to express their special thanks to Mrs Christine Settle of the Department of the Environment and

Conservation, who gave sterling service as Secretary to the Enquiry. Thanks are due to other staff of the Department who assisted the Committee, and particularly Mrs Nancy Zorbas and Mr Chris Happ. The Committee appreciates the encouragement and assistance given by the

Minister for the Environment and Conservation, the Hon. Moss Cass and his colleague, the Hon. Tom Uren, two men who are clearly dedicated to the conservation cause. As has been recorded, the Committee’s activities were handicapped by the

difficulties that arose between the Australian Government on the one hand and the Government of Tasmania and the Hydro-Electric Commission on the other. Committee members nevertheless appreciated the personal courtesies extended to them by the Tasmanian Premier, the Hon. Eric Reece, and the Commissioner of the

Hydro-Electric Commission, Sir Allan Knight. Thanks are due to those staff of the Commission, notably construction staff at Strathgordon, who gave the Committee a detailed picture of the Gordon Power Development project. The Committee is particularly grateful to Mr Russell Ashton, Assistant to the Commissioner, who

performed a very difficult liaison task with tact and courtesy. The Committee’s public hearings were greatly assisted by Mr Bruce Davis of the University of Tasmania and Dr Geoff Mosley of the Australian Conservation Foundation. These men have assisted the Enquiry also in many other ways.

A great many other people have contributed to the work of the Committee. Special thanks are due to those individuals and organisations who made verbal and written submissions to the Committee and whose names have been listed in the Appendixes. Whilst it would be unfair to single out individuals for special mention, the Committee

has particularly appreciated the assistance given individually and collectively by members of the Lake Redder Action Committee and the South-West Committee. Much work has also been done behind the scenes by people who had little personal involvement in the Lake Redder controversy. Notable amongst them was the

Chairman’s secretary, Mrs Lexi Kalocsai, without whose help this report would never have been completed.

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1 INTRODUCTION

Lake Redder, a small lake lying in the valley of the Serpentine River in the rugged south-west comer of Tasmania, has for eight years been the focus of a major environmental controversy. In 1955, largely as a result of submissions by bushwalkers who were virtually the

only people to gain access to the Lake Redder area, an area of 59 000 acres centred on Lake Redder was proclaimed a scenic reserve and called the Lake Redder National Park. In 1966, the Lake Redder National Park was included in the South-West Faunal District, an area of over 1.6 million acres, and subsequently became part of the 473 500 acre South-West National Park in 1968.

Over the same period the Hydro-Electric Commission became interested in the south-west region of Tasmania and began collecting field data and undertaking surveys aimed at the planning of a major hydro-electric scheme. The scheme finally selected, which is known as the Gordon River Power Development Stage I, involves the damming of the Gordon River with a major concrete arch dam and the flooding of the Serpentine and Huon Valleys by the construction of two smaller dams to divert

water into the main Gordon storage. The two impoundments so formed will create Australia’s largest water storage and inundate Lake Redder itself and some 200 square miles of the Gordon, Huon and Serpentine valleys. This proposal became public in May 1967 when the Hydro-Electric Commission’s

report to the Premier was tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament. The proposal created a strong public outcry and a call for the appointment of a Select Committee of Enquiry; one was eventually set up by the Legislative Council. The Government did not await the findings of the Select Committee, but introduced an Enabling Act into the House of Assembly in June 1967. This Act was set aside by the Legislative

Council until the Select Committee reported its findings in August 1967. Whilst expressing regret that no satisfactory method for saving Lake Redder had been found, the Select Committee recommended that the Hydro-Electric Commission’s proposals should be authorised. Despite continued public outcry the construction of the project

commenced almost immediately and by the end of 1971 the inundation of Lake Redder had begun. In the late 1960s public interest waned, but biologists and other scientists began conducting investigations into Lake Redder and its environs which indicated that the

lake was a unique ecosystem with nearly twenty endemic species of considerable scientific interest which would be likely to become extinct following its inundation. By early 1971, as the Serpentine dam neared completion and the flooding of Lake Redder became imminent, public interest began to swell again and protest committees were formed in Tasmania and on the mainland to stage an all-out campaign to arouse

public feelings and force some reconsideration of the matter. Action taken included political activity in the State election and an attempt to attack the legislation which had validated the scheme. Attempts were also made to involve the Federal Government in the controversy. Despite continued outcry none of these moves was

successful and by the end of 1972 Lake Redder was completely inundated. In November 1972, a few weeks before the Federal election, Mr Tom Uren, the Federal Labor spokesman for Urban Affairs and the Environment, speaking in Hobart Town Hall, said: ‘Tonight I want to say to you that if a Labor Government is returned to power it has been indicated to me that I will be the Minister for the

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Environment. I commit myself to initiating a feasibility study of all the alternative proposals which could save Lake Pedder when this comes about’. A month later a Labor Government did come to power but it transpired that Mr Uren did not become the Minister for the Environment, this portfolio being given to Dr Moss Cass. Over the ensuing weeks Dr Cass, Mr Uren and others attempted to initiate a joint Federal- Tasmanian enquiry, but the Tasmanian Premier made it clear that he would not agree to such an enquiry. Late in January the Federal Cabinet approved a Minute from its Urban and Regional Planning Committee proposing that Dr Cass be asked to advise Cabinet on the Australian Government’s role with respect to the environment in relation to past and future development programs in the States and Territories. As the first step in this investigation it was decided to make a study of the Lake Pedder controversy as a basis for the development of guidelines which the Australian Government might use in relation to future development projects having significant environmental implications. A four-man committee was appointed and this . committee commenced its work late in February 1973.

The task of this Committee has not been without difficulty, largely because of the inability of the Australian Government and the Tasmanian Government to reach agreement on the Terms of Reference and the eventual refusal of the Tasmanian Government to give evidence to the Enquiry. This has inconvenienced the Committee in its work and caused considerable delay in the preparation and presentation of this final report. The Committee believes, however, that sufficient information has been available to it from a variety of sources to make a fair assessment of the events surrounding the flooding of Lake Pedder and draw conclusions and recommendations from them with the object of assisting the Australian Government in the formulation of procedures and guidelines to ensure that future development projects are undertaken with due regard for the protection of the environment and after a proper consideration of all relevant factors.

Mr St John, a Member of this Committee, whilst agreeing with this joint Report, to which he has contributed, desires to add also a supplementary statement emphasising certain aspects of the matter, from the conservationist point of view, and j expressing a difference of opinion, on several incidental matters, not however i affecting the Committee’s final conclusions or recommendations. This statement i.

appears as an annexure to this Report. >

2 THE COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY

The Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry was appointed by the Hon. Moss Cass, M.P., Australian Minister for the Environment and Conservation, on 23 February 1973. The general Terms of Reference for the Committee were stated by the Minister as:

‘The broad purpose of the enquiry is to prepare a report for the Minister for the Environment and Conservation concerning the circumstances leading to the flooding of Lake Pedder in Tasmania, in order to assist him in an examination of the Australian Government’s role with respect to the environment in relation to development projects in the States and the Territories. In particular, it is intended that the Committee shall analyse the events surrounding the flooding of Lake Pedder and draw conclusions and recommendations from them, with the object of assisting in the formulation of procedures

and guidelines to ensure that development projects are undertaken with due regard for the protection of the environment and after a proper consideration of all relevant factors. ’

The Committee’s detailed Terms of Reference were as follows:

1. To enquire into the history and circumstances surrounding the flooding of Lake Pedder and in particular to consider:

(a) whether there was at any stage insufficient or inadequate investigation of factors relevant to the decision to flood the Lake; (b) the legal or administrative procedures leading to the making of such decision. In making such investigation the Committee will concern itself with the facts and matters of principle and will not attempt to attribute fault or blame should any deficiencies in investigational or administrative procedures become apparent.

2. To suggest what action, if any, might be taken to alleviate, or compensate for, any adverse consequence which may be considered to have arisen from the flooding of Lake Pedder.

3. To state what lessons, if any, may be learnt from a study of the above matters, with particular reference to the Australian Government’s future role in relation to development projects in the States and Territories. 4

4. To recommend, with regard to development projects which may have significant adverse effects on the environment, such changes and improvements in investigational, legal and administrative procedures as may be considered necessary or desirable to prevent or minimise the likelihood of such effects.

In pursuing its enquiries and making its recommendations, the Committee was authorised and requested to seek information and assistance from such governmental, statutory or private bodies and such persons or organisations, and to make such interim and final reports, as it saw fit, on any aspect of the various matters falling within the scope of the Enquiry. The Committee was asked to prepare its final

report before 31 July 1973. In August 1973 the Minister granted the Committee leave to defer the issuing of its final report until September 1973. The Chairman’s illness, together with difficulties imposed by transport and communications strikes, caused further deferment to the end of October 1973.

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The Committee was constituted as follows:

Professor John Burton (Chairman) Foundation Professor of Natural Resources, University of New England, New South Wales Mr Douglas Hill Consulting Engineer, Victoria Mr Edward St John, Q.C. Company Director, former Parliamentarian, '

New South Wales Dr W. D. Williams Aquatic ecologist, Reader in Zoology,

Monash University, Victoria

Mrs Christine Settle, Department of the Environment and Conservation, was appointed Secretary to the Committee. The Committee began its work by visiting Tasmania for a week beginning 19 March 1973. During this time the Chairman called on the Premier of Tasmania and the Commissioner of the Hydro-Electric Commission and the Committee, as guests of the Commission, visited the South-West to inspect the new impoundment which had flooded Lake Pedder and various works associated with the Gordon River Development.

Informal talks were also held with Sir Allan Knight and other officers of the Hydro-Electric Commission, and other persons, as a prelude to the public hearings which followed.1 The Committee later held a number of meetings in Canberra and public hearings in Hobart and Melbourne as follows:

Hobart 2-6 April 1973 (inclusive); 2 May 1973 Melbourne 16-17 April 1973

The Committee, not having been appointed pursuant to statutory powers, had no power to administer an oath, nor to compel witnesses or the production of documents. Witnesses were warned that they were not protected from the laws relating to defamation. Witnesses were first invited to read from, or to speak to, their written submissions. Questions were then asked by the Chairman and other Members of the Committee and, by leave of the Committee, by or through Mr Russell Ashton, representing the Hydro-Electric Commission, and by Mr Bruce W. Davis (and for the hearings in Melbourne and part of the hearings in Hobart, by Dr J. G. Mosley, of the Australian Conservation Foundation) representing other interests.

All evidence was recorded on tape and transcribed. Unfortunately, due to a mechanical breakdown, the evidence of three Hobart witnesses namely Mr P. Murrell, Mr F. Bolt and Mr P. Thompson given on 3 April 1973 was not recorded. The transcript runs to some 500 pages. It is considered that this transcript and the written submission, coming as they did from a variety of organisations and persons having special knowledge and expertise, constitutes a body of material of considerable value for future workers in this field, going beyond its usefulness to the Committee and its relevance to the Lake Pedder Controversy. Complete copies are to be available for reference at the National Library, Parliamentary Libraries of the Federal and Tasmanian Governments, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Tasmanian

1 In this report the Hydro-Electric Commission is sometimes referred to as ‘the Commission’ or simply ‘the H.E.C.’

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Environment Centre and some University and College of Advanced Education libraries. Evidence was taken at public hearings from selected witnesses, most of whom presented documentary submissions prior to giving oral evidence. Letters and other

documentary submissions were received from other people and organisations. The names and persons and organisations who presented public submissions are listed in Appendix 1. Additional evidence was heard in camera from a number of people who did not wish to give evidence in public. Useful lines of enquiry were opened up by some of these witnesses, but the Committee has not based positive findings on such evidence. No evidence was submitted by the Hydro-Electric Commission at the public

hearings. However, the Commission provided the opportunity for Committee Members to visit the new impoundment and associated works, and Mr Russell Ashton (Assistant to Sir Allan Knight, the Commissioner) at the public hearings* was supplied with copies of all written submissions and the transcripts of evidence and was given the opportunity to ask questions of witnesses. Following certain exchanges between the Premier and the Australian Government concerning the Committee’s

terms of reference, the Premier announced on 30 April 1973 that his Government would not co-operate further in the Enquiry, but noted that he would instruct the Commission to prepare an historical account of matters relating to the whole issue. As a statutory authority, the Commission was not bound by the Premier’s statement.

Nevertheless, it too, in reply to a specific written enquiry from the Chairman of this Committee, declined to present any submission but stated that an historical account was being prepared and that once completed it would be made public. No such statement has yet appeared.

No comment from the Committee is called for on these decisions. It is recorded, however, that its members deeply regret the actions of the Tasmanian Premier and the Commission, which have not been conducive to an impartial analysis of the facts of the Lake Pedder controversy.

Despite these difficulties the Committee believes itself to be possessed of sufficient evidence and information from a variety of sources (whether submitted to it as oral or written accounts, available from previously published documents, or the direct outcome of its own investigations) to enable it to deal adequately with matters

pertaining to its terms of reference. Following the public hearings and the consideration of accompanying written evidence, it became apparent to the Committee that many people considered the loss of Lake Pedder to be an important adverse consequence of its flooding. Furthermore,

it appeared that there were weaknesses in the decision-making processes that led to the flooding of the lake and that possible alternatives which might have avoided such flooding had not been adequately considered. Finally, there was substantial scientific

opinion that the lake could recover if the water level was restored to normal during 1973. The Committee therefore decided to give priority consideration to its second term of reference and subsequently in June 1973 presented an Interim Report1 which recommended, inter alia that a three to five year moratorium be placed on the filling of the Lake to allow sufficient time for these matters to be more fully investigated. A limited number of copies of the Interim Report was printed and these are available in

libraries and elsewhere. Relevant material from the Interim Report has been included in this Final Report as and where appropriate.

1 The Future o f Lake Pedder, Interim Report of the Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry (Australian Government Publishing Service, June 1973).

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3 THE BACKGROUND TO THE LAKE PEDDER CONTROVERSY

3.1 The South-West The locale of the Lake Redder controversy is the South-West of Tasmania, a rugged, inaccessible and largely uninhabited region which Sir Edmund Hillary has described as ‘one of the last great wilderness areas of the world’ (see Figure 1). The South-West is bounded on the east by the rugged mountain region between Hartz Mountain and Adamson’s Peak, which is part of the central Tasmanian faulted zone of younger rocks. The remainder of the South-West lies in folded and ancient rock structures, dominated by a wide belt of metamorphosed Precambrian rocks. The Gordon River and its tributaries form a trellis pattern through the mountain belt that extends from Hartz Mountain and Mount Field almost to the west coast. These rivers have eroded the softer rocks and the intervening ridges of hard conglomerates and quartzites, running essentially parallel in a broad south-easterly sweep, have been severely eroded by ice, particularly in the isolated Frankland and Arthur Ranges which form the

southern boundary of the Serpentine and Huon valleys. Between these ranges and the sea the land drops to a wide plateau sloping down from about 900 ft to a coastline of 100-ft cliffs. The climate in this region is severe by Australian standards. The average annual rainfall for the most part ranges from around 50 inches to well over 100 inches. The terrain is extremely rugged and spectacular and this, coupled with an extensive river pattern and high rates of runoff, makes it a region of considerable potential for hydro­ power development.

The soils of the area are poor, being generally described as skeletal soils and moor podsol peats. They are shallow, strongly acid, heavily leached and infertile. The vegetation of the area is partly rainforest and wet sclerophyll communities, dominated by Antarctic beech and partly, on the poorer soils, button grass and sedgelands. In

many parts the rain forest is associated with the famous horizontal scrub, Anodopetalum biglandulosum which is virtually impenetrable. Extensive button grass moors occur on the poorest soils, particularly on badly-drained peats and areas where the forest has been burned.

Before the commencement of H.E.C. field investigations in the early 1950s the area was virtually uninhabited, and even now the only settlements to be found in it are the H.E.C. construction village at Strathgordon and smaller H.E.C. camps in the near vicinity. The sole fringing communities are Maydena to the east (the railhead and former starting point for bushwalkers travelling through the South-West) and Port

Davey to the south. Prior to the construction of the H.E.C. road from Maydena to Strathgordon in 1955, there were no roads in the area at all, the only access being by foot tracks used by bushwalkers or by aircraft. Before the H.E.C. began its activities in the area, the South-West was essentially undeveloped and was used mostly by bushwalkers, who considered it to be an outstanding recreational area. Because of the poor soils, rugged terrain, adverse

climate and lack of communications facilities the region has very little agricultural potential. The valleys and ranges of the eastern and north-eastern flanks of the area contain large stands of eucalypt forest and commercial logging interests based on Maydena have been active in this part of the South-West for many years. The potential of the area for timber production is considerable but is restricted by the

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G ordon J Im poundm ent

S trath g o n

laydena

10 miles

Tasm ania

eRrecipitous Bluff

Figure 1: General location o f area under discussion.

difficulty of access. It might be noted that the Gordon River road has greatly increased the potential for commercial forestry, particularly in the Gordon Valley itself where the logging of areas to be inundated by the scheme is in progress. From time to time minerals have been located and mined in the South-West. At

the present time the only mining activity in the region is a very small tin mine at Port Davey. It is reported1 that there has been considerable mineral exploration in the South­ West since 1957, the cost of which approaches $1 million. No significant discoveries

have been reported. It must be concluded that the mining potential of the region is limited. There remain two major forms of land use appropriate to the South-West, namely

hydro-electric power development and recreation. The apparent conflict between these uses forms the essential basis of the Lake Redder controversy. As already noted, the high rainfall and mountainous terrain of the South-West offer very considerable potential for hydro-electric power development. The Gordon River and its tributaries, together with the other major rivers of western Tasmania—the King, the Pieman and the Arthur—offer the potential for a very

substantial increase in Tasmania’s existing output of hydro-power and represent by far the largest available source of unexploited hydro-power in Australia. The Gordon Power Development Stage I is the first phase of a series of possible further

developments in the South-West. Detailed investigations of the possibilities are currently being undertaken by the H.E.C.2 and proposals under investigation include

1 Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Development of South-West Tasmania, Hobart, 5.4.67. 2 T. S. Loffel, The Future Development o f Tasmania's Water Resources. 44th ANZAAS Congress, Sydney, 1972.

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dams on the lower Gordon at Butler Island, the Olga junction and the Splits, a dam on the Denison River and dams on the King and Franklin Rivers. On the other hand, the South-West is claimed to have very considerable potential—and both national and international significance—as a recreational area. McKenry h as written1:

‘The south-west of Tasmania is . .. one of the few wilderness areas of appreciable size remaining in temperate regions of the world; its terrain is extremely rugged, the climate is for the most part bleak, severe and temperamental; in fact, these last three adjectives could well be used to described the area in general. However, these attributes combine with a rugged natural beauty and sense of isolation to give the region a character not found elsewhere, and this character serves to make the region one of the world’s most outstanding walking areas.’

The South-West Committee, formed in 1963 to work for the conservation of the South-West and the formulation of plans for the management of the region, expressed a similar view2:

‘The South-West is unique in Tasmania, and in Australia, by virtue of its scenery, scientific interest and the extent of the area which is still in a primitive condition. Since the island was first settled, the rugged terrain, isolation and infertility of the area have combined to preserve it as the largest single expanse of primitive non-arid land in temperate Australia.

For this reason, and because of the distinctive character of its natural environments, it is now the most valued area for hardy unconfined recreation in the nation and a scientific resource of international significance.’

In 1955, as a result of submissions from the Hobart Walking Club, Lake Redder and some 92 square miles of surrounding lands were gazetted a Scenic Reserve under the provisions of the Tasmanian Scenery Preservation Act 1915. This reserve was called the Lake Pedder National Park and many people believed that this carried an implication that the lake and its environs were to remain inviolate. In April 1966 a large portion of the South-West lying south of the Gordon River, totalling some 1.66 million acres, was declared the South-West Faunal District. In 1967 an Inter­ Departmental Committee on the South-West recommended the dedication of a South-West National Park and this new park, having an area of 473 500 acres, including the original Lake Pedder National Park, was gazetted in October 1968. The location of these areas is shown in Figure 2.

The South-West Committee, in its original submission and later proposals for the management of the South-West, has sought the dedication of a larger area and proposed that it be zoned for various forms of use, including intensive ‘tourist’ usage or high-density recreation as well as the retention of a large portion in natural condition as wilderness area. The Committee understands that the Tasmanian

National Parks and Wildlife Service is making similar provisions in the current development of a management plan for the South-West National Park. The basic issues in the Lake Pedder controversy revolve around the central theme of land use planning for the South-West and involve such questions as whether hydro­ power development and the use of land for recreation and wilderness-type recreation

are incompatible, and is a National Park inviolable, apart from the specific question of whether Lake Pedder itself should have been flooded as part of the Gordon River Power Development Stage I. These issues are explored in detail in later sections of this report.

1 K. McKenry, ‘A History and Critical Analysis of the Controversy Concerning the Gordon River Power Scheme’, Pedder Papers (Australian Conservation Foundation, 1972). 2 South-West Committee: Submission Covering Conservation and Development of South-West Tasmania; A submission to the Premier of Tasmania 1966.

8

·) r->

LAKE REDDER

Old Lake Redder National Park

\ / / \ _ Existing South-West '

V/ / I National Park _ Boundary of South-West Faunal District

LOCALITY MAP

HOBART

Figure 2: Location o f National Park and Fauna Reserve boundaries.

3.2 Lake Pedder Lake Pedder was a comparatively small, elevated lake of unusual character and significance, located at the threshold to the South-West near the upper end of the

valley of the Serpentine River. The lake was roughly square in shape, about two miles in length on each side and about three and three-quarter square miles in area. It extended across the floor of the Serpentine Valley some 960 feet above sea level, surrounded by an extensive button

grass sedgeland and flanked by the Frankland Range to the south and west, sparsely wooded hills rising to the Sentinel Range to the north, ,and sand dunes, smaller lakes, lagoons, watercourses, button grass and Mount Solitary to the east. In the vicinity of the lake the valley floor was covered with a peat soil underlain by

white quartzite sand. In the lake itself the topsoil had been washed away and along its eastern shore an unusual sand-bar or beach of fine-grained, pink-tinted white quartz sand had formed. This beach was one of the outstanding features of the lake and varied in width according to changes in season and variations in water level; in

summer months it often reached a width of half a mile along its two-mile length. The lake itself was shallow, no point exceeding ten feet in depth during the summer months. The surrounding button grass sedgeland yielded a highly acid and humified runoff giving the water of the lake a dark, whisky-brown colour. Under

certain atmospheric conditions the lake reflected the surroundings in mirror image, this again being one of its special features.

9

From the evidence of many people who made submissions to the Committee and the films, slides and photographs shown to the Committee it was apparent that Lake Redder possessed an outstanding aesthetic quality, arising not from any one feature but from an interaction and interplay of many aspects which included the natural beauty of the beach, the lake and the surrounding mountains, the varied reflections of mountain and sky, the changing colours, lights and moods of the lake and its surroundings, and an overwhelming sense of majesty and solitude.

The general physiography and hydrology of the lake and its environs is shown in Figure 3. The main source of inflow was from the button grass swamps to the east, through the braided and meandering Maria Creek and the lagoon system of Lake Maria. At the western end the lake overflowed into the Serpentine River. Mr Bruce Jones, a geomorphologist, outlined the attributes of the Redder landscape in his submission and listed the significant features of the area as follows:

- the shallow, rectilinear lake depression, originating as an area of negative relief behind a mantle of Ice Age detritus and probably enlarged by wind-scour; - the spectacular sand bar and subdued beach built by strong wave action on a gently sloping floor with the aid of an abundant supply of silica; - the elevated dune formations indicating wind deposition and progressive

stabilisation and undergoing present-day wave erosion; - the secondary lagoonal system behind the high dunes, without a Redder type profile and belonging to the swampy tract east of the lake; - the peculiar hydrological regime produced by the lake’s catchment and

geometry; and ■

- the ancillary but important features exhibiting biological influence such as the oddly graded sand deposits, local accretions known as ‘Redder Pennies’, seasonally regulated humic waters, and plant-stabilised sand and gravel barriers.

Further details of the physical features of the lake can be found in Mr Jones’ evidence and the publication, Lake Pedder—Why a National Park M ust be Saved. 1 Because of its unusual hydrological characteristics, which included waters of high acidity and low nutrient content and a considerable cyclic fluctuation in water level,

Lake Pedder possessed a specialised flora and fauna which was in many ways unique. Scientific investigations undertaken in the years following the Tasmanian Parliament’s decision to proceed with the flooding of the lake revealed that it had many features of biological and ecological importance, which can be summarised as follows:

- As a shallow, moderately large lake in a temperate region completely devoid of significant human impact it represented an important reference point (bench mark) by which scientists could assess and evaluate changes taking place in other temperate lakes subject to human influence elsewhere. It was internationally recognised on this basis. - As a lake with somewhat extreme conditions for aquatic life (dilute acid waters, high renewal rates

etc.) it existed as a simple and discrete ecosystem. Ecosystems of this sort are held in high value as study areas by ecologists interested in such matters as the relation between diversity and stability in nature, the effect of ecosystem simplication, the limits to effective ecosystem functioning and so on. Information on subjects like these, implicitly, may have important long-term consequences for mankind. - As the probable remnant of a much larger former lake, it contained a number of species not known

elsewhere (some 18 species are claimed as having been endemic). Many of these were unusual or of significant biological interest. None had been intensively studied in the field prior to inundation; taxonomic consideration alone may be regarded as indicating that the lake acted as an important natural repository for a unique assemblage of species otherwise now extinct elsewhere.

1 See also Section 5.4 of this Report.

10

f -

Figure 3: Lake Redder and environs, (from Lake Pedder— Why a National Park Must be Saved).

Detailed evidence as to the biological values of Lake Pedder and its environment was given to the Committee by Drs P. S. Lake, I. A. Bayly, and Professor Jackson and this evidence is recorded in the transcript of the public hearings. It is discussed in detail in Section 5.4 of this report.

Apart from its scientific values, Lake Pedder was an asset of unusual aesthetic and recreational significance. It became clear from the evidence presented to the Committee that Lake Pedder offered a wide variety of experiences to those people who visited it, ranging from a deep spiritual experience to the simple pleasure of paddling

11

in the warm, shallow water. Day trippers who flew in from Hobart to land on the beach, take photographs and depart, campers who spent vacations at the lake with their families, bushwalkers and climbers who trekked in and made the lake a base for excursions further afield, and many poets, artists and photographers, all made submissions to the Committee about the rare qualities of Lake Redder. Their feelings have been expressed in their submissions and can be gauged from the transcripts of evidence presented at the public hearings. The essence of their point of view has been summarised by Mr St John in his annexure to the Committee’s Interim Report. As discussed in further detail in Section 5.7, the Committee became convinced that there was a special quality about Lake Redder and its surroundings which satisfied a wide range of needs in a wide variety of people and will be lost forever if the lake remains inundated.

3.3 The Hydro-Electric Commission and the Middle Gordon Scheme Hydro-electric power for public use was first generated in Tasmania in 1895 for the city of Launceston. In 1914 the Hydro-Electric Department took over existing private developments and began to construct its own plant. In 1930 the Department was reconstituted as the present Hydro-Electric Commission, established by Act of Parliament as the sole generating and distributing authority in the State.

From an initial installed capacity at the Waddamana works of 7500 kW in 1916 there has been a steady growth in the generating capacity of the H.E.C.’s system paralleling a demand growth which has doubled approximately every ten years. At the present time the H.E.C. system has a total installed capacity of about 1300 MW of which about 90% is hydro-power, the remainder being an oil-fired station at Bell Bay in northern Tasmania. Works currently under construction or approved for construction will increase the installed capacity to approximately 2000 mW. When that stage is reached it is estimated that approximately 70% of the potential hydro­ energy resources of the State will have been developed, because of the heavy energy requirements of Tasmania’s large electro-chemical and electro-metallurgical consumers the State’s per capita energy consumption is high, being at present of the order of 14 000 kilowatt hours per annum; the system load factor is correspondingly high at more than 70%.1

The Gordon Scheme, known officially as the Gordon River Power Development Stage 1, represents a major increment in the Tasmanian power system. This scheme, scheduled for completion in 1975 at a total estimated cost of about 95 million dollars, has a potential ultimate installed capacity of 750 mW and is expected to produce

about 1450 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy a year. A major advantage it offers from the point of view of the operation of the overall electricity supply system in Tasmania is the very large water storage capacity provided by the new scheme, which will store 12.8 million acre feet of water in two lakes having a total surface area of approximately 200 square miles.

The general location of the scheme in south-west Tasmania is shown in Figure 4. A diagrammatic layout of the proposed development is shown in Figure 5. A cross­ section diagram showing relative operating levels throughout the scheme is shown in Figure 6.

The scheme involves three dams and two large storage reservoirs. The main operating storage is on the Gordon River, which rises in the mountains of central Tasmania and flows first south and then westwards to Macquarie Harbour on the west coast. The total catchment area above the damsite is 780 square miles and

1 Η. H. Thomas, ‘The Gordon River hydro-electric development—Stage One’, Water Power, March 1971.

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• - Hydro Power Station

Figure 4: Location o f power stations in Tasmania.

annual precipitation over this area is high, ranging from 90 to 150 inches. The mean annual flow at the damsite is 2094 cusecs. At this site a double curvature concrete arch dam is being constructed to a total heigh of 460 ft. This dam will impound about 10 million acre feet of water. With top water level at SL 10101 and minimum operating level at SL 830 the total usable storage capacity will be 8.7 million acre feet.

The adjacent Lake Pedder storage will be formed by the construction of two dams, one on the Serpentine River and the other on the Huon River, together with a low levee bank on a saddle between Lake Edgar and the Huon basin. The Serpentine dam is a 130 ft high concrete-faced rock-fill structure with top water level at SL 1012. This

backs water up the Serpentine valley and over Lake Pedder, to overtop the watershed

1 SL indicates Standard Level and refers to the elevation above Mean Sea Level at Hobart in feet.

13

between the Serpentine and the Huon basins. The Huon dam is a 140 ft high asphalt­ faced rock-fill structure, located at Scott’s Peak, which impounds the waters of the Huon and with the Serpentine waters forms a major lake extending over a length of some 30 miles and having a total surface of 93 square miles. Water from this reservoir (called Lake Redder by the H.E.C.) will be diverted into the Gordon storage through a canal at McPartlan’s Pass, now under construction. This canal has its invert at SL

1000 and has a normal capacity of 2650 cusecs in either direction, with flow controlled by vertical lift gates. The variation in water level in the Lake Redder storage will normally be restricted between SL 1012 and SL 1007, a working range of only five feet. There is however provision for the storage to be drawn down a further five feet to

SL 1002 under drought conditions, on the basis of special Cabinet approval. The effective storage capacity in the Lake Pedder reservoir is thereby restricted to a working volume of approximately 290 000 acre feet, although its total capacity exceeds 2 million acre feet. The Pedder impoundment will therefore function essentially as a diversion structure to divert the flow of the Serpentine and Huon rivers into the Lake Gordon reservoir. The average flows in the Serpentine and Huon rivers at their respective dam sites are 979 cusecs and 446 cusecs respectively. On the basis of mean annual flows the Gordon River therefore contributes approximately 60% of the total inflow to the scheme and the Serpentine and Huon rivers together about 40%, of which about 12% comes from the Huon and 28% from the Serpentine.

The Gordon power station is an underground station excavated downstream of the Gordon dam and designed to accommodate an ultimate installation of 5 generating units, each of about 150 mW capacity. At an average operating head of 630 ft and an average flow through the power station of 3519 cusecs, the average energy output for the station is estimated at 1454 million units each year.

Because of the large surface area available in the two lakes, flood flows will normally be accommodated within the two storages. However, a diversion tunnel with controlled gates having a capacity of 8750 cusecs under a head of 80 ft has been provided in the Serpentine dam and a riparian outlet with a capacity of 100 cusecs has been provided in the Scott’s Peak dam to maintain a flow of water in the lower Huon

River. A portion of the crest parapet at the main Gordon Dam has also been made removable to provide an emergency spillway capacity of about 3000 cusecs. The general relationship of the Gordon Scheme to the other power stations in the Tasmanian system is shown in Figure 4. Some appreciation of the relationship of this

14

8

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£ s ο»

I 31 R ■ § VC

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scheme to the remainder of the system can be gained from Table 1, which lists the installed capacities and average outputs of the major stations in the system. It will be noted from Figure 4 that the existing system involves six groups of power stations. The largest group is based on the Derwent River and its upper tributaries, which form the

major drainage system of the central plateau. Regulation of the headwaters has been achieved by damming the outlets of the larger lakes on the plateau and constructing

15

Clark Dam on the Derwent River at Butler’s Gorge. Dams and power stations further downstream complete the overall development of the Derwent River down to 144 ft above sea level and this river system is now fully utilised. The second group is based on the Great Lake storage, with a major power station at Poatina on the upper catchment of the South Esk River. The old Waddamana stations to the south of the Great Lake are no longer in use.

Table 1: Details of Tasmanian Power Generating System

Station Head

f t

Installed capacity (MW)

Av. Annual Output (Mill. kW h Units)

/. Derwent Stations: Butlers Gorge 184 12 71

Tungatinah 1005 125 557

Tarraleah 981 90 606

Lake Echo 568 32 76

Liapootah 361 84 459

Wayatinah 203 . 38 278

Catagunya 142 48 263

Repulse 88 28 161

Cluny 51 17 93

Meadowbank 95 40 210

II. Great Lake Stations: Poatina 2720 250 1329

Tods Corner 136 2 13

Waddamana ‘B’ 1127 48 *

III. Trevallyn: Trevallyn 415 80 542

IV. Mersey-Forth Stations: Rowallan 161 10 37

Fisher 2115 43 245

Lemonthyme 523 51 284

Wilmot 825 31 127

Cethana 324 85 407

Devils Gate 226 60 298

Paloona 103 28 131

V. Bell Bay Station: Stage 1 Thermal 120 788

Stage 2 Thermal 120 739

VI. Gordon Stage 1 (under construction) Gordon 610 288** 1466

VII. Pieman Stations (under construction) Mackintosh 72 326

Rosebery 76.5 370

Pieman 270 1094

* Standby only. ** Eventually 750.

The third group is the Trevallyn power development at Launceston where power is obtained by diverting the flow of the South Esk River from Trevallyn dam to a generating station on the banks of the Tamar River. A recently completed fourth group is the Mersey Forth development in north-western Tasmania, which

16

incorporates seven power stations. Two thermal units at Bell Bay constitute the fifth group. The sixth group is the Gordon Stage I scheme, now under construction and the subject of this Report. A further development on the Pieman River in north-western Tasmania, which will incorporate three major power stations and have a total

installed capacity of 750 MW, has been approved by the Tasmanian Government, for completion in 1981 and construction has recently commenced.1 ' 2 The problem of operating a system of this kind, which involves over 20 power stations, a number of storage reservoirs and several different river systems, is a

particularly complex one. In day-to-day operation the fluctuating load pattern must be balanced against the availability of water within the system and the likelihood of future inflows. Natural stream flows do not conform to regular patterns but vary erratically and unpredictably. The determination of operating procedures and the

assessment of overall capacity is therefore complicated by uncertainty regarding future runoffs from the contributing catchments. Under these circumstances it is necessary to design the system to cope with the worst expected hydrological circumstances on the basis of a so-called critical design period, which represents the

worst conditions experienced in the past together with some hypothetical additional severe conditions. For design purposes the H.E.C. has adopted a 20-year critical design period from November 1931 to April 1952. The determination of operating policies and the assessment of system capacity is undertaken by means of computer

simulation studies, in which alternative ways of operating the system are examined by simulating overall system behaviour through the critical design period. There are a great many alternative ways in which a system as complex as this one could be operated and the availability of a high-speed digital computer greatly facilitates this kind of study. The Hydro-Electric Commission has operated an operations simulation

program for several years3 and it is understood that this program has now reached a high level of sophistication. Unfortunately, the Committee was not given access to any details of the computer model and was not permitted to make any operations studies to compare alternative ways of operating the proposed Gordon Scheme.

Similar problems arise in planning an increase in system capacity to meet growing system demands. In an actual system the load increases each year at a more or less steady rate, whilst new power developments must be added at discrete intervals to meet this increasing load. As the system capacity is augmented in anticipation of future loads a surplus capacity inevitably becomes available from time to time. The

procedure for determining the required generating capacity and the water storage requirements for new additions to the system again involves computer simulation of the operation of the enlarged system over a hypothetical design period. On the basis of such studies the Hydro-Electric Commission has scheduled the first generating units

in the Gordon development to come on line in 1976 and planned that power should become available from the first of the Pieman stations by 1981, although it appears (see Sections 3.4 and 5.3) that the rate of increase in demand has reduced appreciably since these studies were first made.

The Committee was not permitted access to the Hydro-Electric Commission’s computer runs and so could not determine with any real precision the likely consequences of delays in the construction of the Gordon power station or reductions in the total amount of water available to the Gordon system.

In determining the economic benefits to be gained from an augmentation of a

1 H.E.C. Report to Tasmanian Parliament on Pieman Scheme, 1973. 2 P. J. Jeffries, ‘Civil Engineering Investigations and Economic Studies for the Pieman River Power Development’, J.E. Aust. Civil Eng. Transactions, CE14, No. 2, Oct. 1972. . 3 T. S. Loffel, Some Aspects o f Hydro-Electric Power Development in Tasmania, H.E.C., 1966.

17

complex power generating system the new units should not be assessed in isolation, but should be evaluated on the basis of the incremental benefits that incremental increases in installed capacity, available storage capacity etc. will provide throughout the entire system.

The economic evaluation of a new addition to the system should therefore also be based on detailed computer simulation studies which determine the effect of the new addition on the behaviour of the system as a whole. Here again the Committee has been disadvantaged by the unwillingness of the Hydro-Electric Commission to provide any such information. It might be noted however that in the limited material published by the Commission to justify its decisions in the Lake Redder affair, all costs and benefits appear to be based solely on the Gordon Scheme considered as an isolated unit. This could be particularly misleading in the case of the Gordon Scheme, which provides a very substantial increase in the total storage capacity of the State’s generating system and could so allow the adoption of an entirely new operating procedure under critical drought conditions.

3.4 The Tasmanian Economy

Tasmania is an island and the smallest of the Australian States. These two facts account for many of its distinctive characteristics and problems. Tasmania holds a little over 3% of Australia’s population on a little under 1% of its total land area. Because of its small size and population and its limited resources it lacks the flexibility of the larger States in economic matters and finds it necessary to take positive steps to attract external investment.

In the industrial sphere, growth has depended on the availability or the deliberate provision of compensatory factors to offset the disadvantages of distance, poor communications and small local markets. To some extent these factors have been available in the form of an abundant supply of good quality water, the local

availability of certain raw materials, or the comparative stability of the work force. To a very large extent, however, there has been a deliberate attempt to stimulate industrial development by the provision of cheap electricity. Since the H.E.C. (then the Hydro-Electric Department) commenced activities at Waddamana in 1914 and soon after commenced the first bulk supplies of industrial power to the Electrolytic Zinc Company, it has become the largest single Government organisation in Tasmania, accounting for about half the State’s expenditure of loan funds and con­ trolling installations on which capital expenditure has exceeded $400 million. Succes­ sive Governments over a period of sixty years have pursued a deliberate policy of hydro-industrialisation, reasoning that the continued exploitation of water resources to provide cheap bulk power at high load factors would attract industry to the State; that this industry would create employment; that this in turn would lead to an increase in population and greater prosperity for the State, which in itself might attract further industry.

The success of this policy can be measured in one respect by the extent to which major industry, particularly in the form of metal processing and electro-chemical plants, has developed in Tasmania. For the past twenty years the value of factory production in the State has exceeded the value of primary production and nearly a quarter of the Tasmanian work force is engaged in manufacturing. Whilst this proportion is lower than for other States in Australia (Tasmania 23%, Victoria 32%, N.S.W. 29% on 1966 Census figures) Tasmanian industry is not on the whole labour­ intensive and the significance of manufacturing is somewhat stronger than these figures indicate. As one writer has suggested,1 ‘the fact that its industrial share has

1 R. J. Solomon, Tasmania, Australian Regional Geography Series (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1972).

18

been maintained in the face of a declining proportion of the population and of the increasing emphasis on large-scale agglomeration of industry at large market concentrations is something of an achievement. Such an achievement does not happen fortuitously and we must turn to the factors of industrial location for an explanation’.

As already indicated, the major factors which have operated as attractive forces in Tasmania have included the availability of cheap bulk power, the availability of certain raw materials, the availability of a good water supply and the characteristics of the labour force itself. Electric power has been the principal locational incentive for the heavy power users such as the Australian Commonwealth Carbide Company,

which was established at Electrona near Hobart in 1917, the Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australia which has operated at Risdon since 1916, and the Comalco Aluminium plant at Bell Bay on the Tamar which is the largest single consumer of bulk power in the State. Almost 75% of the electrical energy sold in Tasmania goes to

industry, Comalco alone having had an average loading of 138 megawatts in 1968-69. The other locational factors mentioned have been additional factors accounting for the establishment of other major classes of industry including food processing, confectionery and textile manufacture. A significant consequence of the operation of the raw material-power locational factors has been the development of a paper­ manufacturing industry centred on Australian Newsprint Mills at New Norfolk and

Associated Pulp and Paper Mills at Burnie, the former being the sole manufacturer of newsprint in Australia and the latter being Tasmania’s largest employer. When the Tasmanian Government decided to proceed with the Middle Gordon Scheme in 1965 it apparently had no reason to think that the hydro-industrialisation

policy followed for so long had shortcomings and the project was seen to be necessary, despite its environmental consequences, on the grounds of the apparent past success of this policy and the anticipated high future growth rate for industrial power demand. More recently, however, this policy has come to be questioned and this has

been strengthened by a recession in the rate of industrial growth in Tasmania itself and a growing public concern, in Tasmania and elsewhere, that growth is not necessarily progress and that such vaguely-defined concepts as ‘quality of environment’ and ‘quality of life’ deserve increasing attention.

The demand predictions on which the Middle Gordon Scheme were based assumed an annual growth rate for energy demand of the order of 8%, based on recorded growth rates over a twenty year period. The H.E.C. Report on the proposed Pieman Development in 1971 also assumed growth rates of this order, stating inter alia (p. 7) that ‘over a period of fifty years the Commission’s load has conformed with

a rate of growth which shows a doubling of demand approximately every ten years’. This corresponds to an annual growth rate of 7.2% over the fifty year period. During the last two years, however, a major recession in growth rate has been evident, the

actual growth of energy sales being 5.9% for 1971-72 and 2.1% for 1972-73. In a letter to the Committee the H.E.C. advised that much lower growth rates than 8% were being used in current planning and it is stated in a recent report of the Snowy Moun­ tains Engineering Corporation1 that the Commission is currently using a forecast

growth rate of 5%. Whilst the recorded growth figures for the past two years may result from many complex factors and future growth rates may be expected to average out at a higher figure, there is clear evidence that temporarily at least the demand for cheap bulk power in Tasmania has very appreciably lessened.

Current public attitudes to Tasmania’s industrial development policy are summarised in the following quotation from Solomon:2

1 Engineering Review o f Interim Report o f Lake Pedder Committee ofEnquiry June 1973, S.M.E.C., Aug. 1973. 2 R. J. Solomon, op. cit.

19

‘This mention of problems related to size is made in the context of the twentieth century philosophy that growth is progress. Our technological advances have so often depended on industrial capacity, capital availability and acquired skills that the concept seemed to be a truism. But now, as we approach the final quarter of the century, the problems associated

with industrial society are becoming popular causes. A growing disinclination to accept the precedence of commercialism over conservation, a recognition that some of our past is worth preserving, and even an incipient questioning of the ever-increasing concentration of population in large cities are changing attitudes which seem likely to place a higher value on the unspoiled and less developed corners of the earth. No realistic prediction can see Tasmania as an industrial giant or its capital (as predicted in 1856) “a modern Athens in the Southern Hemisphere”. But it may increasingly be recognised as a desirable place to live’.

These attitudes were reflected in the submissions of a high proportion of the witnesses who gave evidence to the Committee, many of whom argued that continued hydro-industrialisation was not a desirable policy for Tasmania to follow and suggested that the State should capitalise on its natural features and environmental advantages and develop recreation and tourism as major alternative sources of income. Others argued that the hydro-industrialisation policy, because of the emphasis it placed on capital-intensive heavy electro-metallurgical and electro­ chemical plants having low labour requirements, did not achieve the objective of increased employment; it would be preferable, they claimed, to provide inducements designed to encourage labour-intensive industries. To support their view figures were submitted to show that Tasmania, whilst it has one of the highest birth-rates in Australia, has the lowest rate of population increase of any State;1 that

unemployment is higher in Tasmania than any other State; and that a major part of the profits generated by the large power consumers go outside Tasmania.2 Evidence was also put to suggest that no detailed study of the costs and benefits accruing from the hydro-industrialisation policy had ever been made and claiming the policy to be a myth and a dogma with no real basis in fact.3 The Committee’s attention was also drawn to a recent study of the Tasmanian tourist industry which strongly substantiated these points of view.4

It is not within the Committee’s terms of reference to question the Tasmanian Government’s industrialisation policy, except in so far as it is relevant to the decision­ making processes which led to the Lake Pedder controversy. Suffice it to say that the Committee accepts, on the basis of the evidence presented to it, that Tasmania’s policies for economic development are open to question.

1 Written submission, Mr H. L. Dodson. 2 Written submission, Tasmania Conservation Trust. 3 Notably the submissions of B. W. Davis and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. 4 Tourism Tasmania— its economic significance, A report by Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Co. to the Tasmanian

Government, 1973.

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4 CHRONOLOGY OF THE LAKE PEDDER CONTROVERSY1

4.1 Early Days: 1835-1955 Lake Redder was discovered in 1835 by Surveyor John Wedge, who named it after the then Chief Justice of the Colony, Sir John Lewes Redder. In 1896 a party under Surveyor Innes visited the lake and the party’s geologist,

Harry Nichols, took photographs ‘to give some idea of the beauty of this gem’. He subsequently wrote to the Hobart Mercury to draw the attention of tourist authorities to ‘one of the prettiest spots I have ever seen’. For many years the only visitors to the lake were occasional bushwalkers. In the

early 1950s Mr Lloyd Jones of the Tasmanian Aero Club landed on the beach for the first time and it soon became a regular visiting point for light aircraft. Lloyd Jones procured many photographs of the area in the early 1950s which gave it considerable publicity, but it remained largely inaccessible to the public until the construction of

the Strathgordon Road in 1964. It was visited increasingly by bushwalkers and climbers during the 1940s and 1950s and largely as the result of a submission made by the Hobart Walking Club in February 1954, Lake Redder and some 92 square miles of surrounding country was gazetted as a scenic reserve, pursuant to the provisions of the Tasmanian Scenery Preservation Act 1915, on March 8, 1955. The Scenery

Preservation Board decided to name this reserve the Lake Redder National Park and a member of the Board, Mr Allan (later Sir Allan) Knight, the Commissioner of the H.E.C., stated that the H.E.C. would eventually be interested in the area but that this would probably not be for twenty years.

4.2 The Investigation Period: 1955-1967 Investigation activities by staff of the H.E.C. began in the Gordon River region in the early 1950s, the first tangible evidence of this activity being the installation of river gauging stations on the upper reaches of the Gordon in 1953.

According to McKenry, who is the only person to have had access to H.E.C. reports, H.E.C. activity increased markedly from 1955 onwards. Initially helicopters were used to carry geologists, surveyors and engineers into the area and detailed investigation of the hydro-electric potential of the region commenced and continued

for a decade. Additional river gauging sites were established and in 1960 a rough track suitable for tracked vehicles was pushed through to the Serpentine River. The first contour maps of the Gordon River region became available in 1962 and provided the first reliable topographic information for the area. Preliminary studies based on

these maps indicated the possible development of the Gordon River in three zones, termed the Upper, Lower and Middle Gordon River areas respectively. The Upper Gordon area appeared to have only a limited hydro potential and attention was directed to the Middle and Lower areas, both of which appeared to have very

1 This chronology has been based on evidence from a variety of sources including the submissions made by the South­ West Committee, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the Lake Redder Action Committee. It depends heavily on the paper by K. McKenry, A History and Critical Analysis o f the Controversy Surrounding the Gordon River Power Scheme, which appeared in the publication Pedder Papers (Australian Conservation Foundation, 1972). The Committee notes that the H.E.C. has claimed these sources, particularly the McKenry paper, to be in error. It also notes that the Premier of Tasmania announced on 30 April 1973 that he would instruct the Commission to prepare an

historical account of the controversy, presumably to put the record straight. As already indicated, no such account had appeared by the time this Report was completed (January 1974).

21

significant potential. For various reasons the Middle Gordon area appeared to offer the best prospects for early development and further investigation was concentrated on this area.

During 1962 a number of alternative scheme layouts was formulated and costed and the tentative decision was made to construct a major dam on the Gordon at the ‘Knob’ site and divert water from the Serpentine to the Gordon storage. Detailed site investigation of possible damsites, low-level aerial photography and the installation of further river gauging stations was commenced and the H.E.C. prepared a submission to the Commonwealth Government for a special grant of £2 500 000 to construct a road into the area, to permit vehicular access for detailed site investigation. This submission was never made public. It was however successful and construction of the road commenced in January 1964.

Meanwhile some organised activity aimed at the conservation of the South-West had commenced with the formation in November 1962 of the South-West Committee. This Committee came into being as the result of a meeting held in Hobart and was representative of twelve Tasmanian organisations concerned with conservation and outdoor recreation. Mr Ron Brown, who became its chairman, was at the time Deputy

President of the Legislative Council and he suggested to the Government that the entire South-West should be declared a national park. A detailed submission covering proposals for the conservation and development of South-West Tasmania was subsequently prepared by the South-West Committee and submitted to the Premier in 1966.

Government action aimed at the management of the South-West was foreshadowed in August 1964 when the then Premier, Mr Reece, announced the Government’s intention to establish an Inter-Departmental Committee for the South­ West. He stated that ‘It had been decided to set up a Committee of Departmental officers to handle arrangements and recommend reserves to protect the region against undue damage’. The South-West Committee sought unsuccessfully to have some representation of conservation groups on the Inter-Departmental Committee but this was refused by Government, which announced in June 1965 that the membership of the Committee would be confined to departments and would comprise the H.E.C. Commissioner as convenor, the Surveyor-General, and representatives of the Forestry Commission and Mines Department. The formal terms of reference for this Inter­ Departmental Committee was not announced until December 1966, nearly two and a half years after the Premier’s first announcement that the Committee would be established.

During 1964 and 1965 detailed site investigations for proposed dams on the Gordon, Serpentine and Huon were undertaken by the H.E.C. and by early 1965 detailed planning of the selected alternatives was ready to commence. Up to this time no public statement had been made about H.E.C. activities in the Gordon region, nor had there been any announcement of the Commission’s intentions for the South­

West. As it became apparent that investigation activities in the region were accelerating, a growing public disquiet arose concerning the future. Public anxiety became more widespread as the construction of the Gordon Road proceeded, but the Government persisted in its policy of not releasing any information whatsoever about its proposals. Finally, on 21 June 1965 the Premier, after briefing by the H.E.C. concerning the progress of its investigations, issued a press statement about H.E.C. activities in the South-West which included the passage ‘. . . there would be some modification of the Lake Pedder National Park’. To quote McKenry, ‘this was the most illuminating piece of information concerning the future of Lake Pedder issued to the public thus far’. Public anxiety was further stirred with the presentation by the

22

South-West Committee to the 1965 ANZAAS Congress in Hobart of a paper which appears to have been the first public disclosure of the H.E.C.’s likely intentions. During 1965 the Animals and Birds Protection Board had made

recommendations for a national fauna reserve in the South-West. This was officially ratified in April 1966 when the South-West Faunal District of 1.6 million acres was gazetted. In August 1966 the South-West Committee presented a submission entitled ‘The Future Development of South-Western Tasmania with Special Reference to its

Scenic and Allied Resources’ to the Premier. This detailed and lengthy submission made proposals for the conservation and development of the South-West which included a proposal for the creation of a South-West National Park, with provision for intensive recreational development in the Lake Pedder and Port Davey areas and the

establishment of two large wilderness areas. Meanwhile the staff of the H.E.C. continued their program of investigation, planning and project design. In June 1966 a case for special Commonwealth financial assistance for the Gordon River Project was prepared by the Commission and

submitted by the Tasmanian Government to the Federal Government. This was not made public at the time. Late in 1966 the H.E.C.’s internal report on the possible alternative ways of developing the Middle Gordon was completed. This report contained cost estimates and concluded that the Serpentine-Huon Diversion

alternative which was later adopted for construction would be the most economical alternative. In November 1966 this alternative was formally adopted by a meeting of the Commission’s Power Committee and the preparation of a detailed proposal for submission to Parliament in April 1967 was put in hand. A British group of con­

sulting engineers, Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, was invited to review the Com­ mission’s proposals (in accordance with normal practice) and their appointment was confirmed in January 1967. The terms of reference for the consultants’ review related to the engineering and

cost-efficiency aspects of the proposed scheme and made no reference to environmental or social aspects. The consultants’ report was sent to the Commission in March 1967 and was essentially an unqualified endorsement of the H.E.C. proposal.

During February the H.E.C. invited members of the scientific staffs of the Tasmanian Museum in Hobart and the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston to visit the project area and conduct a biological survey. The visit lasted for two and a half weeks and included faunal surveys at Lake Pedder, Scott’s Peak and the Gordon

Road Camp known as ‘Silver City’. The survey appears to have been confined to mammals and birds and there was no botanist or limnologist in the party. The report was apparently prepared by staff of the Tasmanian Museum without the assistance of the Queen Victoria Museum representatives.1

By this time considerable public interest had been aroused. To quote McKenry:

‘Although no official information had yet been forthcoming, the implicit threat to Lake Pedder had become widely known, and with this knowledge public feeling slowly mounted. This feeling materialised on 29 March 1967, when the Save Lake Pedder National Park Committee was formed. This new committee was much more militant than the

comparatively conservative South-West Committee and immediately set about making its presence felt by organising public meetings, slide shows and publications, all directed towards saving Lake Pedder’.

At about the same time the Government’s Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West prepared a report on the management of the South-West, which it

1 The nature of this survey and the manner in which it was conducted and reported are discussed in detail in Section 5.5.

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submitted to the Minister for Lands and Works in April 1967, just 5 months after the announcement of its terms of reference. According to McKenry, ‘This report endorsed, by implication, the H.E.C. proposals for the Gordon River area, although these had yet to be presented to Parliament. A large national park for the South-West was recommended also for setting aside after the completion of H.E.C. works in the Middle Gordon, the boundaries meeting with the requirements of the mining, hydro­ electric and forestry representatives. At this stage no report was made public’.

On 1 May 1967 the H.E.C.’s report entitled ‘The Gordon River Power Development Stage One and Thermal Power Station’ was submitted to the Premier, the Minister administering the Hydro-Electric Commission Act. This report was tabled in Parliament on 25 May 1967, and so became public for the first time. The

Lake Pedder Controversy thus began in earnest.

4.3 The First Phase of the Controversy: 1967 Following the announcement of the H.E.C.’s proposals a considerable public outcry developed. According to Davis1:

‘Immediately these proposals were announced a storm of public protest arose. Argument centred not on whether the Gordon River project should be constructed, but whether Lake Pedder should be flooded to provide additional storage. Undoubtedly it was the unbending attitude of the Commission as much as its secrecy which had aroused public ire, and now this legacy was to rebound in no uncertain terms. Soon there was an acrimonious debate ensuing between the government, its opposition, the Hydro-Electric Commission, various conservation groups and the public who had splintered into ‘development’ and ‘anti­ development’ factions. A veritable avalanche of letters, suggestions, and complaints reached the desks of the local news media; public protest· meetings, exhibitions and pamphlets soon followed, and a petition with over 10 000 signatures was presented when debate continued in the House of Assembly.’

Between the time the H.E.C. report was submitted to the Premier and the day on which it was tabled in Parliament, the Premier announced that a submission had been put to the Commonwealth Government seeking a grant of $55 million special assistance for Stage 1 of the Gordon River project. This request had in fact been

formulated and sent to Canberra some eleven months previously, as already noted, although no reply had been received. To quote Davis again, ‘. . . The State Treasury appeared somewhat disconcerted by this move, as the Gordon River proposals had

not yet reached Parliament, nor had the Treasury been given any real opportunity to comment on the Commission’s suggestions’. The H.E.C. report on the Gordon proposal recommended the construction of a 450 foot high dam on the Gordon River upstream of the Serpentine River junction, together with an underground power station of 240 mW installed capacity and

subsidiary dams on the Huon and Serpentine Rivers to permit the diversion of these rivers into the Gordon storage through the McPartlan’s Pass canal. There was also provision for the construction of a small thermal station at Bell Bay in Northern Tasmania to meet anticipated demand increases during the period of construction. The total cost of the project including the thermal station was estimated to exceed $115 million. The report made no specific mention of the Lake Pedder National Park but in Section V under the heading ‘Effects of the Development’ it commented briefly on some of the effects of the enlarged storage and extolled the expected scenic

1 B. W. Davis, Waterpower and Wilderness, Public Administration, University of Sydney, March 1972.

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and costed; this information had not previously been made public and no mention of the alternatives investigated had been included in the Commission’s Report to the Premier. The Select Committee showed considerable interest in these alternatives and sought more detailed information, exploring the issue in some depth with H.E.C. witnesses. The transcript of the H.E.C. evidence (parts of which were made available to this Committee) and the text of the Select Committee’s report indicate clearly that much of the H.E.C. presentation was ambiguous and confusing to the Select Committee members.

The Government did not wait for the findings of the Select Committee, but proceeded to push back-up legislation through the House of Assembly. On 22 June 1967 the Premier introduced into the House the Hydro-Electric Commission (Power Development) Bill 1967, which sought authorisation for an expenditure of $116 million on the H.E.C. proposals. On 28 June a supplementary bill, the Hydro-Electric Commission Bill 1967, was also introduced into the House; this Bill sought, amongst other things, to give the H.E.C. temporary control over the entire South-West Faunal District.

An Opposition motion to adjourn debate on the authorisation Bill until the findings of the Select Committee were known was lost and this Bill was passed by the House on 29 June. On the same day the Premier, at a meeting of the Loan Council in Canberra, succeeded in obtaining $47 million of bridging finance for the H.E.C. proposals.

On 6 July 1967 the supplementary Bill was passed in the House and sent on to the Legislative Council. The Council put both Bills aside to await the findings of the Select Committee. The Select Committee’s report was presented to the Legislative Council on 22 August. The Committee recommended that the Gordon River project as proposed by the H.E.C. should be authorised, but expressed deep regret that an economical alternative for saving Lake Pedder had not been found. The Committee was particularly critical of the H.E.C.’s public relations and urged a complete review

and reappraisal of its public relations policy. Amongst other conclusions it recommended that a new National Park be proclaimed prior to the commencement of hydro-electric works in the Gordon area, that a new Authority under the direction of a Minister of the Crown be set up to integrate the control of all National Parks, that the flora and fauna of the area to be affected by the Middle Gordon development be thoroughly investigated, and that the Hydro-Electric Commission Act 1944 be amended to provide that any new power developments coming before Parliament should be referred to a Joint Committee of Parliament for report.

On 24 August 1967, two days after the Select Committee’s report had been tabled, the Legislative Council passed the authorisation Bill without amendment and the supplementary Bill with amendments reducing the period of the H.E.C.’s control of the South-West Faunal District from ten years to one year. These amendments were accepted by the House of Assembly on 14 September.

This effectively marked the end of what might be termed the first phase of the controversy. To quote again from McKenry:

‘With the passage of these Bills through Parliament the way was clear for the H.E.C. to proceed. Construction work was soon under way, and opponents of the scheme, for the most part, gave up their fight. Their morale had been shattered by the publication of the Select Committee’s Report and although opposition to the project was still widespread, it seemed there was no possible venue of hope for their cause. Although, as later events showed, the controversy was far from played out, it seemed at this stage that the H.E.C. had won, albeit with a badly tarnished image’.

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4.4 The ‘Scientific’ Interlude: 1968-70 The H.E.C.’s construction schedule for the Middle Gordon Scheme required the early completion of the relatively small dams on the Serpentine and the Huon, so that the Lake Pedder storage could fill to a level sufficient to divert water through McPartlan’s

Pass Canal into the Gordon Storage by the time the Gordon Dam could be prepared for closure. This was anticipated to occur about April 1974. Construction of the Gordon dam and power station and associated works would continue concurrently, with the objective of having the scheme in operation with the first generator available

for service by mid-1976. Construction activities commenced as soon as Parliamentary approval had been secured. As construction accelerated so public interest in the controversy appeared to wane. The ensuing three years were however notable for an upsurge of scientific

activity, aimed at a detailed investigation of the flora and fauna of Lake Pedder and its environs. To a limited extent this investigation was assisted by the H.E.C., which made helicopters and other facilities available. For the most part, however, it was undertaken by independent and dedicated scientists using their own resources.

The period of scientific investigation added a new dimension to the Lake Pedder controversy. It became increasingly evident that the lake and surrounding areas represented an unusual and extremely interesting environment which had produced a highly specialised and scientifically valuable flora and fauna. By 1971 a total of seventeen species had been identified, some extremely rare and others apparently endemic to Lake Pedder itself. These included four new plant species and several species of worm, snails, crustaceans and aquatic insects. International scientific

interest in the lake was awakened and it was given special mention in the UNESCO/International Biological Program ‘Project Aqua’ as a study area of international significance whose destruction would represent a considerable scientific loss.

The scientific aspects of the Lake Pedder controversy are discussed in considerable detail in Section 5.4 of this report. Suffice it to say here that the growing revelation of the scientific importance of the lake considerably widened the scope of the controversy and provided much of the stimulus for the renewal of public outcry in

1971. In October 1968 the controversy was stimulated by the gazetting of the new South­ West National Park, comprising an area of 473 500 acres including the former Lake Pedder National Park.

The controversy took a political turn late in 1969 when the Reece Labor Government was defeated at the polls and a new Liberal Government was elected by a narrow majority. This Government had included conservation policies in its platform and many Tasmanian conservationists anticipated an improved governmental

concern for environmental issues. Their hopes were short-lived, for the new Government pursued essentially the same policies as before and continued strongly in support of the hydro-industrialisation objective. Growing dissatisfaction with these policies, coupled with increasing publicity for the newly discovered scientific values of

the Lake and an appreciation that the time for inundation of the Lake was rapidly approaching, caused a renewed interest in the controversy, which moved into its second and most active phase early in 1971.

4.5 The Second Phase of the Controversy: 1971-1973 The second phase of the controversy gathered impetus early in 1971. In March a crowd of over one thousand people visited Lake Pedder for a major weekend demonstration and subsequently a new action organisation, the Lake Pedder Action

27

Committee, was formed in Hobart. This group set out to stage an all-out campaign to arouse public feeling in Tasmania and on the mainland, with the objective of forcing the Tasmanian Government to halt the flooding of the lake and reconsider the alternatives which could avoid its inundation. The Government and the H.E.C. were forced increasingly into making public statements about the costs associated with the scheme and the alternatives and justifying the decision to proceed with the original proposal.

In November 1971 a major symposium attended by more than 500 people was organised in the Hobart Town Hall by the joint effort of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the Lake Redder Action Committee. Several mainland speakers took part and this marked the beginning of serious mainland involvement. During the ensuing months branches of the L.P.A.C. were formed on the mainland, notably in Victoria, and other action groups became involved. At the end of November 1971 the Serpentine Dam was closed and as the rising water came closer to Lake Pedder in the early months of 1972 an all-out propaganda campaign was mounted by the conservation groups. Amongst other actions they approached the Federal Government asking for the provision of financial assistance to Tasmania to meet the additional cost of an alternative scheme and allow the lake to be saved. The Federal Minister for the Environment, Mr Howson, raised the issue at the Premiers’ Conference in February but the then Premier, Mr Bethune, made it clear that the Tasmanian Government was not interested.

A new opportunity for conservationist activity arose early in March 1972 when the lone Centre Party representative in the House of Assembly, Mr K. Lyons, who provided the balance of power for the Liberal-Centre Party coalition, resigned and forced an election.

Following a public meeting organised by the Lake Pedder Action Committee on 23 March 1972, the Tasmanian conservationists formed a political party, the United Tasmania Group, to fight the election on the Lake Pedder issue. This body set out to field candidates in four electorates in the hope of winning sufficient seats to gain the balance of power in Parliament and exert sufficient pressure to save the lake. During the election campaign propaganda activities intensified greatly and the H.E.C. became involved in an acrimonious public debate with the L.P.A.C. through the medium of expensive paid advertisements in the daily press in Tasmania and on the mainland. These exchanges culminated in the H.E.C. becoming politically involved in the election, by placing advertisements warning voters that if the conservationists’ proposals were put into effect they would result in considerably increased electricity tariffs. This so-called ‘advertisement war’ has been documented in detail by the

Australian Conservation Foundation.1 It did very little credit to the Commission, which achieved little more than to furnish its opponents with more ammunition than it had provided them in the entire history of the controversy up to that time. At the election the Liberal Party was defeated and the Labor Party took office again under Mr Reece with a healthy majority. None of the United Tasmania Group candidates gained a seat, although one came within 150 votes of doing so.

Just before the election campaign the conservation groups erected a symbolic statue on the Lake Pedder beach and commenced a vigil on the sand dunes which continued until they became submerged—a lone vigilkeeper was still occupying a small island of the remaining dune when this Committee visited the lake in April

1973. In June the Scott’s Peak Dam was closed and water began to build up towards Lake Pedder from both east and west. Although the hopes of saving the lake now seemed very dim, some conservationists still believed there was hope of arousing

1 Pedder Papers, Australian Conservation Foundation, 1972.

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public opinion to the stage where the Legislative Council or the Federal Government might intervene and a strong publicity campaign continued. In July 1972 an attempt was made to engender support in the Legislative Council for the establishment of a new Select Committee to consider matters relating to the flooding of the lake. A motion by Mr M. Hodgman that such a committee be formed

was defeated by a substantial majority. In the same month an attempt was made to halt the flooding of the lake on legal grounds. The L.P.A.C. engaged senior counsel who adduced the opinion that there was in fact a flaw in the legislation which validated the Gordon River Scheme. Armed with this opinion the L.P.A.C. sought to

initiate court action against the H.E.C., to delay or prevent the destruction of the lake. Since the L.P.A.C. did not own any land in the affected area it could not bring action directly, but required the fiat of the Attorney-General, Mr Everett, to do so. Mr Everett appeared anxious to give his approval for court action but he was strongly

opposed in this by the State Cabinet and Labor Caucus and he eventually resigned his Ministry in August. The post of Acting Attorney-General went to the Premier, Mr Reece, who denied the L.P.A.C. the right to take action against the H.E.C. and instead introduced new legislation to clear up any doubts about the legality of the

scheme. This Bill, the Hydro-Electric Commission (Doubts Removal) Act 1972, was introduced to the House of Assembly on 10 August 1972 and passed the same day. It was validated by the Legislative Council six days later.

By this stage Lake Pedder was flooded and there seemed little to be gained from continuing the campaign. Many conservationists thought otherwise, however, and in September 1972 two Lake Pedder activists, Mrs Brenda He an and Mr Max Price, set off in a Tiger Moth aircraft to cross Bass Strait and fly to Canberra where they

intended to lobby Federal Parliamentarians into making the Lake Pedder affair an issue in the coming Federal election. Tragically the plane was lost over Bass Strait and Tasmanian conservationists subsequently called for a Federal Enquiry into the accident on the suspicion of deliberate sabotage. This allegation gives some indication

of the heat the controversy engendered during 1972. Following the Federal election in November 1972 a new Labor Government was elected and the present Enquiry was eventually established early in 1973. Events since the election have been briefly chronicled in the Introduction to this report. It will be

clearly evident, from the nature of this Committee’s involvement with the Tasmanian Government and the Hydro-Electric Commission, and the events of October 19731, when the Committee’s recommendation for a moratorium on the flooding at Lake Pedder was adopted by the Federal Caucus, that the Lake Pedder controversy is by no

means ended.

1 See Section 7.

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5 MAJOR COMPONENTS OF THE LAKE PEDDER CONTROVERSY

5.1 The Complex Nature o f the Controversy Anyone attempting to analyse the Lake Pedder controversy in depth or even simply to identify and classify its significant features, faces a difficult task. This controversy, like the majority of the major environmental issues that have arisen in Australia in recent years1, is revealed on examination to be not nearly so straightforward or clear- cut as the major protagonists would have it seem. Environmental issues are never black and white: they involve a complex of inter-related technological, ecological, economic, political, sociological and emotional considerations which are often not amenable to simple classification and analysis. Furthermore, they tend to be markedly dynamic in character; the longer a controversy continues, the more the issues and the characters tend to alter and the more complex the socio-political interactions become. For this reason in particular, post-mortem analyses have their disadvantages; a critical examination of decision-making processes depends upon a level of appreciation of the context of the times and circumstances which influenced the decision makers which is not readily achieved from a hindsight position.

Conservationists of the more emotional kind tend to make free and rather inaccurate use of the words ‘ecology’ and ‘ecosystem’. Ecology is the science dealing with the interactions between living things and their environment; it is at best a complex science. An anonymous American ecologist has suggested that ‘an ecosystem is not only more complex than we think—it is more complex than we can think’. All non-urban environmental issues that have strong ecological components and revolve

around problems of interference with ecosystems. This in itself introduces a disconcerting range of complexities; but these are greatly compounded when the issue is examined in the context of the wider socio-economic system of which it is a part. A major component of the Lake Pedder controversy, therefore, is the basic fact that it is a complex controversy revolving around complex issues. This fact does not seem to have been fully appreciated or at least admitted by many of the protagonists. This is reflected, for example, in the attitudes of the Hydro-Electric Commission, which apparently saw the problem essentially as one of meeting an expected future demand for electrical energy as economically as possible; in the attitudes of the Tasmanian Government, which appears to have seen it first as a non-problem and later as an essentially political issue; and in the attitudes of many of the conservationists, who saw it first as a simple conflict between water power and wilderness and later as a classic confrontation between the conservation movement

and the ‘establishment’. There are several ways in which an analysis of the Pedder controversy could be made. One alternative would be to examine the affair in a temporal context. From this point of view the controversy needs to be considered in two distinct phases, as has been indicated in the preceding chronological account.

The first phase occurred during the early and middle 60s, and included the H.E.C.’s detailed investigations and proposals, the period of decision-making by the

1 These would include the Little Desert issue, the beach mining controversies at Cooloola, Fraser Island and the Myall Lakes, the Clutha affair, the Colong and Bungonia Gorge controversies, the Natural Gas Pipeline issue and the Black Mountain tower. Perhaps the closest parallel to the Lake Pedder issue is, however, the Lake Manapouri controversy in New Zealand.

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Tasmanian Government, and the public controversy of 1967. If this phase is examined in the context of the times, some points to justify the decisions made by the Commission and the Tasmanian Parliament are evident—the unquestioned accept­ ance of the policy of hydro-industrialisation, which appeared to have served Tasmania

well for 50 years; the apparently sincere endeavour of the H.E.C., acting strictly with­ in the terms of its Act, to plan and build power stations to a schedule sufficient to meet the anticipated growth in demand for electrical energy over the period to 1980, on the then reasonable assumption that the growth rate would continue its historical

trend; and the psychological effects of the severe drought of the 1960s, which brought hydro-electric storages to a critically low level and forced the introduction of severe power rationing. .

Those people who opposed the flooding of the lake in 1967 appear equally to have had relatively straightforward motives. The essential conflict in 1967 was not about whether the Gordon Scheme should be built, or whether Tasmania’s hydro­ industrialisation policy is desirable, but simply whether all this could be achieved

without flooding a beautiful lake and destroying a natural area which many people had come to suppose, since it had been called a National Park, would be preserved in its natural state indefinitely. The basic issue admittedly was confounded by a not unreasonable public reaction against the extreme secrecy and indeed arrogance of the

H.E.C., the high-handed actions of the Tasmanian Government in its consideration of the conservationists’ objections, and its apparently cavalier treatment of the whole South-West issue. Nevertheless, the 1967 phase of the controversy must be seen essentially as a localised, almost parochial conflict between power interests and

nature conservation interests. The second phase, which reached its climax in 1972, was on a different plane altogether. During the intervening years there had been a world-wide change in attitudes towards environmental issues and it was almost de rigeur to proclaim oneself

a conservationist and be opposed to a development project. Interest in the Pedder affair and opposition to the Middle Gordon Scheme had reached national and international proportions, and the whole issue changed from the relatively simple conflict of 1967 to a symbolic battle between the ‘goodies’ and the ‘baddies’, the

environmentally concerned versus the environmental despoilers. To many people the Lake Pedder affair assumed the proportions of a classic test-case on which the whole future of conservation in Australia depended. This attitude is well summarised in the following quotations from the foreword written by H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, in

his capacity as President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, for the A.C.F. publication Pedder Papers·.

‘There is no doubt at all that the sage of Lake Pedder will go down in Australian history.

. . . The Lake Pedder case marks the end of Australia’s pioneering days and it ushers in a new phase of conscious concern by all sections of the community for the long-term future of the natural and human environment.. . .

I very much hope that never again will Australians have cause to question so vehemently a decision on any conservation issue.’

By 1972, then, the issues had become decidedly more complex than in 1967 and the controversy had developed into a national affair. The conservationist case was greatly strengthened by the discoveries relating to the scientific values of the lake, by the fact that the demand for electrical energy in Tasmania was apparently

diminishing, and by a growing appreciation amongst Tasmanians that the future did not necessarily depend upon the building of more electro-metallurgical plants. On the other hand, many of the arguments and attitudes of conservationists were confused and inconsistent, whilst a great many of the people who took part in demonstrations

31

or signed petitions knew very little about Lake Redder and had no knowledge of Tasmania’s socio-economic problems. Conservationists who were opposed to industrial pollution and the wastage of natural resources as an article of faith found themselves advocating the development of oil-burning thermal stations to replace pollution-free, fuel-saving hydro-electric installations. The 1972 phase of the controversy was marked by a much more intense and serious level of activism, antagonism and emotionalism than the first phase, and in particular the controversy became highly political. Indeed the appointment of this Committee of Enquiry was not without major political significance, which has acted to further complicate an already complex controversy.

If the controversy is examined alternatively in what might be termed an areal context, complexities and confusions are equally apparent, some of the issues central to the controversy might be considered purely local, Tasmanian issues; the significance of the hydro-industrialisation policy, the high proportion of Tasmanian loan funds devoted to hydro-electric development, the administration of the H.E.C. or the activities of the Tasmanian Parliament might be seen to fall in this category. On the other hand, Lake Redder and the South-West might be seen as belonging to Australians, not just to Tasmanians, forming part of a national heritage whose preservation is of concern to all Australians. From another point of view, even the planning policies of the H.E.C. and the decision-making procedures of the Tasmanian Government might be seen to have national relevance if they are looked upon as case studies from which lessons might be learned for the improved functioning of similar bodies in other States, whilst the whole affair in broad perspective has obvious case-study implications from the point of view of

Governments and instrumentalities likely to be involved in the future in environmental decision-making problems of a similar kind. To facilitate the preparation and presentation of its report, the Committee has therefore elected to give attention in this chapter to those components of the controversy which appear to be particularly relevant to the areas of the concern represented by its terms of reference but have not been treated in adequate detail in the background material already presented. These comprise a technical discussion of the engineering alternatives which might have avoided the flooding of Lake Redder;

some analysis of the scheduling of the scheme in relation to likely future power demands; a discussion of the scientific values of the lake; a consideration of the National Park issues raised in the controversy; and a rdsumd of evidence concerning the recreational and aesthetic values of the lake. The remaining chapters of the report are devoted to a specific consideration of the Committee’s four terms of reference.

5.2 The Engineering Alternatives

In material published from time to time during the Lake Redder controversy, the Hydro-Electric Commission claimed to have given detailed consideration to many alternative ways of developing the power resources of the Gordon and Serpentine. Thus in the official H.E.C. document Why Lake Pedder is Being Enlarged, first released on 23 March 1972,1 it was stated:

‘During years of investigation before 1967, the H.E.C. considered many different methods of developing the power potential of the Gordon River and its tributaries. These studies showed that the most economical proposal involved the diversion of the Upper Huon and Serpentine to the Gordon River with the consequent flooding of Lake Pedder. The Commission was concerned that this scheme would result in the loss of the beach at Lake

1 The full text is reproduced in the A.C.F. publication, Pedder Papers.

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Redder, but was of the opinion that benefits resulting from the larger lake would outweigh this loss’. And in the same document:

‘However, because of the desire of the Commission to avoid unnecessary alterations to the natural environment, a considerable amount of effort was devoted to the examination of ways and means of avoiding the flooding of Lake Redder. These considerations included the pumping of the Serpentine water on the Gordon River, both with and without the

diversion of the Huon River to the Serpentine River. The Commission reached the conclusion that these alternatives would be substantially more expensive and would not result in the retention of Lake Redder in anything like its natural state’.

These statements raise two important issues discussed in Chapter 6, viz. whether the Commission was qualified or indeed should have been authorised to make value judgments about the natural environment and whether the ‘least cost’ criterion used by the Commission was appropriate in this case. This section is concerned with the

nature and scope of the alternatives examined by the Commission and the extent to which the Commission’s claim to have made a detailed investigation of these alternatives can be verified. In this respect the Committee, as already indicated, has been severely

handicapped by the Commission’s refusal to allow access to any of its internal reports or to discuss its early investigations. It has therefore been necessary to rely for information about the alternatives investigated by the Commission on the paper published by Mr McKenry,1 who appears to have been the only person outside the

staff of the Commission to have had access to its internal reports. According to McKenry, the following major alternatives were initially considered with respect to the overall development of the Middle Gordon region:

(i) Diversion of the Gordon to the Serpentine. This appears to have been the first alternative investigated. McKenry states that much useful information for the overall investigation was developed at this stage and in particular, the special advantages of the damsite at the ‘Knob’ were demonstrated. (ii) Diversion of the Serpentine to the Gordon. This was the layout finally adopted

by the H.E.C. which involved, as has been explained in section 3.3, the flooding of the Serpentine valley and the diversion of waters from the Huon and the Serpentine into the Gordon storage via the McPartlan’s Pass canal. (iii) Development via the Denison River. This involved the diversion of the waters

of the Gordon, the Serpentine and the Huon to a power station in the Denison River basin. This alternative was rejected on the ground of excessive cost. (iv) Two-stage development of the Gordon. This proposal involved two dams on the Gordon River, one at the ‘Knob’ site and one further upstream, each with a

power station. According to McKenry this alternative involved similar costs to the one finally selected—it was rejected on grounds of longer construction time and some reduction in freedom to arrange future developments on the lower Gordon. After the basic decision to divert the Serpentine and Huon waters to the Gordon had been reached, a number of alternative arrangements to avoid the flooding of Lake Pedder itself were investigated. McKenry lists six such alternatives, which are

described below. Schematic details of these alternatives are shown in Figure 7.

1 In Pedder Papers. See earlier reference.

33

(i)

G - Gordon Storage

P - Lake Redder

RH - Reduced Huon Storage

RS - Reduced Serpentine Storage

PS - Power Station

PU - Pumping Station

Figure 7: Engineering alternatives to the Gordon Scheme.

(i) Elimination of the Serpentine and Huon diversions altogether, restricting the scheme to one large storage on the Gordon River.

(ii) Elimination of the Huon diversion, restriction of the level in the Serpentine storage to below the outlet from Lake Redder, and installation of a pumping station near the Serpentine Dam to deliver water through a tunnel into the Gordon storage. (iii) The construction of a canal around Lake Redder to divert water from a reduced storage on the Huon into a reduced storage on the Serpentine, with a pumping arrangement as in alternative (ii).

(iv) A similar arrangement to (iii) except that instead of a canal to bypass Lake Redder, the water from the Huon storage would be brought by canal into Lake Redder, to flow through the lake and on down the Serpentine.

(v) A similar arrangement to (iii) but replacing the pumping station and tunnel with a separate power tunnel direct from the Serpentine storage to the Gordon power station.

(vi) A similar arrangement to (iv) with the pumping installation replaced by a separate power tunnel as in (v).

34

According to McKenry, investigation of these alternatives began in 1962. More detailed information became available during the next two or three years and in February 1965 the preparation of a detailed report analysing the various alternatives was put in hand. This report, which included cost estimates, was completed in

September 1966 and a formal decision to adopt the Huon-Serpentine diversion alternative was made on the basis of this report at a meeting of the Commission’s Power Committee in November 1966. As already noted, the Commission’s formal report to the Premier was presented on

1 May 1967, and became public when tabled in Parliament on 25 May 1967. This report was the first public statement of the Commission’s intent; it gave no indications that any possible alternatives to the preferred scheme had been considered

and this fact was not made known until late in the Select Committee’s hearings of June and July 1967. The material presented to the Select Committee by the Commission was confidential to the Committee and has never been made public. The transcript of the Commission’s evidence regarding the alternatives appears confusing

and ambiguous, and was obviously so to the members of the Select Committee. Although the Commission had apparently prepared detailed cost figures to justify its choice of alternative, the basis on which these costs have been prepared was not clear and some details are particularly vague; for example, the Commission’s witnesses did

not appear to be able to give figures for the cost of the pumps necessary for those alternatives which involved pumping from the Serpentine to the Gordon. The only public statements the Commission has ever made about the alternatives have been couched in general terms; no detailed technical or economic comparison has ever been issued. This seems strange in view of the extent to which the alternatives have been the subject of discussion during the controversy. The Commission’s

statement ‘Why Lake Pedder is Being Enlarged’, to which reference has been made, comments in general terms about the alternatives, using such phrases as ‘substantially more expensive’, and rejects most of them on aesthetic grounds. The Commission’s views are summarised in the following quotations from the statement: ,

(a) Abandon Huon and Serpentine altogether. ‘The only way of achieving the retention of Lake Pedder in its present form’ . . . ‘The capitalised economic loss resulting from this action would amount to at least $38 million’ . . . ‘would involve a very substantial increase in power charges over the next 50 years’. ‘The Serpentine and Upper Huon

catchment, representing nearly 40% of the water resource, was essential to the economic development of the Gordon scheme’. (b) Flume around Lake Pedder. ‘. . . would necessitate the construction of dams on the saddles between the Huon catchment and Lake Pedder and the excavation of a wide

level bench to carry a road and concrete flume for several miles along the foot of the Frankland Range, so creating an unsightly and ineradicable scar. The pumping arrangement on the Serpentine River would result in the storage level in the Serpentine Valley varying over a height of about 15 feet. This rise and fall would take place over the very flat portion of the Serpentine Valley downstream from Lake Pedder and

consequently large areas of unsightly flats (about 14 sq miles) would be exposed in summer months, and would be very obvious from the Gordon River Road and from hills and ranges around the valley.’

According to McKenry, the Select Committee narrowed the choice of alternatives down to two—the Commission’s preferred scheme and the alternative involving the flow of Huon water through Lake Pedder itself. The Commission witnesses maintained that this alternative would require the construction of a road to the lake

and substantial engineering works in the lake itself to protect the beach and the lake outlet from scour damage. It was apparent that this alternative had only been examined in a very provisional way and it was suggested that hydraulic model studies

35

would be necessary to determine the form and extent of the engineering works needed. Although the Committee has been denied access to the Commission’s internal reports, all the available evidence leads it to the conclusion that there was insufficient investigation of these alternatives. This conclusion is based on several grounds: these include the evidence of many witnesses who had had occasion to debate the alternatives with representatives of the Commission; the material in the transcript of the Commission’s evidence to the Select Committee enquiry; the vague and general nature of the Commission’s published comments on the alternatives, some as late as 1972 when the controversy was at its height and hard facts, had they been put forward, might have greatly strengthened the Commission’s case; and particularly, the Commission’s consistent refusal to make details of its investigations public, which seems to indicate either that the investigation was much less detailed than the Commission would have people believe or that senior officers of the Commission exhibit a level of professional arrogance that is totally out of place in a modern democratic community.

An investigation into the possible alternative ways of solving an engineering problem should involve two aspects; a consideration of the technical alternatives, and a consideration of the relative economic feasibility of these alternatives. It is usual also for such an investigation to be undertaken in two phases: an initial investigation in which all the likely alternatives are identified and examined in a comparatively superficial way, so that the most feasible alternatives can be selected for more detailed study; and a detailed analysis and comparison of the feasible alternatives with the objective of selecting that one which best meets the planning objectives.

It seems apparent, from the amount of investigation undertaken by the Commission in the Gordon region during the period 1950 to 1965, and the scope of the alternatives listed by McKenry, that the first phase was thoroughly and competently handled by the H.E.C. staff. It is equally apparent, from the nature of the Commission’s participation in the Select Committee hearings and the subsequent controversy, that the detailed analysis of alternatives which was put in hand in

February 1965 and formed the basis for the Power Committee’s decision to proceed with the Gordon Power Development Stage I in November 1966 was inadequate, not only in the extent to which the technical features of the alternatives were detailed but also in the nature of the economic analysis on which the final decision was based.

Particular criticism can be levelled at the economic basis for the decision to proceed with the chosen alternative.1 The Commission’s objective was simply to select the alternative which met the anticipated future power demand at minimum cost per kilowatt-hour of output. There is no concrete evidence of any benefit-cost analysis or any attempt to evaluate the social or opportunity costs of such consequences as the loss of the Lake Pedder National Park. This least-cost criterion, still frequently used in the analysis of water conservation and water supply projects in Australia, is outmoded and inadequate. This issue has been explored in detail by Davis in his paper, Water Power and Wilderness and in his written submission to this Enquiry.2 The following quotations from Davis are relevant:

‘Planning and decision making on water resource projects is essentially a complex discipline in that three inter-related parameters must be simultaneously considered, namely technical feasibility, economic comparison and financial arrangements. Because a hydro-electric project consists of tangible physical assets such as dams and power stations there is a tendency to think of it as founded on the most solid of economic and technical

1 This issue is discussed in greater detail in Section 6.4 of this report. 2 See earlier reference, p.

36

principles. Yet this is often far from the case. Concrete, steel and machinery must he fabricated with physical or metallurgical properties in view, but this should not subvert the realisation that the siting and presence of such assets is dictated by imputed economic factors, prognostic hydrology and assumptions about system operation characteristics extrapolated 50 years into the future. In these key areas implicit assumptions and values are dominant and determination is far from precise. For this reason any engineer, if he is honest to himself, must have some doubts about the economics of each individual project, let alone the financial intricacies of an entire hydro-electric system.

‘There are additional complications also. In hydro-electric practice one must sometimes sacrifice the most economic solution for another which provides technical or operational flexibility, for the fundamentally differing characteristics of thermal and hydro-electric power stations, plus the infinitely variable nature of storage regulation operations, are at the very heart of power system problems. But if the engineer expects the community to

make some financial sacrifice in order to achieve reliability in system operations, then equally the community may sometimes expect the engineer to sacrifice marginal technical and economic viability in favour of social and environmental factors.. . .’ '. . . Even though methodologies of water resources management and cost-benefit analysis

have greatly improved in recent years, controversy still exists on some issues and there is no automatic assurance that the recommendations of the technologists will necessarily be best for the State overall. Secondly, we must note the current tendency for engineers and economists to work in isolation on water resource economics, when what is basically needed is an inter-disciplinary approach. Thirdly, significant advances in appraisal techniques have not reached all practising engineers, many of whom persist in using

rudimentary economic analyses even for large projects involving considerable capital outlays.’ Because it believed the H.E.C.’s analysis of the possible alternative ways of avoiding the flooding of Lake Pedder to be inadequate on both technical and

economic grounds, this Committee in its Interim Report recommended a moratorium on the filling of the lake to allow time for reappraisal and more detailed investigation of these alternatives. In particular the Committee recommended four alternatives as worthy of detailed study: the proposal for lowering the Serpentine storage, bringing

the Huon flow through Lake Pedder, and pumping from the Serpentine to the Gordon; the proposal for making similar arrangements with the Serpentine but by­ passing the Huon waters around Lake Pedder via a canal and flume system; the proposal for abandoning the Huon waters and pumping from a lowered Serpentine

storage; and the proposal for abandoning the Serpentine and Huon works altogether. Whilst the Committee accepted that the first two of these alternatives posed serious technical problems and might be aesthetically unsatisfactory, as claimed by the H.E.C. it nevertheless considered that they had not been adequately investigated. The

Committee favoured most the alternative of abandoning the Huon waters and pumping from the reduced Serpentine storage into the Gordon storage, and believed that a detailed technical study and a rational and up-to-date benefit-cost analysis of this alternative could be fully warranted. The Committee’s comments on this proposal

were as follows:1 ‘The costs and benefits associated with the alternatives outlined above cannot be assessed with accuracy on the basis of the limited data available to the Committee. Uncertainties exist in a number of areas. For example, the precise nature of the engineering works

necessary to accomplish Alternatives 1 and 2 is not known,2 so that it is not possible to estimate the cost of capital works or their precise environmental or aesthetic effects. Equally, uncertainty exists as to the extent to which Lake Pedder might recover from its present inundation should the water level be lowered in the near future. Again, the

1 Interim Report o f Lake Pedder Committee o f Enquiry, June 1973, p. 39. 2 i.e. diversion of the Huon waters around and through Lake Pedder.

37

Committee is unable to obtain detailed information about the present rate of growth of power demand in Tasmania or the extent to which existing facilities are likely to be able to meet this demand should one or other of the alternatives involving a reduced energy output from the Gordon Scheme be adopted.’

The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation1 was requested by the Department of the Environment and Conservation in July 1973 to make a study of this Committee’s recommendations and report upon them. With regard to the four alternatives recommended by the Committee for further consideration the S.M.E.C. made the following comments:2

4.1 ALTERNATIVE 1 (Flow through old Lake Pedder)

Alternative 1 which involves the diversion of the Huon water through the old Lake Pedder would very substantially increase the flow through the lake. The water from the Huon Reservoir could be brought into the lake either by discharging down the existing

Serpentine River channel or by the construction of a separate water channel consisting of a canal or flume. In the arrangement where Huon water would be released down the Serpentine River, the very appreciable increased flow in the Serpentine River above the old Lake Pedder would almost certainly alter the regime of the river channel by erosion and/or deposition. A study of the effects of this could be made only after a detailed field inspection which in turn could not be undertaken until the level of the enlarged Lake Pedder were lowered. The alternative of a separate water channel which would overcome any possible problems in the river channel would require suitable structures to bring the Huon storage (which would have normal full supply level of about SL 995) to the old Lake Pedder with a maximum water level of SL960. This would involve an outlet structure with flow controls at the Huon reservoir, a canal or flume with drop structures as necessary and a structure at the old Lake Pedder. The Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry have stated in their report that this scheme is the least attractive of all the alternatives.

It is considered that the diversion of the Huon water through Lake Pedder could substantially affect the natural regime and possibly the ecology of the lake. For these reasons we agree that this scheme is the least desirable and no further consideration is given to this alternative. 4.2 ALTERNATIVE 2 (Flow around old Lake Pedder)

Alternative 2 would have separate reservoirs in the Serpentine and Huon valleys. Huon reservoir behind Scotts Peak Dam would need to be lowered from SL 1012 to about SL 1000 and auxiliary dams would need to be constructed both east and west of Mt Solitary. A spillway would need to be provided, possibly at Edgar Dam or Scotts Peak Dam. This lowering of the reservoir would probably require further clearing in order to ensure that unsightly dead trees do not project above the water level under any operating conditions.

Diversion around the old Lake Pedder would be effected by a channel about 6 miles in length which would necessarily be prominent. This channel would be in the form of either a canal or flume depending on the topography and geological conditions along its route. The construction of engineering works adjacent to old Lake Pedder would cause considerable disturbance to the natural environment in this area. An access road would be required in the vicinity of the old Lake Pedder for the construction of these works.

Serpentine Reservoir behind the Serpentine Dam would need to be lowered from SL 1012 to SL 960 (the level of the old Lake Pedder) or even slightly lower if the reservoir is not to encroach on the old Lake Pedder at times of high flood in the Serpentine. A spillway would need to be provided in the vicinity of Serpentine Dam. The construction of a spillway in this location would present some difficulties in view of the steep topography at the damsite. At the normal full supply level the lake so formed would have a surface area of about 20 square miles and a volume of about 120 square mile-feet. The lake would have a

1 Hereafter referred to as S.M.E.C. 2 Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, Engineering Review o f Interim Report o f the Lake Pedder Committee o f Enquiry June 1973 (Department of the Environment and Conservation, Canberra, August 1973).

38

maximum depth of about 35 feet at the dam and an average depth of only six feet over its full area. Although during operation the water level fluctuations would be kept to a minimum these fluctuations occur in wide valley floors and it could be expected that at

times large areas of swamps and mudflats would be exposed. As with the Huon Reservoir, felled timber and cleared areas will be exposed giving an unsightly appearance. Also other trees which have been left standing in the lower levels of the Serpentine and which would have been permanently submerged by the enlarged Lake Redder would then be exposed above the surface of the alternative lake. It would be necessary to fell this timber so that only timber permanently submerged would be left standing.

The combined Huon and Serpentine water would be pumped into Lake Gordon through a tunnel linking the storages immediately upstream from the Gordon and Serpentine dams. The average flow in the Huon and the Serpentine combined is 1425 cusecs. The actual capacity of the tunnel would need to be determined after an engineering

investigation involving an economic study of the flood flows in the Serpentine River. The higher flood peaks would pass over the spillway and would be lost for power generation. In the present scheme the surface of the Lake Gordon is so large (almost 100 square miles) that all flood peaks would be stored and so be available for power generation.

4.3 ALTERNATIVE 3 (Abandonment of Huon Catchment)

Alternative 3 involves the abandonment of the Huon Reservoir entirely and the loss of all waters from the Huon catchment for power generation. With this alternative there would be no engineering works in the vicinity of the old Lake Redder. Serpentine Reservoir would be lowered to SL 960 as for Alternative 2 and all the

comments previously stated would be applicable to this Alternative including the problem of providing a suitable spillway. The Serpentine water would be pumped into Lake Gordon through a tunnel in a similar location to that for Alternative 2. The average flow in the Serpentine is 980 cusecs and the pumping station would probably have a discharge capacity of about 1500 cusecs. There would be some loss of water involved as the flood peaks are discharged through the

Serpentine spillway. With the abandonment of the Huon Reservoir, the removal or at least breaching of Scotts Peak and Edgar Dams would be necessary, unless the Reservoir is retained for recreation purposes. This latter case would involve maintenance costs of the access road and Scotts Peak and Edgar Dams.

4.4 ALTERNATIVE 4 (Abandonment of both Huon and Serpentine)

Alternative 4 involving the abandonment of both Huon and Serpentine storages is stated by the Lake Redder Committee of Enquiry as environmentally and aesthetically the most satisfactory since it has the potential for restoring Lake Redder and the Serpentine River to their former condition and avoids any visual disfigurement by engineering works or

mudflats. In the case of abandonment of both the Huon and the Serpentine there would presumably be a need to restore the whole area to its original condition. This would mean the removal or at least breaching of the Scotts Peak, Edgar and Serpentine Dams although

the retention of the Huon Reservoir as a recreation facility might be considered. As in Alternative 3, this would involve maintenance costs of the access road, Scotts Peak Dam and Edgar Dam.

These comments have been reproduced in detail since they represent the only engineering analysis of the alternatives made by any independent engineering organisation. Furthermore, they represent the most detailed technical commentary on the alternatives yet published by any organisation.

It might be noted that the S.M.E.C. staff responsible for these comments had the advantage of personal discussions in Hobart with senior H.E.C. staff, a privilege denied the members of the Committee of Enquiry. It might also be noted that the S.M.E.C. staff made no attempt to communicate with the members of this

39

Committee, two of whom are professional engineers, during the course of their analysis of the Committee’s Interim Report. In general, the S.M.E.C. comments support the Committee’s contention that the investigation of the alternatives undertaken by the H.E.C. in 1965-66 was inadequate. They point up some aspects not mentioned by the Committee (e.g. problems relating to the extent of clearing undertaken by the H.E.C. and the possible retention of the Huon storage as a recreational lake) and emphasise that a detailed investigation of some of the alternatives would require the lowering of the present water level.

5.3 Basis for Planning: Future Power Demands The H.E.C., in common with other electricity supply authorities, plans future generating installations on the basis of forecasts of load growth determined essentially from the extrapolation of past records of power usage.

In a paper published in 1966 a representative of the H.E.C. made the following statement under the heading ‘Forecast Load Growth’:

‘Based on past experience the rate of growth of this load is expected to average 7% per annum during the next decade.’1

He also presented a table showing forecast average and peak loads over the ten year period 1966-1975 which used a system load factor varying between 72.6% and 75.2%. In the H.E.C. Report on the Gordon River Power Development Stage I and Thermal Power Station, power requirements to the year 1975 were projected as a basis for the scheduling of the construction of the scheme. These projections were based essentially on an anticipated average annual growth rate of 7%.

The Lake Pedder Action Committee in 19712 prepared a graph comparing the 1967 H.E.C. projections with actual recorded levels of power generation for the years 1965 to 1971 inclusive. This graph, which is reproduced in Figure 8, showed the actual usage of electrical energy to be substantially less than the 1967 H.E.C. prediction. The Lake Pedder Action Committee used this graph as a basis for arguing that no power would be required from the Gordon station until mid-1977 if the two

Bell Bay thermal stations were utilised. Anticipating that the Pieman Scheme would come into operation in 1980, it was further argued that the draining of Lake Pedder and the adoption of one of the pump-storage alternatives would therefore be entirely feasible, since the resulting delay in the availability of power from the Gordon Station would not be of any consequence.

The most recent official H.E.C. statement about future system demand and capacity is the 1971 Report on the Pieman River proposals.3 In the S.M.E.C. Review of the Interim Report of this Committee the following reference is made to the Pieman Report:4

‘The H.E.C. Report on the Proposed Pieman River Power Development dated 17 February 1971 gives values for the growth of total energy supplied by the system for the years 1950, 1960 and 1970. These are as follows: Year Energy Supplied by System

million kWh

1950 1043

1960 2506

1970 5166

1 T. S. Loffel, Some Aspects o f Hydro-Electric Power Development in Tasmania (H.E.C., August 1966). 2 Lake Pedder— Why a National Park Must be Saved, pp. 48-50. 3 Report on the Proposed Pieman River Power Development (H.E.C., 1971). 4 S.M.E.C. Report, p. 12.

40

POWER DEMAND and SYSTEM CAPACITY IN

Ϊ J3 E o Q co % >

E i

a i ^ g k.

11 '3 a a. § S'-s E Z £ «H "Q ^^ Ο -· "Q < υ| 3E 1Ia ·& £& ε .δThis increase in energy supplied represents an annual growth rate of 8.33% over the 20- year period immediately prior to 1970 and an annual growth rate of 7.5% during the 10- year period immediately prior to 1970. During the years 1966 and 1967 the energy supplied by the system remained at the same level due to the prolonged drought in Tasmania but rose rapidly in 1968 after the drought. The Pieman Report also states on p. 7: “. . . over a41

period of 50 years, the Commission’s load has conformed with a rate of growth which shows a doubling of demand approximately every ten years.” This would correspond to an annual growth rate of 7.2% over the 50-year period. Table 2 of that report forecasts the total system energy requirements increasing from 5 888 million kilowatt hours in 1971 to

10,029 million kilowatt hours in 1980 which represents an annual growth rate exceeding 6% and contrasts with the 1980 figure of 8 354 kilowatt hours adopted on page 42 of the Interim Report. However, the Pieman Report was issued in February 1971 before the effects of the current recession in demand were evident’.

In the Interim Report of this Committee, future demands were estimated and compared with anticipated system capacity as a basis for justifying the proposal for a moratorium on the filling of the Serpentine storage. On the basis of information available to it, this Committee assumed two possible rates of load growth for the period 1974-75 to 1980-81, 3.5% per annum and 5% per annum. For these rates of growth the calculated energy demands for the years 1976 to 1980 were calculated as follows:

Units1

Year 3.5% 5%

1976 6487 6872

1977 6714 7216

1978 6949 7577

1979 7192 7956

1980 7444 8354

The Committee commented on these figures as follows:

‘It can be seen that, with a 3.5% growth rate, the estimated demand in 1980 (7444 units) is less than the capacity of the existing sanctioned developments, excluding the Gordon scheme totally (7947 units). In other words, no power would be needed from the Gordon to meet demands until after 1980, if this rate of growth eventuated.

If the higher estimate of 5% growth should eventuate, the demand in 1979 (7956 units) will equate with the system capacity without the Gordon (7947 units). In this case the Gordon will be needed to provide power before the Pieman is available.’

The Committee then went on to examine the likely availability of power from the Gordon, both with and without the adoption of the moratorium proposals. In summary the details were as follows. If the existing scheme were to be continued, the first power from the Gordon would be available in mid-1976. This would provide an additional capacity of 444 million kilowatt hours per annum, rising to an additional 1333 million kilowatt hours per annum by say 1978 when the power station became operational. At this time the total system capacity would be 9290 million kilowatt hours per annum, well ahead of

anticipated demand. If a three-year moratorium were to be adopted, followed by the refilling of the Redder storage and resumption of the original scheme, the Gordon could still provide power (although in reduced amount) from mid-1976. The estimated output from the scheme under these conditions would be 356 million kilowatt hours a year from 1976 and 640 million kilowatts hours a year from 1977. After 1977 the total system capacity, assuming the operation of the Bell Bay stations, would be 8587 million kilowatt hours per annum, which would exceed the anticipated 1980 demand of 8354 million kilowatt hours per annum for a 5% growth rate.

If on the other hand an alternative scheme involving pumping from the Serpentine were to be adopted, after a three-year moratorium, the total system capacity without the Huon could be as high as 8900 million kilowatt hours per annum by 1978, which 1

1 Units = millions of kilowatt hours.

42

Pieman 10Ό00 Current scheme

3*year m oratorium

9 0 0 0

^ 5-year m oratorium

HJ-p.high e s tim a te

8 000

Bell Bay 2

HEC low e s tim a te

7 0 0 0

6 000

79-80

ENERGY DEMAND AND SYSTEM CAPACITY

Figure 9: Projections o f energy demand and system capacity— Lake Pedder Committee o f Enquiry, June 1973.

again would exceed the anticipated 1980 demand of 8354 million kilowatt hours per annum by a considerable margin. The above estimates are summarised in Figure 9, taken from the Committee’s Interim Report. On the basis of the figures given the Committee concluded:

‘In summary, this Committee considers that adoption of the five-year moratorium proposal would be unlikely to prejudice the ability of the H.E.C. to meet expected power demands. Reduction of the moratorium period to three years would provide even greater

assurance.’

The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, in its review of the Committee’s Interim Report, expressed some disagreement with the Committee’s assumptions. The following extracts from the S.M.E.C.1 report are relevant to the issue.

‘The H.E.C. has to consider on the one hand that it has sufficient reserve of power to assure both existing and prospective consumers of large blocks of energy that a continuous supply can be maintained and on the other hand it must avoid large amounts of spare capacity in order to keep its charges low enough to encourage new industry.

Under these conditions there is considerable difficulty in forecasting the future energy requirement and system capacity. Under-estimating may lead to a condition where only limited energy is available and there is a considerable risk that large industrial firms might be discouraged from establishing industrial plants in Tasmania; the period for power

station construction is usually much greater than that for industrial installations. Nevertheless, over-estimating would lead to uneconomic costs of power production. In the past few years Tasmania, along with most other electricity supply authorities in Australia, experienced a reduced rate of increase of system load growth. The Lake Pedder 1

1 S.M.E.C. Report, p. 13.

43

Committee Report deduced that because of this “the indications are that, for the short­ term at least, Tasmania has an unexpected surplus of generating capacity.” Two factors have especially contributed to this slowing down in Tasmania:

• the reluctance of business enterprises (especially in heavy engineering) to expand during a period of steeply rising costs. • world market influences which resulted in “a significant reduction in the demand for power for the production of aluminium at Bell Bay”, as reported in the H.E.C. Annual

Report for 1971-72 (page 3). The 1971-72 energy sales increased by 5.9% over the preceding year but the growth of energy sales fell to 2.1% in 1972-73. However, it would certainly be unwise to assume that in the immediately following 5 to 6 years before any new plant could be installed, or before the 3-year moratorium and Serpentine pumps had been installed, energy demand growth will remain at the depressed level of 1972-73. A very important factor in the future growth of Tasmania is that over 70% of H.E.C.’s energy is sold to industrial users. Expansion of this sector will depend heavily on the ability of H.E.C. to offer attractive tariffs in competition with interstate and overseas bulk power utilities, since many heavy power consuming industries locate their plants primarily on power economics rather than local materials. Hence any less economic power development by H.E.C. must seriously prejudice Tasmania’s chances of attracting industry to the State. The rate of load growth recently adopted by the H.E.C. for forecasting energy requirement is 5.0%. However, H.E.C. advises that estimates of future power demands are reviewed at least annually in the light of current information and are subject to amendment after such reviews. Recent negotiations by H.E.C. suggest that the actual growth demand will be greater than 5%. Having regard to all the factors mentioned the energy requirement growth rate of 3.5% used as an alternative by the Committee is considered to be unrealistic. Further, the above factors indicate that an annual energy growth rate even higher than 5% should also be given consideration. Consequently our evaluation of costs in this report includes consideration of 6% annual rate of energy load growth as well as the 3.5% and 5% used by the Committee.’

On the basis of these growth rates and up-to-date information about the scheduling of future power operations provided to it by the H.E.C., the Snowy Mountains Corporation made an analysis of future power availability both with and without Lake Redder up to the end of 1984. The results of this analysis are summarised in two graphs prepared by S.M.E.C. which are reproduced as Figures 10

and 11. On the basis of this analysis the S.M.E.C. concluded (p. 18):

‘the system without Lake Redder and without a third thermal unit would not meet the forecast energy demand in 1979-84 even if the growth rate is only 5% per annum. if an alternative scheme involving pumping (Alternatives 1, 2 and 3) were adopted after a 3-year moratorium the additional water/energy would not be available until 1982 and

consequently the supply would not meet demand in 1979,1981 and possibly 1984’. These conclusions are not immediately obvious from Figures 10 and 11. The S.M.E.C. argued that a pumping scheme from the Serpentine to the Gordon would not be in service until 5 years after the end of a moratorium, as against the 2 years assumed by the Committee. It also argued that it would take 5 years to

commission a thermal station similar to Bell Bay, as against the 3lA years suggested by the Committee. On the basis of these assumptions the S.M.E.C./H.E.C. figures reproduced in Figures 10 and 11 indicate that if the growth rate is 6% per annum, then even with the Pedder storage and the commissioning of a 120-megawatt third thermal station in 1981, the system capacity will be exceeded several times between

1974 and 1984. They also indicate that without the Lake Pedder storage it will be necessary to commission a third thermal station at the end of 1978 if the system capacity is to be adequate for a5% per annum growth rate.

44

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These differing points of view serve to emphasise the difficulties and uncertainties inherent in the planning of a hydro-electric system and illustrate the point, made at the beginning of this chapter, that the Pedder controversy is one of considerable complexity.

For example, the S.M.E.C. opinion that it would take five years to commission a station similar to Bell Bay must be contrasted against the fact that the Pieman report states that the Bell Bay station was operable in March 1971, just over three and a half years from the date that its construction was approved by Parliament (August 1967).

45

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Again, the Committee’s assumption of a lower limit growth rate of 3.5% is said to be ‘unrealistic’. It seems desirable therefore to reveal the source of this figure. In a letter to the Chairman of the Committee delivered by hand in Hobart during the Committee’s April hearings, the Commissioner of the H.E.C., in reply to a request for

information about future growth rates, made the following statements: ‘Your questions on future system demand and future system capacity do not appear to fall within the scope of the enquiry. Nevertheless, the following general comments are offered

46

on the basis that the information remains confidential to the members of your committee and is not published. Since the commencement of operation of the power system in Tasmania in 1916 the demand for power has grown at an average rate of 7.7% per annum. However, in view of the recent widespread slackening in the rate of growth of demand for power the

Commission had adopted a conservative attitude in planning its future construction program. No single forecast of load growth has been used for this purpose but a range of forecasts having equivalent overall rates of growth varying from about 3.5% to 5% per annum have been examined.’

The figures of 3.5% and 5% used in the Interim Report were based on this information. Because of the Commissioner’s request for confidentiality the source of the lower figure was not revealed; the H.E.C. had already given the tipper figure to the Lake Pedder Action Committee. This Committee regrets that the S.M.E.C.’s

assertion of unreality, arrived at after three weeks of consultation with H.E.C. staff, makes it necessary now to reveal the origin of the 3.5% figure. With regard to the upper figure of 6% suggested by the S.M.E.C., it seems incon­ ceivable to the Committee that so conservative a body as the H.E.C. would schedule

its power developments over the next twelve years in such a way as to allow for an almost continuous shortfall of system capacity: the information presented in Figure 10 would therefore appear to this Committee to be a very strong indication that the H.E.C. itself anticipates a growth rate between 1973 and 1984 of substantially less than 6%.

To conclude this general examination of the question of future power demand, it is pertinent to question the basic assumption made by both H.E.C. and S.M.E.C. that Tasmania must continue to provide adequate reserves of cheap bulk power in order to attract major bulk industrial consumers. On the one hand, there continues to be considerable uncertainty about the duration of the present recession in industrial development, particularly where this involves the processing of mineral products. On the other hand Tasmanian hydro-energy is losing its cost advantage over mainland

thermal energy and Tasmania’s future ability to attract industry solely on the basis of cheap bulk power is uncertain. Finally, the whole basis of Tasmania’s hydro­ industrialisation policy is being increasingly questioned and more and more Tasmanians are arguing that the State should in future work to a planned rate of

energy demand growth and concentrate on the encouragement of tourism and labour­ intensive light industry. On the one hand it is clear that an exponential growth in power demand cannot continue indefinitely; on the other hand it is conceivable that a spread of the North American ‘energy crisis’ could lead eventually to a stage where

Tasmania’s hydro-energy resources become increasingly important to Australia as a whole. The only certainty is that the future is clouded with uncertainty. This Committee however reaffirms its view that the adoption of its moratorium proposal is unlikely to prejudice the ability of the H.E.C. to meet power demands between 1973

and 1980.

5.4 The Scientific Value of Lake Pedder It has already been noted that in the period 1968-70 it became evident that Lake Pedder had considerable scientific value. A number of witnesses, in proposing the restoration of the lake, drew the attention of the Committee to this value. The present

section summarises the evidence of these witnesses. It should also be noted that many witnesses emphasised that the scientific value had not been apparent when the Middle Gordon Scheme had first been planned. They also emphasised that recognition of the value had resulted largely from the

efforts of various experts who had either visited the lake during the course of their

47

own independent investigations, or, in the case of some Australian and all overseas experts, had investigated material sent them for examination. Witnesses noted the need for time, exacting description and rigorous procedure in any biological investigation. Dr Lake of the Zoology Department of the University of Tasmania, in particular, compared the way in which the value of Lake Pedder as a source of hydro­ electric power had been arrived at with the way in which its scientific value had been recognised (from Dr Lake’s submission):

‘The collections and investigations which did reveal valuable (scientific) data were carried out unofficially by interested individuals (predominantly biologists). These people did so often in their own time and at their own expense. Thus the realisation of the biological value of Lake Pedder was arrived at by unofficial, non-governmental, voluntary means, as

opposed to the investigations of the hydro-electric value of the area which were arrived at by official, governmental, well-supported means.’

Basically, the value of the lake related to two scientific disciplines, geomorphology and biology. Most witnesses referred to the latter. Mr B. C. Jones of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology was the only witness who spoke at any length on the scientific value of Lake Pedder in a geomorphological sense. The following extracts from a letter written by him to the chairman of the Committee after giving oral evidence adequately summarise the case presented by Mr Jones.1

‘The fundamental physiographic importance of Lake Pedder, as pointed out at the Enquiry hearings, lies in its origin as a glacial outwash apron impoundment. As such, of course, the lake is not only a spectacular example of international rank, but is the only one of its kind in Australia. Whilst the overall lineation of the Serpentine valley is undoubtedly fossil and can be ascribed to preglacial differential erosion in rocks of contrasting

lithology, the modern, detailed drainage pattern has been developed by proglacial and almost certainly periglacial or nivational mass movement processes. From the foregoing considerations (omitted in detail here), not only is the complex and

polycyclic glacial detritus and proglacial outwash above 935 feet in the Serpentine valley of scientific interest and of direct importance to the evolution of Lake Pedder: vertical sections through the periglacial sequence above and below the lake are, I believe, vital in constructing a chronology of the Pleistocene. It is extremely unlikely that this opportunity exists in the glacially modified landscape of the Arthur Range, for example, because of the lower elevation, greater catchment and higher discharge of the Huon River, reflected in a different relationship between stream gradient and the slopes of the interfluves below the Scotts Peak dam.’

The biological value of Lake Pedder, as presented to the Committee, may be said to have had three major aspects. Firstly, as the probable remnant of a much larger former lake, it contained a large number of endemic species of plants and animals, that is species not known elsewhere, many of which were of significant biological interest and potential importance to man. Other species were present which whilst not endemic were also of biological interest and importance. Secondly, as the lake had not been subject to human impact to any significant degree it provided a valuable reference point relative to which scientists could assess and evaluate changes in other lakes subject to human influence. And thirdly, as a lake with somewhat extreme conditions for aquatic life it existed as a simple and discrete ecosystem; as such it was of high value to ecologists. These aspects are discussed below in further detail.

a. The presence o f species o f significant scientific interest and importance Drs Bayly, Lake, Swain and Tyler have documented those species which are either

1 Letter to Prof. Burton dated 11 May 1973.

48

endemic to Lake Pedder or are rare and for which Lake Redder provides an important habitat. This documentation (complete to 1972) was published by the Australian Conservation Foundation in the Pedder Papers as appendixes to a paper entitled II. Lake Pedder: its importance to biological science. It is reproduced fully below

(scientific papers referred to in the documentation are listed in Appendix IV of this Report).

APPENDIX 1—Species known only from Lake Pedder A Plants 1. Two new species belonging to the genus Centrolepis (family Centrolepidaceae). Description being prepared by Dr W. M. Curtis, Tasmania. 2. A new species belonging to the genus Milligania (family Liliaceae). Description by Dr

Curtis. 3. A new species of Triglochin (family Juncaginaceae). Description by Dr Curtis. B Animals 1. Two sand-dwelling aquatic worms Telmatodrilus multiprostratus and T. pectinatus

(Annelida: Oligochaeta). Described by Brinkhurst (1971). 2. Two sand-dwelling species belonging to the ancient and mainly southern hemisphere isopod crustacean group Phreatoicidea. Descriptions being prepared by Mr. B. Knott, Zoology Department, University of Tasmania.

3. A new species of isopod crustacean belonging to the group Asellota. To be described by Dr. W. D. Williams, Zoology Department, Monash University. 4. The crayfish Parastacoides pulcher (Crustacea: Parastacidae). Described by Riek (1967).

5. Three new species of caddis-fly (Insecta: Trichoptera)—one from each of the families Plectotarsidae, Limnophilidae and Rhyacophilidae. Descriptions being prepared by Mr A. Neboiss, National Museum of Victoria. 6. A new species of corixid (Insecta: Hemiptera) belonging to the genus Diaprepocroris.

Description being prepared by Miss J. Knowles, CSIRO Long Pocket Laboratories, Brisbane. 7. A new species of notonectid (Insecta: Hemiptera), belonging to the genus Anisops. Description being prepared by Dr. I. Lansbury, Hope Department of Entomology,

Oxford University Museum. 8. A new species and almost certainly a new genus of gastropod snail belonging to the family Planorbidae (Mollusca). Description being prepared by Dr B. J. Smith, National Museum of Victoria.

9. The fish Galaxias pedderensis. Described by Frankenberg (1968). APPENDIX 2—Rare species for which the Lake Pedder area provides the most important, or one o f the most important, of habitats 1. Calamoecia expansa (Copepod: Calanoida), a minute crustacean which numerically

dominates the animal plankton in Lake Pedder. The only other large population known occurs in Wartook Reservoir, Victoria. 2. Allanaspides helonomus (Crustacea: Syncarida) a very primitive and ancient crustacean described by Swain, Wilson, Hickman and Ong (1970). Otherwise known from two

localities near the McPartlan Pass—ca. 146° 12' S., 42° 52' E. 3. Galaxias parvus, a fish described by Frankenberg (1968). Specimens have also been collected from Mosquito Creek near Mt Bowes, Sandfly Creek near Mt Anne and pools near Strathgordon.’

This tabulation was further added to by Dr Bayly in his personal submission to the Committee in April 1972. He brought the Committee’s attention to a further new species of oligochaete worm, namely Perionychella (Vesiculodrilus) pedderensis, described by Dr. B. G. M. Jamieson of the University of Queensland and endemic to

Lake Pedder, and a new species of triclad worm to be described by Dr I. R. Ball of the Department of Entomology and Invertebrate Zoology, Royal Ontario Museum.

49

Concerning the latter, Dr Bayly tabled a letter from Dr Ball (dated 5 March 1973), part of which read as follows:

‘You will appreciate that the confirmation of all this will require a great deal of careful consideration. But I did want to convey to you that Lake Redder will become the type locality of a new species which is of inestimable value in elucidating the relationships of the Australian triclad fauna. A fauna, incidentally, which is both bizarre and most exciting, even though very difficult to work.’

Various matters arising from the diversity of endemic or rare species were put or explained to the Committee by one or more witnesses. Firstly, it was stated that many species in this category were of intrinsic interest to biologists in elucidating biological relationships (e.g. the new planorbid snail species, the new species of triclad worm), in physiological investigations (e.g. Allanaspides), which possesses an organ, the fenestra dorsalis, that is apparently unique within the Crustacea), and in ecological studies (e.g. the sand-dwelling phreatoicid isopods). Several witnesses emphasised the biogeographical and biological importance (and lack of knowledge) of the south-western Tasmanian biota as a whole, an importance outlined in the most recent issue of the Tasmanian Year Book in the following terms (noted in submission of Mr Jock Barclay):

‘It is apparent that we still know relatively little of the fauna of south-western Tasmania. Much of what we do know has only been discovered in the last few years. The taxonomy of many groups is still very incomplete and we know virtually nothing of their breeding habits, or of how animals such as Allanaspides and Parastacoides manage to survive in buttongrass waters which not only fluctuate markedly but also possess extremely low ion concentrates and high acidity. Similarly we are ignorant of population densities, geographical distribution and other aspects of the region’s ecology. South-western

Tasmania is not just Australia’s finest wilderness area, it is undoubtedly a rich source of biological material of world as well as local interest’.

Secondly, it was stressed to the Committee that the number of new species recently discovered in Lake Redder was definitely not a reflection of the intensity of scientific investigation of that lake by biologists merely interested in presenting a case for restoring the lake; the number of new species was a phenomenon unparalleled elsewhere in an Australian lake and peculiar to Lake Redder alone. Thus, Dr Bayly, in his written submissions, noted that Lake Purrumbete in Victoria, a lake that had recently been investigated intensively for four years by Dr B. V. Timms of Avondale

College, New South Wales, contains some ninety-odd species of animals, yet only one of these so far is known to be restricted to Lake Purrumbete. Dr Bayly also noted that although there are many other lakes in south-western Tasmania, and although many are still relatively unexplored in a scientific sense, it is unlikely that those species presently restricted to Lake Redder will be found in them. His reasons (extracted here from part of his written submission) were as follows:

‘Some people have pointed out, with full justification, that in general terms the biology of south-western Tasmania, like that of many other parts of Australia, is incompletely known. They also rightly indicate that although the biological exploration of Lake Redder is anything but complete it has nevertheless been somewhat more intensive than that of some other lakes in south-western Tasmania. However, there is no justification for concluding from these two truisms that most if not all of the species presently regarded as endemic to Redder will eventually be found elsewhere in the South-West. To do so implies

an inability to turn one’s attention away from certain generalisations concerning the distribution within it of a certain quite specific habitat, lacustrine sand. While many uncertainties still exist with regard to the South-West we do know that there is no other sizeable lake with a sandy beach; all other lakes in the region are much smaller than Lake Redder. None of these is known to have a well-developed sandy beach and is therefore most

50

unlikely to support a full complement of the distinctive Pedder species. The discrete nature of these lakes stands in marked constract to the terrestrial continuum surrounding them. As a consequence there may well be more uncertainty concerning the distribution of certain terrestrial habitats in the South-West than there is regarding its lakes. In this

respect it should be noted that many of the smaller lakes and tarns in this region have been photographed from the air and preliminary limnological surveys of several have been made, using a helicopter to gain access. As a result, a significant amount is known about the general nature of the lakes in this region.

When species have an obligate relationship with a special type of habitat and only one of that sort is definitely known within a circumscribed area such as the South-West, it would seem reasonable that indications of endemism should be taken seriously. This is especially so in a conservation issue in which the loss or gross alteration of such a unique habitat is

threatened. To argue in such a case that apparent endemics will eventually turn up elsewhere may be regarded as somewhat of a mixture of wishful and irresponsible thinking.’

Thirdly, a number of witnesses indicated the importance to man of preserving biotic diversity, of retaining the maximal degree of biological variety in the natural world. On that point, Prof. W. D. Jackson, speaking mainly about plants, noted the importance to modern agricultural methods of preserving wild plant varieties, and of

the importance of these in what Prof. Burton of this Committee referred to in the public hearings as ‘plant engineering’. Dr Bayly spoke along the same lines and drew the Committee’s attention to the work of Sir Otto Frankel, formerly of the Division of Plant Industry, CSIRO, Canberra. Part of Dr Bayly’s transcript evidence will indicate the importance that Frankel regards the preservation of species as having:

‘Sir Otto Frankel notes . . . that certain plant breeding practices tend to narrow the genetic base, and these practices include selection for uniformity, and a tendency to restrict the gene pool from which parental material has been drawn, and this tendency has been intensified in recent years as a result of the widespread introduction of cultural measures which have done much to minimise environmental differences over wide areas. Now

Frankel further notes, and I quote: “The extinction of the natural sources of adaptation and productivity represented by primitive varieties may turn out to be an irreparable loss to future generations. The destruction of wild populations such as forest tree species and range plants which are valuable genetic resources for plant improvement also, would be an

equal disaster.” And in the Sir William McLeay Memorial Lecture in 1970 this was entitled Variation—The Essence of Life, Sir Otto Frankel stated, and I quote: “Throughout the biosphere we are faced with a mounting loss of variation. This threatens the quality of

human life and the continued existence of other living beings. I shall argue that variation needs defending if life as we know it is to survive.” ’

Dr Bayly later went on to explain in his own and more general terms the reasons for preserving species. Part of the transcript evidence reads as follows:

Prof Burton: . . . Would you like to comment a little more on what is the real scientific value of the 18 or 19 endemic species in Lake Pedder itself?’ Dr Bayly: ‘Well, can I answer that question by firstly answering a slightly different

question? Can I answer the question, what is the use or value to man of any species apparently of no use to him? I think you can answer this sort of question in two ways, firstly, by considering the direct importance, the immediate applied value of species to man, and secondly, the indirect through an ecosystem of which man is part. Now I would

make the point that it is impossible to predict which species may be of future value to man. I daresay that if in 1900 someone had said, “Look, see this little insect called Cactoblastus cactorum, this might save the Australian primary industries from ruination”, then that person probably would have been certified and taken out of public circulation, but in fact this is what happened; it did. That is true, and I feel that we have got a moral, we, the

living, have got a moral obligation to see that there are widespread stocks and widespread

51

diversities so that future generations can meet contingencies which we do not at present envisage. I think that is one sort of answer that can be given to that question. That is a rather restricted one. Another point is, of course, that we do not (yet) precisely know the role of a lot of species in an ecosystem, and I would think that it would be wise or prudent not to hasten the extinction rate when we occupy a dependent position in the ecosystem,

and of course both of these sorts of answers I have given omit the more academic ones, that is the value of the species in elucidating phylogenetic relationships and this sort of thing.’

b. Lake Pedder as a reference point fo r scientific study Several witnesses drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that Lake Pedder was one of some 600 lakes throughout the world listed in Project Aqua: A Source Book o f Inland Waters Proposed fo r Conservation. This listing, provisionally published in 1969 and definitely so in 1971, was sponsored by the International

Biological Program, the Societas Internationalis Limnologiae, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Partial financial support for it was provided by UNESCO (United Nations). Its compilers were Prof. Hans Luther (Helsinki) and Dr Julian Rzoska (London). The primary aims of this listing are stated in the Introduction as follows (brought to our attention by Dr Bayly):

‘This list is the first stage towards the comprehensive registration of those aquatic sites throughout the world which, in the interests of science and of posterity, should be given some kind of conservation status, comparable with national parks, nature reserves or equivalent areas of land. This would not prevent the natural resources of lakes and rivers being used in a rational way, including their use for recreation. The ultimate aim is international recognition of an agreed list and national action in conservation. With this in mind, at the final assembly of the XIV Congress of the Societas Internationalis Limnologiae (SIL) in Salzburg, Austria, 2 September 1959, the following recommendation was proposed by Dr E. B. Worthington and unanimously accepted:

“SIL should prepare a list of lakes and rivers whose preservation and protection is particularly desirable and ask the United Nations Organisation to recognise them.” Purpose of the List Project Aqua intends ultimately to get international recognition for a list of freshwater and brackish water areas which are of agreed international importance for research, education or training, and where therefore the countries should accept national responsibility for conservation.’

The aims of Project Aqua were not confined to conservation only, as is also indicated in the Introduction:

‘The book has uses and implications other than only conservation. The inclusion of selected bibliographies about many sites makes it a useful source book of limnological information. Furthermore, it is clear that some of the lakes, so far little touched by human interference, could be “Baseline” sites for monitoring the changes of the environment, now accelerated by human influence.’

Information in the listing was apparently obtained from two principal sources (p. xi): through the opinions of well-known limnologists, and the judgment of national authorities. In the case of Lake Pedder, information was forwarded and accepted from Dr P. A. Tyler, Department of Botany, University of Tasmania; and the Australian national subcommittee for the International Biological Program which comprised Dr A. H. Weatherley (Australian National University), Dr P. A. Tyler (University of Tasmania), Mr J. S. Lake (Northern Territory Administration) and Dr W. D. Williams (Monash University) (Chairman). The national committee, it should be noted, played no part in the selection of Tasmanian sites.

Dr Tyler did not provide evidence before this Committee as he was overseas at the time it sat, but Dr Bayly spoke briefly on this aspect. He did so with regard to National Parks as reference areas (transcript evidence):

52

‘Now it is widely acknowledged amongst ecologists that one of the important functions of National Parks is to act as reference areas, against which changes elsewhere can be measured. I think it is fairly clear to everyone that man is producing ecological change over most of the surface of the earth, but unless we are left with some reference areas then it is very difficult, if not impossible, to see the precise nature of these changes and also the rate

at which these changes are proceeding. Now Project Aqua, this was part of the International Biological Program, was an international endeavour to conserve bodies of inland water which, to date, have suffered little human interference and are of outstanding scientific importance . . . Lake Pedder was clearly one such lake, and it was listed on page 218 of that book, where it was noted that it lay in a National Park.’

c. Lake Pedder as an ecosystem '

Several biologists, either in written submissions or verbal evidence, commented on Lake Pedder as a unique or interesting ecosystem. Prior to the formation of this Committee, this had been noted by Drs Bayly, Lake, Swain and Tyler in their paper in Pedder Papers in the following terms:

‘The productivity of the ecosystem of Lake Pedder is undoubtedly low. However, this low productivity is not associated with an instability of the ecological interrelationships. This characteristic of stability in the ecosystem of Lake Pedder, based on a limited number of interrelationships gives it marked scientific interest. Such a simple, stable ecosystem, thoroughly investigated could provide a very useful insight into freshwater productivity in

general.’

Drs Swain and Lake in written submissions to this Committee went rather further than that statement and suggested the Pedder ecosystem could be unique. Thus, Dr Swain noted that:

‘Lake Pedder represented what was almost certainly a unique ecosystem and contained a number of potentially very interesting ecological problems.’

And Dr Lake noted:

‘From a biological viewpoint, the tragedy of flooding Lake Pedder lies in the fact that Lake Pedder and its immediate environs, prior to the flooding, was an unusual ecosystem, possibly a unique one.’ '

Dr Bayly, in verbal evidence, spoke of the simplicity of the Lake Pedder ecosystem (transcript evidence):

Prof. Burton: ‘. . . What about Lake Pedder as an ecosystem, as a base or reference ecosystem? Did it have any special value would you think?’ Dr Bayly: ‘Yes, I think so. There are a very limited number of interrelationships so far as we can discover. It was a relatively simple ecosystem, and I think simple ecosystems are

sought after by ecologists. Some might seek after a highly saline lake because there is low diversity. Pedder is a pretty extreme sort of environment with a pH of the order of five, perhaps going up to six, and I would think that studies of ecosystems of this sort could contribute to a general knowledge of ecosystems, which we do not have at the minute.’

One particular part of the Lake Pedder ecosystem that was claimed as being of particular scientific interest was the community inhabiting the sand of the quartzite beach. Dr Bayly commented on this community as follows (in written submission):

‘All available evidence points to it (Lake Pedder) having the best developed psammon community (community living in interstices of sand) of any Australian lake, and moreover this community is dominated by a group of animals which have not been recorded from the sandy shores of freshwater lakes anywhere else in the world. I have recently completed the enumeration of some quantitative samples from the Pedder sands with the following results: Phreatoicidea 500/m2 (61%), Tubificidae 233/m2 (28%), Nematoda 84/m2 (10%)

and other forms 10/m2 (1%).’

53

5.5 Official Biological Investigations in the Lake Pedder Area The evidence summarised in the preceding section is clearly at variance with the H.E.C.’s official view, put forward in 1967, that Lake Pedder and the Serpentine Valley had no special biological significance. Part of the H.E.C. Report referring to this matter has already been quoted. It said in p art:1

‘It would appear that the inundations involved in the proposals would not be likely to cause the loss of any species of creature or plant not found elsewhere.’

During the course of the Enquiry this Committee took pains to explore the question of official biological investigations in detail. The following material summarises the Committee’s findings. Prior to 1967 no official biological investigations of the Lake Pedder area appear to have taken place. In that year, however, a group of staff from the Tasmanian

Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, visited the area for the purpose of a biological investigation. This visit was sponsored by the H.E.C. and resulted from an invitation by the Chairman of the H.E.C., Sir Allan Knight, to the two Museum directors. The following passage indicates the way in which the visit was initiated.2

‘Arising from an invitation by Sir Allan, Dr Bryden and I visited him and were informed in confidence o f the Gordon River Scheme. We were invited to survey and collect in the area and offered support from the H.E.C. Subsequently, we visited the area together and agreed in general terms on the basis from which staff would work. As the Tasmanian Museum had the greater resources, was closer to the area, had better connections to the H.E.C. and as Dr Bryden personally was well acquainted with Sir Allan, we agreed to place the project under his direction.’

The visit by the staff of the Museums took place between 6 and 24 Februafy 1967. Personnel involved were: Mr A. J. Dartnall—invertebrate zoologist Mr P. Andrews—vertebrate zoologist

Dr W. Bryden (present two days) Mr J. Swift Mr E. Vogelpoel ) [ (from 18 February) Mr W. F. Ellis ) Mr Thwaites

Tasmanian Museum

Queen Victoria Museum

Scenery Preservation Board

No botanist or freshwater ecologist was a member of the party. The report of the investigation comprised ten typed pages. The conclusions (p. 6) were as follows:

‘In summing up it appears likely that the area is comparatively poor in both numbers and species o f animals. This would seem to be indicated also by the highly acidic and uniformly low quality of the soils and vegetation. The uniformity of much o f the button grass plains acts as an ecological barrier to the spread of many species— for exam ple no introduced species of m ammals such as the rabbit were found in the area. For this same reason plus the lack of agricultural and pastoral usage o f the land, the area probably acts as a stronghold for many native species o f mammals and birds which are rare or in declining numbers elsewhere.

1 H.E.C., Report on Gordon River Power Development Stage 1 and Thermal Power Station, May 1967. 2 From a letter by Mr W. F. Ellis, Director of the Museum in Launceston, to Mr D. R. Gregg, Director of the Museum in Hobart, and dated 27 March 1972.

54

As much of the land is unsuitable for any type of economic usage it would be desirable if the areas adjacent to the flooded area and including the islands formed by the proposed lake could be left as primitive areas to serve as continuing strongholds for the fauna and

flora of the region.’

And, with regard to Lake Pedder (last page):

‘This preliminary work shows the need for a more intensive survey of Lake Pedder itself.’

Official reference to the Museums’ report was first made in the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Development of the South-West of Tasmania dated 5 April 1967. The reference was as follows:

‘Your Committee has been advised that the Hydro-Electric Commission has arranged for a report on the flora and fauna of the South-West to be prepared by the Director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Director of the Queen Victoria Museum in

Launceston. Scientific members of the Museum staffs spent some time in the area in the early part of this year, and it is understood that the report is now in course of preparation. Information at present available indicates that this report and any recommendations that its authors may put forward would not significantly affect the conclusions reached by your

Committee as set forth herein. The report of the Museum Directors will be submitted to the Hydro-electric Commission, which body will no doubt refer to it in due course at the appropriate time.’

The Museums’ Report was next officially referred to in the H.E.C. Report to the Premier on the Gordon River proposal dated 1 May 1967. The reference it makes to the Museums’ Report is the most complete one published1 (the Museums’ Report has not been published in entirety).

Abstracts have already been quoted in Section 4.3 of this Report. The portion relating to the Museums’ investigation is here given in full:

‘A striking feature of the area which embraces the Gordon River Power Development is the scarcity of any visible wild life. Very few birds are to be seen, and the probable reason is the severity of the climate coupled with the lack of suitable food. Wallaby, wombat, native cat

and the Tasmanian devil have been seen, but the indications are that their numbers are relatively few. It is understood that a species of ground parrot inhabits the button grass, but it is believed not to be unique to this area. It would appear that the inundations involved in the proposals would not be likely to cause the loss of any species of creature or

plant not to be found elsewhere. The Commission invited Dr W. Bryden, Director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and Mr W. F. Ellis, Director of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, to arrange for a biological survey to be carried out in the area and to report their findings.

Members of the scientific staffs of the two museums visited the area during February 1967 and spent about two and a half weeks collecting specimens and recording their observations on the wild life and natural features. The report on the survey contains lists of

the fauna which were taken or observed during the course of the investigation and comments on the physical characteristics of the area. The report points out that in the relatively short time available, detailed studies were not possible and the lists of fauna observed are probably incomplete. It is stated that so far as the fauna is concerned, it would be premature to attempt to assess with any accuracy the effect of the proposed

inundations. The report recommends that further studies should be undertaken in succeeding years and in different seasons, and if such further investigations should be undertaken by the two museums, the Commission desires to place on record its willingness to assist. The following are quotations from the conclusion in the report on the biological

survey:

1 According to correspondence between Mr W. F. Ellis, Director of the Museum in Launceston, and Mr D. R. Gregg, Director of the Museum in Hobart (dated 27 March 1972) and made available to this Committee, the Museum in Launceston played no part in the formation of the Museums’ Report.

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“In summing up it appears likely that the area is comparatively poor in both numbers and species of animals. This would seem to be indicated also by the highly acidic and uniformly low quality of the soils and vegetation. The uniformity of much of the button grass plains acts as an ecological barrier to the spread of many species—for example no introduced species of mammals such as the rabbit were found in the area. For this same reason plus the lack of agricultural and pastoral usage of the land, the area probably

acts as a stronghold for many native species of mammals and birds which are rare or in declining numbers elsewhere. As much of the land is unsuitable for any type of economic usage it would be desirable if the areas adjacent to the flooded area and including the islands formed by the proposed lake could be left as primitive areas to serve as continuing strongholds for the fauna and flora of the region.’’ From the findings of the survey, the Commission gathers that there would be no significant loss or destruction of rare species of flora and fauna as a consequence of the proposed inundations. The Commission has no objections to the suggestion that areas adjoining the lake and also the islands should serve as strongholds for the flora and fauna, and commends this proposal to the appropriate authority.’

A third official reference to the Museums’ Report that should be noted is that in the Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council that was appointed to enquire into the Gordon River and Thermal Power Development and related matters. The report, which was tabled in Parliament in August 1967, stated that:

‘The Committee also received expert evidence from numerous bodies including a report on the biological survey of the Lake Redder area prepared by Dr W. Bryden, Director of the Tasmanian Museum in which, after dealing with the variety and habitat of the fauna to be expected, concludes that the survey of the Lake Redder area is incomplete and would need much further and thorough investigation for its conclusions to be substantiated.’

By far the most important conclusion drawn from the Museums’ Report was that by the H.E.C. to the effect that ‘it would appear that the inundations involved in the proposals (to flood Lake Redder) would not be likely to cause the loss of any species of creature or plant not to be found elsewhere’. A number of criticisms has been raised against this conclusion, mostly by persons professionally employed as biologists. In summary, they are that:

(1) the investigation was so brief and restricted in scope that it was quite inadequate as a basis for the conclusions drawn by the H.E.C.; (2) and, in particular, the lack of a botanist or freshwater ecologist in the Museums’ party precluded any meaningful statement that following

inundation of the area ‘there would be no significant loss or destruction of rare species of flora and fauna.’

With regard to the total adequacy of the Museums’ Report, it is clear that the personnel involved certainly had no illusions in this matter, as was indicated by Dr Bryden, former Director of the Tasmanian Museum, in evidence before this Committee. Dr Bryden had this to say:

St John: ‘. . . was it truly a biological survey in the proper sense of the word?’ Dr Bryden: Oh no. You could not say it was a biological survey in the true sense of the word. To do that as I think you would appreciate, Mr St John, you would have needed a team of about 50 to 100 and we would need to be there for months. No, it would not be

correct to say that it was a true biological survey. We were asked to have a look and see what was there with the small staff and the short time.’ St John: ‘So you did what you could. ’ Dr Bryden: ‘Yes, that is right.’

Mr W. F. Ellis, Director of the Queen Victoria museum, likewise did not regard the

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Museums’ investigation as adequate. The following is part of his evidence presented to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council in 1967: ‘The recent survey party from the Tasmanian Museum and the Queen Victoria Museum made only a preliminary reconnaissance over relatively small areas during the two and a

half weeks available and the extent of their observations are inadequate to ascertain the significance of the irrevocable loss of unique or rare animals and plants would could result from the proposed Gordon River Power Development Scheme. Further field studies must be undertaken to strengthen our knowledge of the area under review and consider the

resources of the surrounding districts which will remain unaltered.’

With regard to the conclusion drawn by the H.E.C. that there would be no significant loss or destruction of rare species of flora and fauna, little comment need be added here: the facts stand for themselves—it was a conclusion drawn by engineers from a report in the preparation of which no botanist or freshwater ecologist played a

part. Considered in total, therefore, the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that the criticisms raised against the H.E.C. assertion that there would be no significant biological impact (loss or destruction of species) were valid. In general it

appears that the H.E.C. drew the conclusion they wanted to draw, and that the visit by the Museums’ staff to the Lake Pedder area had all the appearances of having been an attempt on the part of the H.E.C. to legitimise a decision which would have

remained unaltered whatever the results of any biological investigation.

It should be noted that the Select Committee of the Legislative Council which also examined this matter did not itself comment specifically on the adequacy or otherwise of the Museums’ Report. It did, nevertheless, conclude that further biological investigations were necessary: one of its conclusions (p. 13) was ‘that the flora and

fauna of the area to be affected by the development (the new impoundment) be thoroughly investigated’. However whilst some of the conclusions of this Select Committee were accepted by the Tasmanian Government, the one concerning further biological investigations was not—or at least was never implemented. The non­

implementation of this conclusion occurred in spite of firm evidence to the Select Committee from both the directors of the Museums involved that biological investigations of the area to be inundated were incomplete and inadequate—evidence further corroborated by Professor W. D. Jackson of the Department of Botany at the

University of Tasmania.

An attempt to implement the Select Committee’s conclusion was made by Prof. Jackson who, according to Mr Shoobridge, a former Member of the Legislative Council and a witness before our Committee, approached the Tasmanian Government for funds and in a written submission requested $7 000 to finance an

appropriate investigation. Mr Bethune, the then Premier, rejected this request. A later request for $5 000 was also rejected. According to Mr Shoobridge, apparently part of the grounds that the Government gave for rejecting these requests was that ‘the Commission [szc] could not see any value for such an ecological survey’ (transcript

evidence of Mr Shoobridge).

Following the discovery that there were indeed many rare or endemic species facing extinction by the inundation of Lake Pedder, in July 1972 Mr Michael Hodgman, the member for Huon in the Legislative Council, made an appeal to the Legislative Council to have a Select Committee appointed to: ‘enquire into and report

upon: 1

(1) whether appropriate and sufficient scientific investigation had been carried out in that area affected by the Gordon River Power Development. Stage I

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according to the spirit of the 1967 Select Committee Report and subsequent recommendations; (2) the significance of any scientific work carried out in the area in question with particular reference to recent biological findings and the potential for further

work;

(3) the requirements in time and facilities for a comprehensive biological investigation of the area; (4) the time-table for the flooding of the area in relation to the overall scheme and projected power requirements with a view to delaying the said flooding; (5) such other matters as are incidental thereto.,

Mr Hodgman’s appeal followed a petition to the Legislative Council signed by the Professors of Botany, Zoology and Agriculture at the University of Tasmania and supported by 187 professional life scientists from Australian universities. Mr Hodgman’s motion was vigorously opposed by the Government Leader in the House, Mr Miller, who referred to the Museums’ Report, and it was lost by eleven votes to five.

Finally, in this section it should be noted that a further five visits to the Lake Redder area have been made by the staff of the Tasmanian Museum following the presentation of their original ‘joint’ report. The first of these commenced in September 1967; the last took place in March 1972. On one occasion two members of the Zoology Department of the University of Tasmania were also present. In general, and as noted in the final report on these visits (submitted to the H.E.C. on 3 May

1972), the results are incomplete and (p. 12) ‘cannot be interpreted as constituting a complete biological survey of the area’.

5.6 The National Park Issue In 1955, as has already been noted, Lake Redder and some 92 square miles of surrounding country was gazetted as a scenic reserve under the provisions of the Tasmanian Scenery Preservation A ct 1915. This reserve was given the name of Lake Redder National Park and many people took this to imply that the area was thenceforth to remain inviolate.

The H.E.C.’s proposals to flood the Park, first announced in May 1967, triggered the Lake Redder controversy. Although the scope of the controversy has widened considerably since that time, the question of whether a national park, having once been delcared, should later be alienated for another purpose remains one of its central issues. Quite apart from its significance in the Lake Redder controversy itself, the principle involved raises questions of national significance. This issue is therefore explored in some detail in the section which follows.

By the Tasmanian Scenery Preservation Act 1915, a Scenery Preservation Board was constituted which at the time relevant to this Enquiry consisted of the Secretary of Lands as Chairman, senior officers of each of the Public Works Department, the Tasmanian Tourist and Immigration Department, the Forestry Department, the Police Department, a senior officer of the Hydro-Electric Commission1 and three other appointed members.

The Act authorised the Board to recommend which land should be ‘permanently reserved’ as scenic or historic reserves, and provided that where this land was Crown Land the Governor might by proclamation declare it to be a reserve under the Act. The Act did not use the phrase ‘national park’ but a decision was made in 1946 so to 1

1 Then the Commissioner, Mr Knight

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name all major scenic reserves, and the Lake Redder reserve was subsequently so named. In 1934 the Act was amended to provide that a reservation might be revoked upon a resolution of both Houses of Parliament, but only where the reserve was ‘no longer

suitable for scenic purposes’. The general intention of permanent reservation was, however, preserved. For example, the phrase ‘permanently reserved’ remained in Section 6 and Section 15 and made it an offence for any person to ‘interfere with such land, or damage any historic or scenic features thereof’. The intentional inundation of

land included in a National Park (which in law would include a lake within its boundaries) would obviously have been an offence against the Act—unless of course, expressly authorised by Parliament, which retained the legal power to do so, whatever the Scenery Preservation Act might say and whatever arguments might arise as to the

propriety of so doing. In 1954 the Hobart Walking Club suggested that Lake Pedder should be set aside as a National Park under the Scenery Preservation Act. The area suggested by the Club would have taken in a long stretch of the Serpentine, to a point close to its junction with the Gordon River, as well as Lake Pedder. The Committee was supplied

with copies of the relevant minutes of the Scenery Preservation Board meetings and of certain relevant correspondence, some abstracts of which are given below. It would appear that the request made by the Hobart Walking Club was first discussed at a meeting of the Board held on 19 February 1954. The relevant minutes

are as follows:

‘Scenery Preservation Board, Lake Pedder National Park. Minutes, 19 February 1954. LAKE PEDDER, PROPOSED RESERVE: The Hobart Walking Club wrote (10/2/54) requesting that an area about Lake Pedder, defined by lines joining Mt Solitary, Mt Giblin

and Mt Sprent, be proclaimed a scenic reserve. After discussion, it was left to the Secretary to endeavour to arrange for Mr Lloyd Jones to screen some of his coloured slides of the proposed area at a meeting of the Board. Minutes, 19 March 1954.

LAKE PEDDER, PROPOSED RESERVE: A number of coloured slides showing the country round Lake Pedder and the lake itself were screened by Mr Lloyd Jones, who stated he was very interested in ensuring protection for the vegetation round the lake now

being destroyed by indiscriminate firing. The question of the area to be reserved was the subject of discussion. Mr Knight stated that the Hydro-Electric Commission might build a dam near the junction of the Gordon and Serpentine Rivers. This would probably flood a good part of the valley of the

Serpentine, which was chiefly buttongrass, but the Commission could be criticised for having flooded a scenic reserve. Care should thus be exercised in fixing the boundaries of the proposed reserve. In creating scenic reserves in future an effort should be made to

reconcile the needs of forestry development and power resources. Moved by Mr Knight, seconded by Mr Payne, that a report be submitted by a sub­ committee, consisting of Mr Thwaites and the Secretary, regarding the proposed boundaries of the reserve. Carried.

Minutes, 3 May 1954. PROPOSED RESERVE, LAKE PEDDER: Mr Thwaites submitted a sketch showing proposed boundaries of a reserve to embrace Lake Pedder and part of the Frankland Range. Beginning at the eastern end of Mt Solitary, the boundary would run north­

westerly to Buckley’s Bluff, thence westerly to Coronation Peak, thence south to Double Peak, thence south-easterly to Mt Giblin, then back to the point of commencement. The reserve would embrace a small section of the Serpentine Valley and the best part of the Frankland Range, as well as Mt Solitary. On Buckley’s Bluff the rare yellow Howardia

occurred.

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At the Chairman’s suggestion, it was agreed, on the motion o f Mr Smithies, seconded by Mr Thomas, to submit copies o f the sketch o f the proposed reserve to the Forestry Commission, Hydro-Electric Commission and M ines Department for comment.

M inutes, 25 June 1954.

LAKE PEDDER, PROPOSED RESERVE: The Chairman submitted new plans that had been prepared, and these would be referred to the Forestry, Hydro-Electric and Mines Departments for their comments.

Minutes, 30 July 1954.

LAKE PEDDER, PROPOSED RESERVE: Two reports still awaited.

Minutes, 27 August 1954.

LAKE PEDDER RESERVE: Letters read from the Mines, Forestry and Hydro-Electric Departments, none o f which offered objections. Resolved that the Reserve be proclaimed under the Scenery Preservation Act.

Minutes, 14 January 1955.

LAKE PEDDER RESERVE: Mr Smithies moved, Mr Thwaites seconded, that the new reserve at Lake Pedder be named the ‘Lake Pedder National Park’, and the Nomenclature Board be asked to approve o f this. Carried.’

Pursuant to those resolutions an area of some 59 000 acres, including Lake Pedder, Lake Maria and a substantial length of the Serpentine was proclaimed as a scenic reserve on 8 March 1955. The various stages in the development of the boundaries of the Park are shown in Figure 12 (page 69).

In the final result the north-western boundary suggested by the Hobart Walking Club was repositioned, apparently in deference to Mr Knight’s suggestion that care should be exercised in fixing the boundaries, having regard to the Hydro-Electric Commission’s possible future plans, and that an effort should be made in creating scenic reserves to reconcile the needs of the different land use interests.

In reply to a letter asking for its comments on the latest sketch plans, which were subsequently adopted, the H.E.C. had replied by letter dated 13 July 1954, as follows:

‘We are in receipt o f your letter o f 8 July 1954, and have given this our attention. There are two possible hydro developments in this area— each involving a dam on the Serpentine River. At this time levels are unknown and the whole is only classed as a possible development. It could, however, bring the water o f the reservoir within the boundaries o f the proposed reserve. The Commission does not consider this development to be likely within the next 20 years

and therefore raises no objection to the proclamation of the reserve as proposed in your letter o f 8 July.’

It thus appears that whilst the H.E.C. anticipated that waters of the possible reservoir might still come within the boundaries of the proposed reserve, it did not in 1954 contemplate either the flooding of Lake Pedder, or the damming of the Huon. A significant passage in the Minutes quotes Mr Knight as saying that the possible dam near the junction of the Gordon and Serpentine Rivers ‘would probably flood a good part of the valley of the Serpentine, which was chiefly buttongrass.’ Mr Knight would presumably have said more if he had had any idea, at that time, of the possible flooding of Lake Pedder, or the damming of the Huon, which traverses the eastern portion of the Park as proclaimed in 1955. The H.E.C. letter, cited above, also confirms this view. In actual fact the Serpentine storage which was subsequently considered by the H.E.C. as an alternative to the flooding of Pedder extended only into the western part of the Park, well downstream from Lake Pedder.

It was pointed out in evidence to the Committee that a comparison is afforded by the fate of a proposal to create a scenic reserve on the Arthur River which was considered by the Board at the same time as it considered the Pedder proposal. In

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that case the proposal was dropped because of H.E.C. and Forestry Commission opposition. It must be assumed that the same fate would have befallen the Pedder proposal if there had been any thought that Lake Pedder offered significant hydro­ electric potential. It seems clear, in the light of these considerations, that the idea of

flooding Lake Pedder in 1967 arose from investigation and planning during the late 1950s and was translated into reality with insufficient regard for the earlier reservation of Lake Pedder and its environs, which had been effected with full H.E.C. approval some twelve years earlier.

In 1966 the Animals and Birds Protection Board declared a large area of the South-West, some 1 600 000 acres in extent, to be the South-West Faunal District. On 30 August of that year the South-West Committee made a detailed submission to the Premier1 which related to the conservation and management of the South-West

and recommended the establishment of a large National Park, to incorporate the existing Lake Pedder and Port Davey scenic reserves and large areas of wilderness. The proposed park encompassed a major proportion of the Faunal District, essentially that part of it south of the northern boundary of the Lake Pedder National

Park and west of a line from Mount Anne to Mount La Perouse. The boundaries of both the Faunal District and the South-West Committee’s proposed park are shown in Figure 2 (p. 9). The South-West Committee made similar proposals in its evidence before the

Select Committee in 1967. In its report the Select Committee made the following recommendation:2

‘(d) South-West National Park. Your Committee was impressed by the widespread interest in the area and proposals put forward for planned development and conservation. Because of the unique features of the South-West it considers an enlarged national park which would include the present Lake

Pedder National Park should be established, and is of the opinion that this national park should be proclaimed prior to commencement of Hydro-Electric Commission construction within its boundaries. The Committee therefore recommends the boundaries of the proposed area should be

those outlined by heavy black lines on the map on page 21.’ [Note: these boundaries are also shown on Figure 12]. ‘It considers a national park board for the area should also be constituted. This board should consist of the following: a representative of the Field Naturalists’ Club of

Tasmania, a natural scientist, a representative of the Animals and Birds Protection Board, a representative of the South-West Committee, and, during the period of construction of the Gordon power complex, the Hydro-Electric Commissioner or his nominee. Such board should recommend a program of planned development and conservation for the area as

well as regulations for its control.’ This recommendation was not implemented.

On 5 April 1967, a month before the H.E.C. presented its report to the Premier, the Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West of which the Commissioner of the Hydro-Electric Commission was chairman, presented its report on the management of the South-West. This report, which was not made public until May

1967, after the release of the H.E.C. Report, dealt with the prospects of the South­ West for agriculture, forestry, mining, water power and tourist potential, in that order. It did not review the Gordon River Power Development proposal; rather, it

1 Submission Covering Conservation and Development o f South-West Tasmania, South-West Committee, 30 August 1966. 2 Report of the Select Committee, p. 12.

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accepted that the development would take place and spelt out some of the consequences. Dealing, for example, with the area to be considered, the I.D.C. Report stated that ‘the whole area would include those parts of the Gordon River and its tributaries

upstream of the junction of the Gordon and Serpentine Rivers which would be inundated following the implementation of certain proposals for hydro-electric power developments now under consideration by the Hydro-Electric Commission.’ A later passage spoke of ‘the section expected to be inundated as a result of hydro-electric power proposals.’

The I.D.C. Report did not criticise the Middle Gordon Scheme and adopted an almost identical tone and phraseology in referring to the proposed immersion of Lake Redder and the tourist potential of the enlarged lake as the H.E.C. Report. It gave no special attention to the Lake Redder National Park or the recreational, scenic or scientific values of the existing lake, although it did refer to the loss of the beach in the following terms:

‘This new lake would inundate Lake Redder to a depth o f some 40 feet and this would result in the loss o f the beaches as a light aircraft landing strip in the summer seasons.’

Although the Inter-Departmental Committee had two members of the Scenery Preservation Board amongst its members, there appears to have been no consultation between the two committees over the loss of the Lake Redder National Park. The membership of the Inter-Departmental Committee was as follows:

Mr F. Miles, Secretary for Lands (Chairman, Scenery Preservation Board) Mr A. Knight, H.E.C. (also a member of the S.P.B.) Mr J. G. Symons, Mines Department Mr F. A. Noare, Forestry Department

The I.D.C. did however consult with the Scenery Preservation Board about its proposal for a South-West National Park, the Report stating ‘. . . Your Committee considers that the proposed area is such as to be within the capacity of the Scenery Preservation Board to accept responsibility for it. Your Committee has made an approach to the Scenery Preservation Board to ascertain its views upon this proposal. We are confident that the approval of the Board to the establishment of the Reserve will be forthcoming.’

The Reserve proposed by the Inter-Departmental Committee was much smaller than the parks proposed the year before by the South-West Committee and later in 1967 by the Legislative Council’s Select Committee of Enquiry. It enclosed an area of 473 500 acres and excluded the western wilderness, the Port Davey area, the eastern ranges and the south coast area in the vicinity of Precipitous Bluff from the earlier proposals. Its boundaries are shown also in Figure 2.

This proposal was strongly criticised by conservation groups, notably the South West Committee in the evidence it presented to the Select Committee hearings. Despite these objections, and the recommendations of the Select Committee, the I.D.C.’s proposal was accepted by Government and the 473 500 acre South-West

Scenic Reserve, to be called the South-West National Park was, in accordance with the Scenery Preservation Board’s policy, gazetted on 15 October 1968. In November 1968 a National Parks and Conservation Bill was introduced into the House of Assembly. It provided for the replacement of the Scenery Preservation

Board by a National Parks and Conservation Board of nine part-time members with corporate body status, greater autonomy and increased and better defined powers. It also provided for the appointment of a Director as the Board’s chief executive officer and improved arrangements for the employment of staff.

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The conservation societies pressed for the more fundamental changes recommended by the Select Committee, notably the establishment of a National Parks and Wildlife Service headed by a Director and assisted by an Advisory Committee. The Government would not accept these changes, although it did promise

to give the Board control of the Animals and Birds Protection Act before July 1969. The Bill sought to strengthen the security of tenure of reserves but did not greatly alter the provisions for the revocation of reserve land. It did not give any explicit statement of the purpose of the reserves or the priorities to be sought in management.

All in all, the new Bill fell far short of the desires of the conservationists and did not appear to provide a very effective basis for the long term management and planning of Tasmania’s existing and potential reserves. According to Mosley1, ‘The proposed legislation, whilst an improvement, did not go far enough. Control by part­ time bodies was perpetuated and the limitations and guidelines affecting reserve land

use were unchanged. The “hazardous areas” provision was a great disappointment. If enacted this measure could result in a serious reduction in the opportunity for Australians to enjoy wilderness. In spite of these defects, the provisions which were made for the employment of qualified officers, the co-ordination of national parks

and fauna conservation, and the introduction of management planning were all signs of a gradually dawning awareness of the need for a more vigorous and more carefully calculated approach to nature conservation.’ The Bill had a speedy passage through the House of Assembly but was held over to

the New Year by the Legislative Council. During the intervening period an election was called. Subsequently the Labor Government under Mr Reece lost the election and the new Liberal-Centre Party Coalition Government came to power under the leader­ ship of Mr Bethune.

The Liberal Party’s election promises had included the establishment of a conservation authority advised by a board and the creation of a National Parks and Wildlife Service. New legislation was drafted and this was enacted in 1971 as the National Parks and Wildlife A ct 1971. This Act remedied some of the shortcomings of

the Labor Government’s earlier Bill. It provided for the establishment of a National Parks and Wildlife Service under a full-time Director responsible to the Minister for Lands. It provided also for an Advisory Council with membership representative of a range of interests similar to those recommended earlier by the Select Committee. The

Service replaced and essentially took over the functions of the Scenery Preservation Board and the Animals and Birds Protection Board. Amongst its functions was a requirement for the preparation of management plans for state reserves, with provision for the public inspection and discussion of draft plans before their final

adoption under the approval of Parliament and the Governor. The new Service commenced operations on 1 November 1971. Its Director, Mr P. Murrell, gave evidence to this Committee of Enquiry in Hobart. He described the functions and organisation of the Service and indicated that its staff currently

numbers about 80 full-time employees, of whom however only four are graduates. He discussed with the Committee the objectives of the management plan for the South­ West National Park, which was then in preparation. Because of the severe shortage of professional staff the work was being undertaken under the direction of Mr J. Bolt, a

town planner seconded to the Service from the Hobart City Council, who also appeared before the Committee to discuss the preparation of the plan. Whilst some of the issues raised in the preceding pages of this section are predominantly relevant to the Pedder controversy, the fate of the Lake Pedder

1 J. G. Mosley, ‘Scenic Reserve and Fauna Sanctuary Systems of Tasmania’, in The Last o f Lands, ed. L. J. Webb et al. (Jacaranda Press, 1969).

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National Park and the steps which have led to the present stage of development of the South-West National Park touch on wider issues of national relevance. Despite the criticisms that have been levelled at Tasmanian governments since the early sixties with respect to their handling of national park problems, it should be pointed out that Tasmania was in fact the first State to enact legislation for scenery

preservation and the subsequent acquisition of reserves, with its Scenery Preservation Act of 1915. At that time Tasmania’s tourist industry was regarded as an important factor in the island’s economy and the Scenery Preservation legislation was put forward by a Labor Government which at that stage was actively promoting tourism and in 1914 had assumed full responsibility for its administration.

Coupled with the Animals and Birds Protection Act, first passed in 1919, the Scenery Preservation Act provided machinery for the creation of scenic, historic and fauna protection reserves and during the early years a large area of crown land was set aside for these purposes; the total area of scenic and historic reserves had reached half

a million acres by the beginning of World War II. In the years immediately preceding the war and particularly in the years since that period, succeeding Tasmanian governments have become more and more preoccupied with the hydro­ industrialisation policy and less interested in tourism, and a strong reaction against the creation of large reserves has developed. By 1967, just prior to the commencement of the Lake Pedder controversy, some 78 reserves totalling 609 000 acres, had been set aside under the provisions of the Scenery Preservation Act. Nine of these had the title of national park, without, of course, any legal significance.

It should also be pointed out that at that time Tasmania had the largest of the Australian State national park systems in relation to both its population and its total land area and spent more per capita on national parks than any other State. For example, in June 1964 Tasmania had an area of ‘national parks’ equivalent to 1.7

acres per person, compared with 0.5 acres for New South Wales and 0.1 for Victoria; it had 3.5% of its area set aside for scenic and historic reserves compared with about 1.0% for New South Wales and 0.7% for Victoria.1 With the gazettal of the South­ West National Park in 1968 the total area under reserve in Tasmania increased to

1 187 000 acres, representing 6.7% of the area of the State. Prior to the establishment of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania had no specific criteria for the selection of reserves and the Scenery Preservation Board had never elaborated a policy or decided on a program for park development. Until fairly recently this was by no means a uniquely Tasmanian problem, most other

States being poorly organised in this respect. There is a wide variety of legislation in the Australian States relating to the reservation of area of national park character and no generally accepted terminology yet exists. Whilst all States and the territories use the term ‘national park’, these terms have different meanings and there is no truly

‘national’ park in the original American sense, i.e. an area of special character set aside for the benefit of the nation as a whole and administered by a federal agency. A detailed analysis of Australia’s national parks and their administration was made by a Committee of the Australian Academy of Science in 1968.2 This Committee pointed out that ‘the legislation from which parks derive their security varies widely in Australia. In some States the national parks are only one kind of reserve, and other

reserves (sometimes even larger and as suitable for national parks as those already called by this name) are held by various instruments of government other than a national parks authority.’

1 J. G. Mosley, ‘Tasmania’s National Parks—Policy and Administrative Problems’, in Practical Problems o f National Parks, Proceedings of Seminar held at University of New England, Feb. 1966. 2 Australian Academy of Science, Report on National Parks and Reserves in Australia, 1968;

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The problem of national park planning and management on a truly national scale is complicated by the fact that under the constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia the control and use of Crown Lands, the management of national parks and the management and control of fauna generally, are State responsibilities. As the

Academy of Science report stated:

‘As is well known, the States are vastly different in size, in population density, in stages of development and in wealth, and there is no doubt that if development in wildlife conservation, and in particular in national parks, is to proceed at a rate sufficient to meet

Australian needs, the Commonwealth must become involved. In particular, finance is necessary for the development, equipment and management of parks . . . The States are unlikely to vest the control of their parks in the Federal Government. However, there would be understandable enthusiasm for a scheme which allowed Commonwealth funds to flow

into the development of national parks and reserves.’

This question is raised and discussed again in Chapters 8 and 9 in relation to the Committee’s Terms of Reference. It is clear that Federal involvement is desirable not only for the financing of national parks but also for the development of an overall Australian policy for the establishment and management of such parks and the

encouragement of non-parochial, ‘national’ attitudes by State and Federal Governments and the Australian community towards parks like the South-West National Park which are clearly national in character and importance. One aspect of this problem is the need for agreement on a common nomenclature for national parks and other kinds of reserve. The classification and nomenclature of such areas has been a problem of worldwide confusion and controversy. In an attempt to clarify the situation on an international basis the International Union for

Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources at its 10th General Meeting in December 1969 agreed upon the following definitions:

‘A National Park is a relatively large area (1) where one or several ecosystems are not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation, where plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats are of special scientific, educative and recreative interest or which contains a natural landscape of great beauty and (2) where the highest

competent authority of the country has taken steps to prevent or to eliminate as soon as possible exploitation or occupation in the whole area and to enforce effectively the respect of ecological, geomorphological or aesthetic features which have led to its establishment and (3) where visitors were allowed to enter, under special conditions, for inspirational,

educative, cultural and recreative purposes.

Governments are accordingly requested not to designate as “National Parks”:

1. a scientific reserve which can be entered only by special permission (strict nature reserve); 2. a natural reserve managed by a private institution or a lower authority without some type of recognition and control by the highest competent authority of the country;

3. a “special reserve” as defined in the African Convention of 1968 (fauna or flora reserve, game reserve, bird sanctuary, geological or forest reserve, etc.); 4. an inhabited and exploited area where landscape planning and measures taken for the development of tourism have led to the setting up of “recreation areas" where

industrialisation and urbanisation are controlled and where public outdoor recreation takes priority over the conservation of ecosystems (pare naturel regional, nature park, Naturpark, etc.). Areas of this description which may have been established as “National Parks” should be redesignated in due course.’

For some time Australian State and Federal agencies concerned with park development and management have been grappling with problems of co-ordination and co-operation and the fourth Ministerial Conference on National Parks in 1970

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adopted the following definition as a guideline to the nomenclature of national parks in Australia: ■

‘A national park is a relatively large area set aside for its features of predominantly unspoiled natural landscape, flora and fauna, permanently dedicated for public enjoyment, education and inspiration and protected from all interference other than essential management practices, so that its natural attributes are preserved.’

It is the view of this Committee that the Lake Pedder National Park met the spirit of these definitions and should have been ‘protected from all interference other than essential management practices’ to preserve its natural attributes.

5.7 Aesthetic and Recreational Values of Lake Pedder and the South-West A great many of the people who gave evidence before the Committee spoke at length about the aesthetic and recreational values of Lake Pedder and its environs and expressed deep and sincere concern at the potential loss of these attributes. Many of them also spoke about the recreational values of the South-West and expressed misgivings about the existing plans for its reservation and management.

With the exception of Dr Williams, who visited the lake in 1965 on a research project, the members of the Committee had no opportunity to see Lake Pedder in its natural state. During the course of the public hearings the Committee did however see a number of colour slides, colour films, paintings and black and white photographs of the Lake Pedder National Park and parts of the South-West. All members of the Committee were greatly impressed with the beauty of the lake as depicted in these visual presentations. None of them, however, has any formal qualifications in

aesthetics and attempts were made to obtain authorative opinions on the aesthetic values of Lake Pedder from witnesses who were professionally involved in some field of artistic endeavour. These included painters, photographers, art teachers and poets. Without exception these people, whose evidence is available in the transcripts, were definite that the lake and its environs had been outstandingly beautiful and that the loss of this beauty would be tragic. The quotes given below convey something of their feeling:

T expected Lake Pedder to be beautiful; I’d seen slides and photographs, I’d read about it and I’d been told about it: I was not prepared for the enormous dynamic o f the place, the combination o f grandeur and intimacy, the silence and the sounds o f silence, the gradations and subtlety o f colour and the unbelievably vast beach. No one and nothing

could convey the emotional impact of being on that beach with the amphitheatre of mountains about you.’ (Miss Beverly Dunn, Actress) ‘To stand on the beach at Pedder was to touch one with a sense o f awe that this mighty place, large enough to support the area o f Metropolitan Sydney or Melbourne1 on its sands should be nearly 1000 feet above sea level— tideless, pure, majestic. The colour was unbelievable; the reflected light from more than one million square yards o f pink sand was incredible, creating a feeling o f light and space that can never come from water and mountains alone . . . one o f the most moving spectacles o f nature (Lake Pedder) is being strangled by blind people, unaware, unmoved . . .’

(Max Angus, Artist)

‘. . . a very beautiful and unique natural feature is being devastated.’ (G eoff Parr, Lecturer in Art)

1 Mr Angus demonstrated in his evidence that the beach at Lake Pedder was large enough to accommodate central Sydney from Circular Quay to Central Station and from Darling Harbour to Hyde Park; the lake itself to accommodate a four-square mile area of central Melbourne.

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Many witnesses who were not primarily concerned with the aesthetic values of the lake had clearly been impressed by its beauty. Dr Bayley, who gave evidence as a zoologist, had the following to say:

‘There seems to be som ething about the Australian ethos that makes beauty something difficult to eulogise without some degree o f embarrassment or apology, but I know o f no one who has visited Lake Pedder who has not spoken freely o f the beauty that they saw and felt. I have visited Lake Pedder on three occasions to carry out scientific research, and on

each occasion I have been deeply moved by the beauty of the area. To me, the most com pelling reason why Lake Pedder should be saved from destruction is that it was one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring natural features that I have seen anywhere . . . To put it in other words, I would regard the destruction o f som ething as beautiful as Lake Pedder

as a great tragedy, irrespective o f its location. But when that location is in fact a National Park, created out o f recognition for that beauty, then such destruction seems to me a detestable crime.’

It is clearly evident to the Committee that many of these people had had a deeply emotional, even spiritual experience of Lake Pedder. Miss Dunn expressed it as follows:

‘Is it possible to convey accurately and adequately the experience o f Lake Pedder? Of course not. The only way one can experience it is to experience it: all one can attempt to do here is to try to convey a flavour, an essence, to express the intangible, the mystical, the

spiritual. It’s like falling in love: once it’s happened you’re not the sam e person, but it must happen for you to change . . .’

A photographer who had produced a beautiful film of the lake seen by the Committee, Mr Peter Donnelly, had this to say about its effects on artistic people:

‘For any people, their civilisation is recorded in the main by the artists, or people closely allied to them. It was the artists, the painters, and the photographers, almost to the man, who have been in there at Pedder recording like mad, not only because o f the time limit put on the lake, but mainly because of the intrinsic draw the place had on them. It is my humble view that a symphony could be written around Lake Pedder and its many moods,

and may yet be written. Had a Grieg, a Tchaikowsky, a Sibelius or a Vaughan Williams set eyes on Lake Pedder, they would have written one. In the rough and tum ble of materialism, life’s real values are often passed by or neglected. The very fact that the artists, poets, painters and m usicians o f established merit

have put in their lot to the cause o f Lake Pedder, should register significantly to any serious student o f our times. He should deduce therefore, how important and how emotive an issue it is.’

The Committee had opportunity to question a psychologist, Dr Keil of the University of Tasmania, who had himself visited Lake Pedder several times, about the apparent spiritual values of the place. He said:

‘It is likely that Lake Pedder provided such (spiritual) experience for many people and perhaps it is this kind o f experience more than arguments about scientific and/or potential economic loss which, in my view, makes the inundation such a tragic event, comparable with the destruction of a world-famous church or tem ple.’

The Committee sought opinions from several witnesses qualified in artistic matters as to how the aesthetic values of such a place as Lake Pedder might be assessed and perhaps quantified as a basis for decision-making. Some of them suggested that it is essential to have people who are sensitive to environment and beauty, and who are able to communicate this sensitivity to others, represented on

decision-making committees. It was also suggested that aesthetic studies should be made at the same time as engineering, biological and economic studies are made, using artists and photographers to prepare visual displays emphasising the values of

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the areas likely to be inundated and the possible visual impact of proposed works, in order to assist in the assessment of aesthetic values. None of the witnesses was prepared to put a dollar value on Lake Redder or to indicate how this might be done. Some of them claimed the lake to be priceless, others assessed it as being comparable in value with a cathedral or an opera house, and suggested that comparisons of this kind could be a basis for decision making. They were all critical of the fact that no serious attempt had been made by the planners of the Middle Gordon Scheme to take account of the aesthetic and emotional values lost by the drowning of Lake Redder. Perhaps their views are best summarised in the following transcript from a tape recorded by the late Olegas Truchanas, conservationist and outdoorsman, who lost his life in a canoeing accident on the Gordon River in 1972:

Ί have a very special feeling for Lake Redder . . . Lake Redder to me is the very heart of the South-West. When it is modified, as it is called, into a large deep inland sea it will not be more beautiful. It will be an artificial man-made pond in the middle of the natural wilderness area. It will affect, in my view, the entire atmosphere, the entire make-up of the

South-West. It has been said that the program is an economical one, that everything has been evaluated, calculated in terms of dollars, but never has a price been put on Lake Redder in its natural state. I am sure there are countries in the world which would buy the lake and its environment for a hundred times the figure that we cannot afford to keep it now. They are spending $65 million to preserve four identical stone figures somewhere in Nubia to save them from the flood so that they are not inundated. They have been made with a chisel and hammer only 3000 or 4000 years ago or less than 2000 years ago . . .

We are spending $80 million on the Opera House, and I am sure that Lake Redder, the way it is, in decades and perhaps a century to come, would outlive and out-perform any Opera House that we can build. I might be emotionally involved in this and I might be unreasonable, but what is the possibility that somebody will never write a symphony that will make us as famous as Sibelius made Finland and Grieg made Norway, and Lake

Redder can do that. . . There are other people in Tasmania who think that the lake will be better and bigger and their view could well be right. I am only presenting my view here. It is the way I see the lake, rightly or wrongly.

It is my Lake, my Redder. Thank you.’

It is difficult to differentiate between aesthetic values and recreational values since both are clearly part of the total experience of places such as Lake Redder. The Committee prefers to use the word recreation in the sense currently used in recreational research, that is in a broad sense implying a range of experiences between the passive, emotional experience of a sunset and the physical experience of participation in organised sport. In the more restricted sense of recreation as physical

activity, Lake Redder and its environs apparently had much to offer. This was brought out by many of those who gave evidence to the Committee. Mrs May Smith, a bushwalker who had visited Redder many times, listed the ‘attractions of the original

Lake Redder’ as follows:

‘Swimming in warm shallow water, very safe for tiny tots (because of the long, gently- sloping beach). Safe canoeing in shallow water. Enormous flat beach for playing games. Hard sand. Camping. Sun bathing. Mountain climbing. Interesting ‘Redder Penny’ beaches. Miniature gardens. And the best range for photography anywhere to be found in Australia.’

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Dr J. G. Mosley of the Australian Conservation Foundation, an authority on wilderness areas, described Lake Redder as ‘a natural base camp area, where one could spend a number of days without any feeling of monotony’. To the bushwalking and climbing fraternity Lake Redder was indeed a natural base camp, described by one witness as ‘the Mecca of bushwalkers’ and another as ‘the key to the South-West’.

Witnesses representing bushwalking interests pointed out to the Committee that there were formerly three main base camp areas in the South-West: Lake Redder, Port Davey and the New River Lagoon/Precipitous Bluff area, which served as staging

points on walks through the South-West or as bases from which excursions could be made in a variety of directions. Figure 13 shows the location of these base camps and the general direction of the routes normally taken from them. It can be seen that the loss of Redder removes not only a base camp area but also many of the possible

excursion routes from this camp. It was also pointed out that the wilderness area within reach of these camps has been considerably diminished over the past decade, firstly by the construction of the access roads to Strathgordon and Scott’s Peak and more recently by the flooding of

Lake Redder and the Serpentine Valley. A possible mining development in the vicinity of Precipitous Bluff, the second of the three base camp areas, threatens to further reduce the size of the South-West wilderness. The use of the South-West by bushwalkers and climbers was by no means

restricted to Tasmanians. Numerous witnesses made the point that this part of Tasmania has for many years been visited by bushwalkers from the mainland, and

Boundary proposed 10 Feb. 1954

Boundary proposed 3 May 1954

Final boundary of Lake Redder

National Park

Sprent

5 miles

Coronation i=- Peak (I

Double Ί

Peak

Mt " V

‘Solitary

' Scotts

-----

Cinder Hill Mt Glblin

Figure 12: Development o f the boundaries o f the Lake Pedder National Park.

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Access to Wilderness

Figure 13: Base camp areas in the South- West. Arrows indicate excursion routes from base camps.

submissions made by outdoor groups from Victoria, South Australia, Canberra, New South Wales and Queensland supported these claims. The potential of the South-West as a possible wilderness area has already been pointed out in Section 3.1. Several witnesses drew the Committee’s attention to the value of wilderness areas, using the term to mean areas generally unaffected by man

and man-made works which provide opportunities for the enjoyment of primitive and unconfmed types of recreation. It was argued that with expanding urbanisation it is becoming increasingly recognised that a whole range of recreational facilities must be provided, ranging from areas developed for organised outdoor sports activities, through areas intended for high-density but less formally organised activities such as

swimming and boating, to areas specifically set aside for adventurous, unconfined forms of recreation and solitude. The need for wilderness-type experience, in particular, was said to be of increasing importance in highly urbanised communities. In general, unless positive steps for the preservation of wilderness are taken, the supply of wilderness areas tends to decrease as development progresses and the remaining areas become more sought after. Thus, as the need for wilderness increases, its availability decreases.

Dr Mosley, in his evidence to the Committee, showed that the areas of true wilderness remaining in temperate Australia are particularly limited. Using the criterion that potential wilderness is undeveloped land more than three miles from a

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road, Dr Mosley provided the Committee with a map showing the areas so defined remaining in south-eastern Australia, which is reproduced as Figure 14. This map shows the startling fact that there are very few such areas on the mainland, the largest of them being only about ten miles square, i.e. some 64 000 acres. By contrast, the

South-West of Tasmania has an area approaching two million acres of potential wilderness, which according to Mosley ‘is the largest primitive tract in temperate Australia and therefore has outstanding values for wilderness recreation.’ Dr Mosley

and other witnesses also emphasised that the large areas of wilderness remaining in the South-West have considerable international as well as national significance. Many submissions, notably those from the South-West Committee and the bushwalking organisations, emphasised the need for special zoning of the South-West

and for the development and effective operation of an overall management plan. These organisations were critical of the existing South-West National Park, which they considered to have excluded large areas of potentially significant wilderness to both the east and west of the Park boundaries. They were also critical of the claims

made by the H.E.C. in its publicity for the recreational values of the new impoundments, which they considered to over-emphasise commercial tourism and intensive forms of recreation such as boating and fishing, to the detriment of its wilderness potential.

The Commission has claimed to have given consideration to the aesthetic and recreational values of Lake Pedder and concluded that the benefits resulting from the larger impoundments would outweigh the losses incurred by the flooding of the lake. In the circular Why Lake Pedder is Being Enlarged' the following statements were

made:

‘The Commission was concerned that this scheme would result in the loss of the beach at Lake Pedder, but was of the opinion that benefits resulting from the larger lake would outweigh this loss.

These benefits would include:

(a) much easier access to the enlarged lake for tourists and for recreational purposes; (b) greater scenic appeal with reflection o f many miles of spectacular mountain ranges in the new lake, compared with a length o f about two miles with the present lake; (c) the creation o f a number o f beautiful bays and basins suitable for camping, boating

and other recreational activities.’ And again:

‘It is argued that the power development will “destroy” a tourist attraction. This is demonstrably false. Lake Pedder was never a tourist attraction. Before the opening of the Gordon River

Road in 1967 it was hardly known and it was visited only by small numbers of bushwalkers. It was accessible only by a long and arduous trek on foot with all camping equipment or, in favourable weather conditions in a short summer season, by light aircraft. Such means are not acceptable to tourists.

Since the construction o f the Gordon River Road, the $5 million cost of which was justified solely by projected power developments in the area, access to the lake is by a short walk over rough bush tracks or by light aircraft in the summer season. It is still not readily accessible to ordinary tourists. Since the belated eruption o f an intensive “ Save Lake

Pedder” cam paign in the summer of 1969-70, it has become widely known to the general public and visited by hundreds o f enthusiasts, on foot or by air, but it remains out o f reach of all but the few. It is the entire area that is a scenic attraction and this is now accessible to visitors of all

ages and income groups. The facts speak for themselves; since the opening o f the Gordon 1

1 First issued March 1972, see earlier reference.

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River Road, more than a quarter o f a million people have visited the area by car and bus, the majority being tourists from Tasmania and interstate. It is true that Lake Redder in its present form will disappear but it is false to describe this as the “destruction" o f a tourist attraction. The beauty o f the scene as a whole will not be marred— many hold that it will be even finer with the Frankland Ranges mirrored in the much enlarged lake surface. One thing is certain; thanks to the access by road, it will be a greater tourist attraction than it is even now’.

These belated statements by the H.E.C. appear to miss two significant points brought out very clearly to the Committee during its public hearings: firstly that the charm and beauty of Lake Redder lay in an integration of colour, light, space and solitude that was as much emotional as visual in its effect and could not be compensated for by creating a much larger and perhaps more scenic lake; and secondly, that the majority of those people opposed to the flooding of Lake Redder were concerned with the wilderness values of the Lake Redder National Park, not its tourist values, and such factors as difficulty of access, isolation or uncertainty of weather conditions were indeed a part of these values. Whilst the Committee respects

and to some extent agrees with the opinions of the H.E.C. regarding the potential scenic and recreational values of the new impoundment, the foregoing statements raise a number of unanswered questions which the Committee would have preferred to have put to an H.E.C. representative at its public hearings. For example, is intensive recreation and commercial tourism really desirable for the Lake Redder area? Could the new recreational values promoted by the H.E.C. have been provided in the Gordon impoundment, without flooding Lake Redder? Will the frequently adverse weather conditions and short summer season referred to by the H.E.C. militate against intensive recreation and tourist usage, and in particular will climatic and weather conditions allow many people to safely enjoy camping, boating and fishing in ‘beautiful bays and basins’? And to what extent were the alleged but as yet

unproven recreational and tourist values of the larger impoundment really assessed against the known aesthetic and recreational values of Lake Redder in the Commission’s evaluation and comparison of the alternative ways of developing the Gordon Scheme?

This leads to the general question of how recreational values and the potential significance of wilderness areas can be assessed and accounted for in the planning of major development projects. None of the people giving evidence to the Committee dealt specifically with this issue with the exception of Miss Sandra Bardwell, who

appeared for the Lake Redder Action Committee of Victoria. Miss Bardwell is a geographer who has specialised in recreational research and she gave details of pilot studies of attitudes amongst bushwalkers in the South-West, which she had conducted during the summer months of 1971-72. She also discussed possible ways and means of evaluating recreational values, including the use of questionnaire surveys.

The Committee notes that specific provision for recreational and aesthetic values has been a feature of multi-purpose water resource development in the U.S.A. for a number of years. Possible approaches to this problem are discussed in Chapter 8.

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SYDNEY

W o l l o n g o n g

CANBERRA

MELBOURNE

SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

WILDERNESS AREAS HOBART

( a r e a s m o r e t h a n t h r e e

m i l e s f r o m a r o a d )

Figure 14: South-east Australia: Wilderness areas {areas more than three miles from a road).

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6 THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS:

THE COMMITTEE’S FIRST TERM OF REFERENCE

6.1 Scope of Committee’s Analysis

The Committee’s First Term of Reference was as follows:

‘To enquire into the history and circumstances surrounding the flooding of Lake Pedder and in particular to consider (a) whether there was at any stage insufficient or inadequate investigation of factors relevant to the decision to flood the lake; (b) the legal or administrative procedures leading to the making of such decision.’

In respect of these matters the Committee was instructed to concern itself with facts and matters of principle and not to attempt to attribute fault or blame should any deficiencies in investigational or administrative procedures become apparent. The Committee has been mindful of the fact that a decision made in the light of the circumstances, planning objectives and available information of 1967 might be viewed in a different light in 1973, and has therefore attempted to analyse the decisions made by the H.E.C. and the Tasmanian Government in the context of the times at which they were made. The Committee is also mindful of the fact that its primary purpose is to report to the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, in order to assist him with the formulation of procedures and guidelines for the planning

and implementation of future development projects having significant potential environmental impact. It therefore seems pertinent not only to consider the decisions and actions of the Pedder controversy in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, but also to suggest how they might best be made should a similar set

of circumstances arise in the future. To this end the preceding chapters of this Report have been devoted to a detailed statement of the history and circumstances surrounding the flooding of the lake, so far as the Committee has been able to ascertain them. The present chapter is devoted to an analysis of this material, which is presented under the following headings:

6.2 Planning Objectives and Criteria 6.3 Engineering Investigations 6.4 Economic Investigations 6.5 Scientific Investigations 6.6 Recreational and Aesthetic Investigations 6.7 The Decision-making Sequence 6.8 The Decision-making Responsibility

6.2 Planning Objectives and Criteria Under the terms of its Act, and in accordance with accepted Tasmanian practice, the Hydro-Electric Commission was entirely responsible for the investigation and planning of the Gordon River Power Development project.

The Hydro-Electric Commission A ct 1944 established the Commission in its present form, giving it the sole responsibility for the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity in Tasmania. The Act does not place any limitation on the scope or extent of these activities, but simply stipulates that the Commission must deem its activities ‘desirable in the interests of the State’. The Commission does

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not appear to have been charged with any more specific planning objectives than those implicit in the requirement to produce and sell electricity and take whatever steps are necessary to accomplish this in the ‘interests of the State’. It is clear that the Commission, as the instrumentality responsible for the sale of electricity as well as for

its production, has been motivated by the hydro-industrialisation policy espoused by successive Tasmanian governments and to this end has sought continually to increase its sales of electricity and to attract heavy industry to Tasmania by offering bulk power at high load factors and attractive tariffs. Clearly this overall policy has been

deemed by the H.E.C. to be in the interests of the State, presumably on the grounds that expanding industrial development is in the interests of the State. As has already been indicated, the pros and cons of the hydro-industrialisation policy have never been seriously analysed.

In pursuance of its general objective, the H.E.C. has adopted the simple criterion of minimum cost per kilowatt hour of additional continuous output as the basis for selecting projects and choosing between alternatives. This criterion was used for the Gordon River Power Development project1 and, as late as 1971, to justify the

proposed Pieman River Power Development. Thus the only justification in terms of costs or benefits for the Pieman Project was given in the following paragraph of the Commission’s report on the scheme2:

‘After m aking adjustments for the significant reserve o f peak capacity available for use with subsequent developments and for variations in the performance o f other stations in the system it is estimated that the cost o f increased system output resulting from the introduction of the proposed Pieman River Power Development would initially average

0.45 cent per kilowatt hour with the possibility of reduction as the system grows.’

Whilst the Tasmanian Government can be criticised for having failed to stipulate more specific planning objectives and to lay down more sophisticated and comprehensive project evaluation criteria for the guidance of the H.E.C., the Hydro­ Electric Commission Act is not restrictive in these respects and it must be accepted that for better or worse the responsibility for the establishment of adequate criteria

and the formulation of effective planning goals rested with the H.E.C. under the ‘desirable in the interests of the State’ clause. And whilst it can be argued that the H.E.C.’s investigation and planning over the late 1950s and early 1960s sought to meet its own objectives and criteria, it is this Committee’s opinion that these

objectives and criteria were inadequate. In the context of the 1960s, the planners of a major water storage project in Tasmania involving the inundation of 200 square miles of undeveloped country and the expenditure of $100 million might have been expected to have given detailed

consideration to the following factors in the formulation of their planning objectives:

a. The desirability of attempting to meet all future demands for electrical energy and continuing to encourage the growth of capital-intensive industries using large quantities of bulk power. In point of fact, these objectives were accepted without question by the H.E.C. and the Tasmanian Government as being the

major, if not the sole, objectives of the project. b. The possible value of alternative forms of land use for the area to be inundated. To some extent this aspect was considered by the H.E.C. and the Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West. Their investigations,

however, were concerned primarily with alternative forms of primary produc­

1 Report on the Gordon River Power Development Stage 1, p. 30: T h e annual output of the development being 1333 million kilowatt hours, the estimated average cost per unit of output delivered into the main transmission network will be 0.38 cent.' 2 Report on the Proposed Pieman River Power Development, H.E.C., 17 Feb. 1971, p. 27.

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tion—mining, forestry, and agriculture—and did not give adequate considera­ tion to recreational potential, National Park usage, asethetic values or the significance of wilderness. The constitution of the Inter-Departmental Com­ mittee and the manner in which it prepared and submitted its report suggest strongly that it served merely to rationalise the already formed viewpoint of the H.E.C. c. The possibility of planning for the multiple use of land resources to meet an

optimal mixture of objectives. Whilst the H.E.C. claimed to have given consideration to this aspect with regard to the potential of the new impoundments for tourism, boating, fishing and other forms of high-density recreation, these do not appear to have been adequately investigated (e.g. dangers of boating on the new lake and problems with propagation of trout in the new lake—see detailed discussion in Chapter 7). Whilst the H.E.C. claimed also to have given consideration to the recreational and aesthetic values of the Lake Pedder National Park by investigating a number of alternatives which might have avoided the flooding of the lake, the nature of the evaluation criterion it adopted—to select the project giving a maximum of power at minimum cost—automatically prejudiced any serious consideration of these

alternatives. d. The biological and environmental impact of the proposed development. Whilst environmental impact analysis as such was not known in Australia in 1967, there was still a clear obligation to assess the likely environmental and

biological effects of such a major project, particularly in view of its location in a National Park. At that time there was adequate evidence from overseas of the likely biological effects of large water storages (for example, the Kariba Dam on the Zambesi River)1 and there had been several instances of major

environmental conflicts centred on large water storage projects (e.g. the Glen Canyon and Marble Canyon projects in the U.S.A.). e. The social welfare aspects of the proposal. Some attention was paid to this factor in respect of the benefits of hydro-industrialisation and the employment

opportunities the project itself provided. However, such other aspects as the community’s need for outdoor recreation and wilderness were not given adequate weight. f. National economic development. Whilst it is apparent that the Gordon River

project would show a favourable benefit-cost ratio from the point of view of the national economy, it was planned to meet regional development objectives only and there appears to have been no attempt to assess its overall benefits to the national economy as a whole or indeed to make any kind of benefit-cost analysis at all.

It might be argued that the Hydro-Electric Commission did take these factors into account in the planning of the Middle Gordon Scheme, since most of them were specifically or at least implicity discussed in the Commission’s Report on the Scheme. Thus in Section V of the Report, which was headed ‘Effects of the Development’, mention was made of alternative forms of land use in the South-West, the effects of the Scheme on flows in the Gordon River and particularly on the possibility of

siltation at the mouth of Macquarie Harbour, the flooding of the button grass plains, the flooding of Lake Pedder and the loss of the beach, the biological surveys undertaken by the Tasmanian Museums and the inferences drawn therefrom about the possible effects of the Scheme on flora and fauna, the possibilities for alternative

1 On which, incidentally, the Commission’s consultants, Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, had been engaged.

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forms of productive land use such as forestry, agriculture and mining, the interests of bushwalkers and naturalists and the tourist and recreational values expected of the new storages, and the possible need for the waters of the Gordon for other purposes, such as irrigation or domestic water supply. But these aspects were included in the

Report not as a basis for the formulation of objectives, or for incorporation into such objectives, but rather as a form of impact statement, aimed at the justification of the single-purpose hydro-electric proposal. Furthermore, the majority of the statements in this section of the Report were expressed as opinions, rather than as studied

conclusions based on a detailed investigation of relevant factors—the inaccuracies inherent in some of these conclusions have already been discussed in detail in Chapter 5. The H.E.C.’s general attitude was summed up in the closing paragraph of this section of the Report:

‘In considering the effects of the hydro-electric power development as a whole, it would appear that the only adverse effect relates to the beach at Lake Redder and the intrusion of m an into a hitherto uninhabited and unexploited region.

Again in the context of 1967, the planners of a major water storage project involving a very substantial commitment of Tasmania’s loan fund allocation might have been expected to have developed more sophisticated criteria for project selection and the comparison of alternatives than the minimum unit cost criterion adopted by

the H.E.C. During the 20 years preceding the decision to go ahead with the Gordon Scheme there had grown up a very extensive literature in the field of water resource economics, which dealt exhaustively with project evaluation techniques and criteria.

In the U.S.A., benefit-cost analysis for major water projects funded from Federal sources had been mandatory since the first publication of the Green Book1 in the early 1950s, and more sophisticated procedures for multi-objective planning and the economic analysis of alternatives, including the assessment of secondary benefits and spillover effects and the assessment of social values, had been available since the establishment of the American Water Resources Council, in 1961 and the publication of the historic U.S. Senate Document 97 in 1962.2 It is true that most other Australian water resources agencies used similarly unsophisticated evaluation procedures in

1967, and some of them still continue to do so. On the other hand the H.E.C. has always been notable for its leadership in engineering technology in Australia, with pioneering developments in such fields as rockfill dam construction, prestressed concrete construction, tunnel construction, penstock design and hydrologic design,

and has had a policy of sending engineers to the U.S.A. to bring back and put into practice the latest technological developments. It is therefore difficult to understand why this organisation should have failed to adopt the most modern techniques for engineering economic analysis. It is noteworthy that in 1963 Burton presented a paper to an international water resources conference in Canberra3 in which attention was

drawn to the need for detailed hydro-economic analysis in the planning of water storage projects and it was pointed out that such analyses were the exception rather than the rule in Australia. This paper was strongly criticised by a representative of the H.E.C. who claimed that his organisation was already well advanced in the use of such

1 Proposed Practices fo r Economic Analysis o f River Basin Projects (The Green Book), Inter-Agency Committee on Water Resources, U.S. (Govt) Printing Office. The 1958 edition is the most recent. 2 Policies Standards and Procedures in the Formulation, Evaluation and Review o f Plans fo r Use and Development o f Water and Related Land Resources, U.S. Congress, Senate Document 97; 87th Congress 1962. 3 J. R. Burton, ‘Hydro-Economic Planning for Australia’s Water Resources’, in Water Resources Use and Management

(Melbourne Univ. Press, 1963).

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techniques.1 It might also be noted that the first detailed and fully publicised application of benefit-cost analysis to a water project in Australia was in fact undertaken in Tasmania in 1960, not by the H.E.C., but by the Launceston Flood Mitigation Authority.2

The importance of a careful and comprehensive specification of planning objectives and the application of the most up-to-date selection criteria and methodology in any major development project cannot be over-emphasised. All the shortcomings apparent in the planning and decision-making processes involved in the Lake Redder controversy stem from the fact that the planning objectives and evaluation criteria were totally inadequate for a situation where the proposed scheme

involved considerable environmental impact and the potential alienation of large areas of Crown Land which some people at least considered to be far from worthless. Had more careful attention been given to the development of planning objectives and evaluation criteria, there might not have been any Lake Redder controversy.

The above criticisms notwithstanding, it must be pointed out that the Hydro­ Electric Commission in 1966 and 1967 faced strong pressures for the rapid construction of additional generating plant. These pressures have largely been ignored in the conservationist literature criticising the Commission. They must nevertheless have been a significant factor in the Commission’s decision to proceed with the Scheme and may have forced it to rush its investigations and adopt public

attitudes which might have been different had the pressures been less urgent. The nature of these pressures was explained in the Commission’s Report to the Premier of 1 May 1967. On the one hand Tasmania suffered a prolonged drought during the 1960s—the hydro-electric storages were drawn down to an unprecedented level in 1966 and 1967 and severe power rationing was introduced. On the other hand, the Commission believed that it faced an urgent demand for additional generating capacity. In the second paragraph of the Introduction to the Report it was stated that:

‘At no time in its history has the Hydro-Electric Commission been faced with demands for additional supplies o f power comparable in magnitude with those before it at the present time. Almost every major industrial undertaking established in Tasmania is at present engaged in a program o f expansion and entirely new industrial plants are being set up.’

In a later section of the Report a list was given of specific demands for increased energy from eight major industrial firms, all covered by contract with the H.E.C. and scheduled to start taking power from the system between October 1966 and January 1970. These demands in toto represented an additional load of 127 megawatts and an increased annual energy demand approaching 1000 million kilowatt hours per

annum. Information was also given about other industrial concerns proposing new developments having substantial power demands. On the basis of these and other factors the Commission’s forecasts for load growth over the period to 1975 were prepared and presented in the Report. From these forecasts the Commission con­ cluded that it would not be able to construct the Middle Gordon Scheme in time to meet expected demands in 1973 and the concurrent proposal for the construction of a thermal station at Bell Bay was put forward to meet this eventuality.

It subsequently transpired, as has been discussed in detail in Section 5.3, that the actual rate of growth in demand was substantially less than the Commission anticipated in 1967 and the Bell Bay station has in fact had very little use.

1 P. 472, Water Resources Use and Management (op. citj. The H.E.C. representative stated, inter alia ‘. . . I am surprised by Mr Burton's implication that reasonable economic analysis and optimisation of water development schemes is rarely carried out by Australian water development authorities. Such studies are invariably carried out by the Hydro-Electric Commission in Tasmania during the formulation, investigation and design of schemes.’ ‘2 C. H. Munro, ‘Methods of Investigation of Flood Damage Mitigation Proposals’, Journal Institution o f Engineers,

Australia, vol 33,1961.

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Two points relevant to the Lake Pedder controversy as a whole can perhaps be inferred from the foregoing discussion. Firstly, the Commission may have been motivated in 1966-67 by a genuine sense of urgency, brought about partly by the continuing drought and partly by the apparent need for the rapid construction of

additional generating capacity, to short-cut its investigations and press for the flooding of Lake Pedder regardless of its environmental effects. Secondly, realisation in the early 1970s that the rate of growth in demand was substantially less than had been anticipated and that Lake Pedder had significant scientific values which the

limited biological survey of 1967 had not revealed, may have led the staff of the Commission to conclude that the earlier decision, made under pressure, had perhaps been unwise. Whilst the Committee is unable to substantiate these inferences, and would certainly not wish them to be taken as conclusions, they may well go a long way towards explaining the Commission’s reluctance to reveal detailed information about

its plans in 1966 and 1967, its belated public rationalisation of these plans in 1972, and its unwillingness to co-operate with this Committee of Enquiry in 1973.

6.3 Engineering Investigations When the H.E.C. commenced its engineering investigations for the Gordon River proposal in the early 1950s, the area concerned was inaccessible and uninhabited and virtually no topographic, geologic or hydrologic data were available. During the ensuing decade, H.E.C. staff made a notable effort in field exploration and data

collection. The nature of the terrain imposed special difficulties and much of the early work was undertaken using helicopters and tracked vehicles. Whilst little detailed information about these investigations is available, it is clear from McKenry’s paper and other sources1 that this work was thorough and highly competent. Some

noteworthy advances in Australian engineering technology appear to have been made in the process, including the use of low-level air photography for damsite surveys, the development of improved techniques for the extrapolation of short-term hydrologic data and the application of computer simulation studies for reservoir and system

design. Major difficulties were encouraged and successfully overcome in the foundation exploration and preparation for the Gordon damsite and the Gordon dam itself is an impressive engineering structure, which involved extremely complex design

based on scale model and computer analysis studies undertaken in Portugal, Wales and Tasmania. A particularly interesting feature of this design investigation was a study of stress distribution in the abutments due to water loading, which involved the use of a plaster model with mercury loading and included a consideration of the

effects of faulting in the valley floor. The Serpentine and Scott’s Peak dams also incorporated technically interesting solutions to difficult engineering problems. All in all the Gordon River Power Development Stage I is a major civil engineering achievement, a fact which is very much to the credit of the H.E.C. but has

unfortunately been obscured by the Lake Pedder controversy. It is also clear that knowledge of and pride in this unsung achievement—which at another time and in another place might have resulted in considerable publicity and public acclaim—has

been a major factor in hardening the opposition of H.E.C. staff to the ‘Save Lake Pedder’ movement. It must be concluded that the engineering investigations which led to the design and construction of the structures comprising the Gordon River Scheme as it is now being implemented were sufficient, adequate and competent. It is not so evident,

however, that the same can be said for the investigation of the alternative ways of developing the project which might have avoided the flooding of the lake.

1 Information about the technical features of the Scheme will be found in the paper by Η. H. Thomas, ‘The Gordon River Hydroelectric Development— Stage One’, published in Water Power, March 1971.

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Apart from the evidence of McKenry, who had opportunity to study the H.E.C. reports, the only detailed information in this regard available to the Committee is to be found in the transcript of the H.E.C.’s evidence before the Legislative Council’s Select Committee. This evidence, which cannot be directly quoted, is confusing and in places incomprehensible, particularly where it relates to technical and financial aspects of the alternative schemes. For example, in relation to the alternative most favoured by the Select Committee, the one involving diversion of the Huon through Lake Redder and pumping from the reduced Serpentine Storage, answers to questions about the number and capacity of the pumps required were vague and inconsistent and cost figures could not be given. Answers to questions about the structures needed in and around Lake Redder itself appear to have been designed to mystify the Select

Committee, whose members had no technical qualifications; they include a reference to problems introduced by the clockwise or anti-clockwise rotation of water in different hemispheres. A technically knowledgeable reader of this evidence is forced to one of two conclusions—either the H.E.C. had very little real information to offer about the alternative proposals, or else the H.E.C. witness was deliberately trying to confuse the members of the Select Committee.

Some indication of the real extent of the H.E.C.’s investigation into the alternatives can also be inferred from what the Commission has written about them in its official statements about the Scheme and its replies to correspondence and public criticism from conservationist groups. The vague character of the material contained

in Why Lake Pedder is Being Enlarged1 and the obviously approximate nature of the few cost estimates which have been made public indicate that these estimates were based on extremely sketchy information. It is apparent, for example, that no attempt was made to undertake a reconnaissance survey of a possible route for the by-pass canal around Lake Pedder in order that a preliminary design and cost estimate could be produced. Similarly, field reconnaissance and preliminary design for cost estimation purposes does not appear to have been undertaken for such features as the hydraulic structures needed to bring the Huon waters through Lake Pedder, or the structures and equipment needed for the Serpentine pumping station.

It is concluded by this Committee, on the basis of the evidence cited above, that there was inadequate investigation of the possible alternatives to the preferred Gordon Scheme. It must be inferred that once the decision to develop the Gordon via a major dam at the Knob had been reached, further investigation and design was aimed principally at the implementation of the Scheme selected for recommendation to Parliament, and very little real consideration was given to possible alternative ways of achieving a similar objective without flooding Lake Pedder.

The extent to which this action was conditioned by the factors mentioned at the end of Section 6.2 is not known. It might be pointed out, however, that such action might have been considered inevitable in the light of the evaluation criterion adopted by the H.E.C. If the Commission’s objective was just to produce power at minimum cost per kilowatt hour of continuous output, any alternative that involved a reduced supply of water or an increase in capital expenditure must inevitably have resulted in

a higher cost per unit output, regardless of what environmental or sociological benefits it might offer. No detailed engineering investigation would be needed to prove this point. As with other aspects of the planning process discussed in this section, the real deficiencies had their origin in the limitations imposed by the planning objectives and evaluation criterion adopted by the Commission.

1 See Section 5.2.

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6.4 Economic Investigations It will be apparent from Section 6.2 that this Committee believes there were inadequacies in the economic investigations relevant to the decision to flood Lake Pedder and that these arose primarily from the nature of the project evaluation

criterion adopted by the Commission. The complexities inherent in the economic analysis of hydro-electric projects have been emphasised in section 5.2. It is possible that a detailed benefit-cost analysis of the Gordon River proposals, which took the many complex factors mentioned in that

section into account, was undertaken by the H.E.C.; but if this were so, no evidence of it has been put forward. Given the cost and magnitude of the Gordon River Project, the implications of the proposal to flood Lake Pedder and the state of the art of project evaluation in the mid-

1960s, an economic analysis of the H.E.C. proposal might have incorporated the following aspects: A detailed benefit-cost analysis of the preferred scheme, including a study of the net benefits accruing from the project in isolation; a study of the incremental benefits

and costs accruing from the addition of this project to the entire H.E.C. system; an evaluation of secondary benefits (e.g. those arising from increased tourist and recreational activities at the new lake); a consideration of the opportunity costs of the inundation of the Lake Pedder National Park; a study of the opportunity costs of the

substantial investment of Government funds required by the project; and a comparison of the net benefits accruing from the preferred project with the net benefits accruing from all the feasible alternatives. There is however no direct evidence that any of these matters was investigated.

Published cost figures for the selected project and the alternatives have invariably been presented in an abbreviated form. In the Commission’s Report to the Premier of 1 May 1967, brief details of the cost of the preferred Scheme were given for the first time. The total capital cost was estimated at $84 276 000, which included $58 913 000

for civil works, $10 852 000 for electrical works and $14 511 000 for interest during construction. An additional allowance of $10 724 000 for cost escalation during the period of construction brought the total estimated capital expenditure for the project to $95 000 000.

A brief table giving estimated annual costs for the project was also included in the Report. This amounted to $5 029 000, made up of $4 214 000 for interest charges, $465 000 for depreciation and loan redemption and $350 000 for operation and maintenance. These figures were based on an interest rate of 5%, calculated as a weighted average rate on the basis of the interest charges payable by the Commission

on the various sources of loan funds from which it was proposed to finance the project. The project life on which these annual cost figures were calculated was not revealed. Estimates of the cost of the alternatives which might have avoided the flooding of

Lake Pedder were first revealed in evidence before the Legislative Council’s Select Committee and were expressed essentially in terms of capitalised value, an expression which very clearly confused the members of the Select Committee. The only cost figures for these alternatives quoted by the Select Committee in its report referred to the alternative which involved passing the Huon waters through Lake Pedder and pumping from a lowered Serpentine storage, which was stated to be ‘the only one

which gave the Committee any hope of an acceptable modification’.1 The Committee stated that ‘it was estimated that the additional capital cost of this modification would

1 Select Committee Report, p.6.

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be at least $5 000 000 and as high as $8 000 000. Even at the lowest estimate this would result in an increased annual cost to the State of $250 000 representing an increased generating cost of 0.032 cents per kilowatt hour, making the cost of power per unit increase from 0.38 to 0.41 cent.’

It is interesting to speculate on the reasons which led the Select Committee to reject these costs as unreasonable. The increased capital cost, about 6% of the total estimated cost of the project, was substantially less'than the amount normally allowed for contingencies in major civil engineering projects; whilst the increased cost of energy quoted was still substantially less than the unit costs quoted in the Commission’s Report on the Gordon Project for the Bell Bay thermal station (0.55 cents per kilowatt hour) and the Mersey-Forth Power Development (0.46 cents per kilowatt hour).

At the same time it is difficult to reconcile the estimate of $5 million which the H.E.C. gave for this alternative in its evidence to the Select Committee with its more recent estimates for the costs of the pumped storage alternatives. It might be noted that very little by way of official information has been published in this regard, most of the cost estimates quoted in newspaper correspondence or public statements during the controversy having been based on approximate figures quoted from time to time in Parliament. In March 1972, however, the then Premier, Mr Bethune, wrote a letter to the President of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust1 in which he gave an itemised estimate for the cost of the alternative involving abandoning the Huon waters and pumping from a reduced Serpentine storage. This estimate included costs for the works and equipment needed to convert the Serpentine storage to a pumped storage system as follows:

Modified spillway at Serpentine Dam $1 000 000

Serpentine pumping station and tunnel 3 500 000

Pumps and motors 4 500 000

Total capital cost $9 000 000

In addition, the Premier’s letter included capitalised costs for the value of energy used in pumping, the value of water lost during the construction of the modified project and additional interest and camp construction charges which totalled $6 600 000. On this basis the ‘through Lake Pedder’ alternative favoured by the Select

Committee, which involved a larger pumping installation, heavier pumping charges and the additional capital cost of the works necessary to protect Lake Pedder itself, might have been expected to be of the order of $20 000 000 or four times the H.E.C.’s 1967 estimate.

To further confuse the issue, the Commission itself in the statement Why Lake Peddar is Being Enlarged, issued a few weeks after the Premier’s letter was written, made two references to the estimated cost of the alternatives as follows:

‘For example, to adopt the flum e diversion scheme around Lake Pedder at the foot of the Frankland Range and to pump the Serpentine water to Lake Gordon would result in a capitalised economic loss to the electricity consumers o f the State o f at least $26 m illion’. And— ‘The only way o f achieving the retention o f Lake Pedder in its present form would be to abandon the diversion of the Huon and Serpentine Rivers altogether. The capitalised

econom ic loss resulting from this action would amount to at least $38 m illion’.

It is worth noting that McKenry1, quoting the transcript of the evidence put by the H.E.C. to the Select Committee, gave the H.E.C.’s 1967 estimate for the second of these alternatives as $14 000 000, or a little under one-third of the H.E.C.’s 1972 figure.

1 This letter has been reproduced in the publication, Lake Pedder— Why a National Park must be Saved, p. 50.

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This Committee of Enquiry, in its Interim Report, adopted Premier Bethune’s figures for its estimate of the cost of the ‘abandon Huon, pump from Serpentine’ alternative as a basis for estimating the likely total cost to the Australian Government should this alternative be adopted following a moratorium period. The Committee’s estimate was $31 million. The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation in its later

report on the Committee’s Interim Report estimated that this cost could range between $28 million and $48 million, depending upon load growth and the strategies adopted during and after the moratorium period. McKenry, quoting again from the transcript of evidence to the Select Committee, gave the H.E.C.’s 1967 estimate for

this alternative as $11 million. At this point it seems relevant to repeat this Committee of Enquiry’s contention that there was an inadequate investigation of the economics of the alternatives to the Middle Gordon Scheme which might have avoided the flooding of Lake Redder.

Perhaps it is also pertinent to quote from a letter written by the Premier of Tasmania to the Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation on 5 October 1971:1 2 ‘There would be no point in quoting figures— so easily misunderstood and so readily misconstrued in som e quarters— for the capital costs or energy costs involved in any o f the

suggested m odifications aimed at leaving Lake Redder unaffected by the Gordon scheme. There may be more than one feasible alternative, there may be more than one way of assessing the economics, but one fact is inescapable and that is that all the alternatives are too costly to be acceptable to my Government and this State.’

Apart from the specific points about the cost estimates for the Scheme and the alternatives discussed above, there are some more general issues, relevant to the Committee’s Terms of Reference, which merit discussion here. The first of these relates to the interest rate adopted by the Commission in its calculations. As already

indicated, this rate was based on the weighted average rate of interest payable by the Commission and was explained in the Report on the Gordon Scheme as follows: ‘Taking account o f the relative borrowings from the various sources, together with the statutory provisions from loan redemption, the weighted average rate o f interest has been

assessed at approximately 5% per annum and this rate has been applied in the calculation o f the annual cost o f the development’.

The selection of an appropriate interest rate for the evaluation and comparison of water resource development alternatives is a crucial factor, particularly where long­ term projects involving considerable capital investment and substantial annual interest payments are concerned. This aspect has been extensively explored in the

water resources literature, and it is generally accepted that the appropriate rate for a particular project must be determined as a ‘minimum attractive rate of return’ which reflects the opportunity cost of alternative investment. This point was emphasised by Davis in his paper on the Lake Pedder Controversy3 in the following quotation:

‘Another of the current weaknesses in water resources planning in Australia is the failure to comprehend that the discount rate used in analysing development proposals should not be the long-term bond rate currently adopted, but some other figure taking account o f the weighted cost of capital used by the organisation, plus community opportunity cost and

time preference. Designers should also bear in mind that the long-term interest rate in Australia is not a “true” or free-market rate, but one managed by the government in the interests of fiscal policy. In this sense the current rate is not a true indicator of the real cost to the com m unity.’

Davis also drew attention to the need for a very careful selection of interest rate

1 Pedder Papers, p. 13. 2 This letter is reproduced in Pedder Papers, pages 58-59. 3 Water Power and Wilderness, op. cit.

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and the desirability of testing alternative rates and if necessary conducting a sensitivity analysis to assess the effects of likely changes in interest rate or possible variations in other economic parameters. Such considerations are seen to be

particularly important in a comparison between hydro-electric power development and thermal power development, as was the case in the Gordon Scheme investigation. Depending upon the interest rate selected, one or other of the alternatives might be favoured although capital and operating costs remain the same. Thus in the comparison of a hydro-electric proposal with a thermal proposal involving lower capital costs but higher operation and maintenance costs, the hydro scheme is likely to be more favourable at low interest rates, when the cost of capital recovery is low, but to become increasingly more expensive as the interest rate is increased until eventually the rate of capital recovery becomes so high that the thermal alternative becomes the favourable one. The effects of changing interest rates are nicely expressed in a few lines of verse written by the American economist Kenneth Boulding,1 which Davis has also quoted in his paper:

‘Around the mysteries o f finance We m ust perform a ritual dance Because the long-term interest rate Determines any project’s fate: At two per cent the case is clear At three, some sneaking doubts appear At four it draws its final breath While five per cent is sudden death.’

There is no direct evidence that the H.E.C., in arriving at its chosen interest rate, gave serious attention to the opportunity cost concept or undertook any sensitivity analysis to determine an appropriate rate. Some discussion of this problem was put to the Select Committee by an unnamed witness2 who made ‘a comprehensive submission to your Committee that the most economic future power program was one embodying solely thermal generating plant’.3 The Select Committee apparently gave this matter some attention and ‘discussed it in Canberra with two firms of United Kingdom consultants, who had formerly advised the Hydro-Electric Commission and were therefore conversant with the proposals for the area.4 It was also taken up with staff of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria.

It appears that these investigations did involve some consideration of alternative interest rates, since the Select Committee reported that at 5% the Gordon Scheme broke even with all-thermal generation. The Select Committee’s discussion of this matter was however confused and illogical and indicated a lack of understanding of the terminology of engineering economics. This discussion is quoted below:5

‘After an examination of all the submissions, the Committee reached the conclusion that no accepted method o f assessment gave a comparison favourable to all-thermal development. Employment of the discounted cash flow method of assessment, with a nominated interest rate o f 5%, resulted in a ‘break even’ o f the Middle Gordon Scheme, with an all-thermal development of comparable output. However, your Committee is o f the opinion that this method is not the best which can be used, and favours a more

comprehensive assessment based on relative annual costs. This latter method was adopted by the Hydro-Electric Commission and overseas

1 K. Boulding, ‘The Engineer and the Economist: Economic Dynamics of Water Resource Development’, in Smith & Castle, Economics and Public Policy in Water Resource Development (Iowa State University Press, 1964). 2 Later identified as Mr H. Mathias. 3 Select Committee Report, p. 5. 4 Select Committee Report, p. 6.

5 Select Committee Report, p. 6.

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consultants in their calculations and as stated later substantially favours the proposed development. The Committee believes that the “present worth” and “benefit-cost” methods of assessment are valuable as checks but should not be applied as the yardstick of judgement between the proposals.’

The Select Committee in the same section of its report referred to the fact that consideration of projected further development on the Gordon River swung the balance further in favour of the Middle Gordon Scheme. There was considerable reference to the effects of the proposed Olga Scheme in the evidence presented to the

Select Committee by the H.E.C. which presented figures designed to show that the alternatives would be more expensive if their effects on possible later developments were considered. The Select Committee Report1 also made reference to computer studies made by the H.E.C. to simulate the long-term operation of the overall system

and examine the economics of possible future thermal and hydro developments. It is therefore extremely difficult to judge just what amount of detail and sophistication went into the H.E.C.’s economic analysis. On the one hand the cost figures published by the H.E.C. have been bald and authoritarian, with no details of the basis on which they were calculated. Furthermore the costs quoted for the

alternatives have largely been presented in terms of capitalised value, not on the annual cost basis said to have been favoured by the H.E.C. and the Select Committee. On the other hand, it can be inferred from the Select Committee report and the

transcript of the evidence presented to that Committee by the H.E.C. that at least some complex economic analysis, certainly involving computer simulation of the system and a consideration of long-term developments, was undertaken by the Commission. The issue is complicated by the obvious confusion of the Select

Committee members about basic economic terminology and the complex and at times incomprehensible nature of the H .E .C ’s answers to questions put by members of the Committee. It is important in this context to distinguish between the use of economic analysis

to decide upon the optimal scale of development of a particular project or to compare alternative opportunities for capital investment, and the use of economic analysis to choose between alternatives which both provide exactly the same service. Benefit-cost analysis is applicable to the first two kinds of problem: a simple cost comparison, whether it be calculated on the basis of present worth, annual cost, capitalised value

or discounted cash flow, may be entirely adequate for the last. Whilst there has been considerable argument about the costing of the possible alternatives to the selected Gordon Scheme, there appears to have been no public discussion whatever about the economic basis on which this Scheme itself was selected. No information has been made public to justify the decision to make the Gordon Dam 460 feet high, instead of

400 feet or 500 feet or somewhere in between; nor does there appear to have been any public questioning of this decision. One might for example ask why the H.E.C. decided to store the very considerable volume of 12 million acre feet with a top level of SL 1010, instead of, say, reducing the stored volume and lowering the top water level to below

SL 960, to avoid the flooding of Lake Redder and permit gravity flow from a reduced Serpentine storage into the Gordon. It is conceivable that a benefit-cost analysis, considering the reduced costs involved in a smaller dam and the possible benefits to be gained from the saving of Lake Redder and weighing these against the

correspondingly reduced power output, might have favoured such a solution. There is no indication that any such study was undertaken; and curiously, there is no evidence that the opponents of the Scheme ever raised this issue, all the proposals for

1 Select Committee Report, p. 6.

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alternatives which might have saved the lake having unquestioningly accepted that the full supply level of the Gordon storage must be at S L 1010. Comment might also be made about the H.E.C.’s use of capitalised value as a basis for evaluating the alternatives. The capitalised value approach has been used by civil engineers for nearly 100 years to compare alternatives which provide the same service, have very long service lives, and are characterised by conditions involving a stable income, high interest costs and relatively low operating and maintenance costs: it is therefore appropriate for the comparison of hydro-electric alternatives. It is not however an approach that is easily understood by the general public.

Capitalised value is simply the present worth of the cost of providing a service in perpetuity. It it calculated by dividing the interest rate into the equivalent annual cost; and conversely, capitalised value is converted to equivalent annual cost by multiplying it by the interest rate.1 But the term ‘annual cost’ is more meaningful to

the general public than the term ‘capitalised value’, which somehow implies an immediate capital outlay. Using an example taken from the Select Committee’s report which has already been quoted,2 (the estimated additional cost of the ‘through Lake Pedder’ alternative) the public might be expected to make different decisions when offered the options of:

(a) an immediate outlay of $5 million; (b) an increased annual cost of $250 000; (c) an increase in power charges of 0.03 cents per kilowatt hour, as alternatives for the cost of saving Lake Pedder; but at 5% interest rate these amounts are all

equivalent in an economic sense, and all have a capitalised value of $5 million.

Whether or not the economic analysis on the basis of which the H.E.C. made its decision to flood Lake Pedder was insufficient or inadequate is not certain, because no real details of this analysis are available. It can certainly be stated, however, that the economic information which the H.E.C. gave the Tasmanian Parliament and the general public was an inadequate and insufficient basis for justifying such a decision. As already suggested, the reason for this serious shortcoming can be attributed very largely to the nature of the Commission’s evaluation criterion: if minimum cost per kilowatt hour is the chosen objective, there is perhaps little point in making a benefit- cost analysis. It is nevertheless pertinent to question whether the selected project will in fact provide additional power at minimum cost per kilowatt hour of continuous

output: nowhere in the original H.E.C. Report to the Premier or in any other evidence available to the Committee is there any information to prove that this is so. All that can be said is that the selected Scheme apparently provides power at a lower unit cost than any of the alternatives investigated by the Commission; it is by no means certain that there was no cheaper way of producing power from the Gordon region. In other words, there is no certainty that the H.E.C. even met its own criterion.

6.5 Scientific Investigations The alleged inadequacy of the H.E.C.’s scientific investigations has been a major feature of the Lake Pedder controversy, particularly since 1971, and this aspect has been explored in detail in Sections 5.4 and 5.5. It is the opinion of this Committee that:

1 It should be noted that present worth is calculated by dividing the equivalent annual cost by a factor which depends on the interest rate and the life of the project; for very long service lives this factor approximates to the interest rate, so that present worth becomes the same as capitalised value. The Select Committee’s stated preference for the annual cost approach over the present worth approach is difficult to understand when it is appreciated that one is related to the other by a simple multiplication. 2 Select Committee Report, p. 6.

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(a) The Lake Redder National Park had very significant scientific values, particularly in relation to its geomorphology, biology and ecology. (b) The Hydro-Electric Commission made only a token investigation of these values prior to the submission of its Report on the Gordon River Power

Development. (c) This investigation was totally inadequate and failed to identify any of the significant features of the Park or the lake itself. (d) The investigation was undertaken only three months before the Report was

submitted, although engineering investigations on which the proposal was based had been carried out for more than ten years previously. The decision to flood the lake had already been made by the H.E.C.’s Power Committee before the investigation was mounted. (e) The recommendation contained in the report of the investigating party, to the

effect that a more detailed investigation was necessary, was ignored. (f) The subsequent recommendation of the Legislative Council Select Committee, that further biological investigations were necessary, was never implemented. (g) Subsequent attempts made by Professor Jackson of the University of

Tasmania and Mr Hodgman, a member of the Legislative Council, to mount scientific investigations, were rejected by the Tasmanian Government. (h) Independent investigations by a number of biologists subsequently revealed that the lake was of major international biological and ecological significance

and a range of endemic species was identified. These investigations were ignored by the H.E.C. and the Tasmanian Government.

It must be concluded that the Hydro-Electric Commission made a totally inadequate and insufficient investigation of scientific factors prior to its decision to flood the lake; that the Tasmanian Parliament gave inadequate attention to these factors in its decision to flood the lake; and that the mounting body of evidence

regarding the importance of these factors has continued to be ignored up to the present time. It is difficult to understand how the Hydro-Electric Commission, in making a decision to flood a National Park, should have failed to give more serious weight to the

scientific values of that Park, which presumably had been declared a scenic reserve by the Tasmanian Government for other than trivial reasons. It appears that this can largely be attributed to two factors: the limited scope of the Commission’s planning objectives and evaluation criteria, which have already been commented upon in

detail, and the narrow scope of the Commission’s professional expertise. The Hydro-Electric Commission is an engineering organisation with an established level of professional excellence in the civil, mechanical and electrical engineering fields. It appears to be a close-knit and tightly disciplined organisation

and might be considered the archetype of the kind of government instrumentality described as a ‘guild authority’ by John Power of the Canberra C.A.E. in a recent paper.1 Such organisations are common amongst public works agencies in Australia, particularly in the water resources field. They tend to internalise expertise, to avoid

independent review of their proposals, to discourage public knowledge of their activities, and to have limited (generally single-purpose) objectives. Because of their staff structure and the nature of their charter, such organisations are ill-equipped to handle problems which involve multiple-objective planning, environmental considerations or inter-disciplinary co-operation. Many of them are beginning to appreciate that an increasing number of the projects with which they are

1 I. Power, The Environmental Politics o f Coastal Zones, paper given at Australia—UNESCO symposium T helm pactof Human Activities on Coastal Zones, 9-11 May 1973, University of Sydney (proceedings in press).

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involved require a much wider range of disciplines than are to be found in their staff, and these are broadening their outlook by employment of a wider range of professions, co-operating with other instrumentalities in inter-departmental activities, and engaging consultants expert in fields in which they have no competence. Others,

regretably, appear to react in another way by drawing within themselves and refusing to acknowledge that problems outside their own field or expertise exist. The Hydro­ Electric Commission was one such organisation in 1967: the experience of this Committee suggests that it is still very much so. This is nowhere more apparent than in the Commission’s attitude to the scientific aspects of the Lake Redder affair.

6.6 Recreational and Aesthetic Investigations The recreational and aesthetic values offered by the Lake Redder National Park, and the H.E.C.’s alleged disregard for these values, have also been a major feature of the Lake Redder controversy. An attempt to analyse these values has been made in Sections 5.6 and 5.7, whilst the way they have figured in the controversy has been outlined in Chapter 4. It is the opinion of this Committee that:

(a) The Lake Redder National Park possessed significant aesthetic and recreational values. These values will be largely destroyed by the flooding of the Park. (b) To many people these values are of major importance—some consider them to

be priceless. Such people are not only Tasmanians—many other Australians placed high value on Lake Redder and its environs and consider the area to be part of the national heritage. (c) When it became apparent to the H.E.C. that its preferred plan for the development of the water resources of the Gordon region involved the flooding of the Serpentine Valley, several alternatives aimed at avoiding the inundation of Lake Redder itself were investigated. (d) These alternatives were all rejected by the H.E.C., apparently on the basis of

cost but allegedly also on aesthetic grounds. (e) There does not appear to have been any attempt by the H.E.C. to assess the aesthetic and recreational values of the Lake Redder National Park on any kind of quantitative basis. Whilst it is accepted that a fully quantitative

assessment of such features is not feasible, semi-quantitative aids to planning and decision making based on measures of public attitudes and values have been developed and applied in other places. (f) One commonly used aid to planning and decision making under those

circumstances is to assess the cost of preserving a particular feature and then to make a value judgement as to whether it is worth this cost. The H.E.C. made such cost estimates, but there is no evidence that it made any such value judgments. It certainly did not offer the Tasmanian Parliament the

opportunity to do so. (g) The criterion adopted by the H.E.C. for the selection of alternatives did not in any case allow for any real weight to be given to aesthetic or recreational values. (h) It is argued by the H.E.C. and the Tasmanian Government that the chosen

scheme offers new recreational and aesthetic values which are at least the equal of those formerly offered by the Lake Redder National Park. This is largely a matter of opinion, since the new values do not yet exist and cannot be assessed even qualitatively. It is however clear that a great many people disagree with the H.E.C.’s opinion.

It is difficult to say whether there was insufficient or inadequate consideration by

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the H.E.C. of the aesthetic and recreational values of Lake Redder. There is no evidence that the H.E.C. sought the advice of geographers and others knowledgeable in the recreation field or that it sought the advice of artists and others knowledgeable in aesthetics. On the other hand, a great deal of gratuitous advice in this regard was

thrust upon the H.E.C. once its plans for flooding the lake became known. In the opinion of this Committee, the H.E.C. did not give sufficient attention to likely public feeling for the aesthetic and recreational values of the Lake Redder National Park before it proceeded with its decision to flood the area. Its activities in

relation to the Scenery Preservation Board and the Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West, and the secrecy with which it pursued its investigations and undertook its planning, suggest that it might have been afraid to do so. It is conceivable that the pressures discussed in the last part of Section 6.2 were

responsible for this state of affairs. Nevertheless, it is this Committee’s opinion that insufficient weight was given to these factors in the decision to proceed with the Middle Gordon Scheme.

6.7 The Decision-making Sequence The sequence of decisions which led to the flooding of Lake Redder can be considered in four phases, viz.

(a) the decisions made by the Hydro-Electric Commission prior to May 1967; (b) the decisions made by the Tasmanian Parliament in 1967; (c) the subsequent decisions by the conservationists to have these decisions reversed;

(d) the decisions made since the appointment of this Committee of Enquiry.

The decision to flood Lake Redder was essentially made by the Hydro-Electric Commission. On the basis of McKenry’s account it can be inferred that this decision was made in November 1966 when the H.E.C.’s Power Committee considered and decided against the alternatives. In effect it was essentially made as early as 1962

when the basic decision to build a dam at the ‘Knob’ site was reached and the submission to the Australian Government for a special grant to construct an access road into the Gordon-Serpentine area was formulated.1 As already discussed, the decision to flood the lake was made principally on cost

grounds. It is significant that it was made before the biological survey by the Museums’ team was undertaken and before the opinion of the consulting engineers, Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, was sought. On the reasonable assumption that the Museum survey was a confirmatory gesture and the fact that the consulting engineer’s

report was made under specific terms of reference that made it a check only of the Commission’s engineering and economic calculations, there was no effective overall outside professional review of the H.E.C.’s decision. The H.E.C. executive clearly believed that all the expertise necessary to make such

a decision existed within the Commission and that there was no need to offer anybody else, including the Tasmanian Parliament and certainly including the Tasmanian public, the opportunity to participate in this decision. Thus the report submitted to the Premier was very much of the ‘take it or leave it’ variety, with no indication that

any alternatives to the flooding of Lake Redder had been examined or indeed that there had been any earlier alternatives to the Middle Gordon Scheme itself. Subsequent events suggested that the Tasmanian Government was fully aware of

1 It is significant that the Submission on page 6 included the following statement: ‘The proposed location of this road is shown on the maps, its somewhat circuitous route being necessary to avoid areas which will subsequently be flooded by the Middle Gordon storages.’

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the H.E.C. decision and fully prepared to endorse it. The sequence of events during

H.E.C. Report submitted to Premier. A few days later the Premier announced that submission had already been made to Australian Government seeking $55 million special

assistance for Gordon project. H.E.C. Report tabled in Parliament and officially became public. Inter-Departmental Committee’s Report on South-West tabled in Parliament. Legislative Assembly decided to appoint Select Committee of Enquiry following public outcry. Hydro-Electric Commission (Power Development) Bill 1967 introduced into Lower House. Hydro-Electric Commission Bill (1967) introduced into Lower House. Opposition motion to adjourn debate on authorisation Bill until Select Committee findings available lost; Bill passed by Lower House. Premier obtained $47 million in bridging finance at Loan Council meeting in Canberra. Supplementary Bill passed in Lower House. Upper House set both Bills aside to await findings of Select Committee.

Select Committee Report presented in Upper House. Legislative Council passed authorisation Bill without amendment and supplementary Bill with some amendment. Lower House accepted amendment to supplementary Bill.

It is significant that the Inter-Departmental Committee’s Report had been submitted to government on 7 April 1967, several weeks prior to the presentation of the H.E.C. Report, to which it was clearly intended to be complementary. The submission to the Australian Government for special financial assistance had been

made some 11 months previously, prior even to the H.E.C.’s final decision to flood the lake. The Tasmanian Government was clearly in full accordance with the H.E.C. decision and used its majority to force the enabling legislation through the Lower House, regardless of the public outcry and despite the knowledge that a Select Committee of Enquiry had been appointed by the Upper House. To what extent the Premier and his Cabinet were aware that the H.E.C. had investigated alternatives which might have avoided flooding the lake is of course not known—but it is most

unlikely that many members of the Lower House knew of these investigations or the public would have come to hear of it. In retrospect, the actions of the Lower House appear to have had shortcomings in three respects: firstly, for having accepted in the face of considerable public outcry a decision involving the violation of a National Park without questioning whether there were any alternatives; secondly, in so doing, having abdicated its decision-making responsibility to the Hydro-Electric Commission; thirdly, for having passed the enabling Bill rapidly through the House with the full

knowledge that a Select Committee had been appointed by the Upper House, in response to strong public feeling, to enquire into the H.E.C. proposal and its effects on the National Park and to determine whether any modification of the proposed scheme was practicable or desirable.

During the period 1967 to 1972 several opportunities arose for a possible reconsideration of the decision to flood the lake, which could conceivably have led to a

1967 was as follows:

1 May 1967:

25 May 1967:

31 May 1967:

14 June 1967:

22 June 1967:

28 June 1967:

29 June 1967:

6 July 1967:

22 August 1967: 24 August 1967:

14 September 1967:

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modification of that decision or to the adoption of some measures to alleviate or compensate for the consequences of the flooding. These opportunities included the gazettal of the South-West National Park in 1968, when a much smaller area was set aside than the Legislative Council’s Select

Committee or the conservation groups headed by the South-West Committee had recommended and the Government made it clear that it was still not impressed by conservationist viewpoints; the period from late 1969 to early 1972 when the Liberal—Centre Party Government, in opposition when the original Parliamentary

decisions were made, had opportunity to modify these decisions; the moves for the establishment of a new Legislative Council Select Committee in July 1972, which were defeated by apparently dubious tactics within the Legislative Council itself; and the move in July 1972 to halt the flooding on legal grounds, which resulted in the

resignation of the Attorney-General and showed again that the Labor Government was still veiy much opposed to conservationist viewpoints. A final opportunity for reconsideration of the decision arose in 1973 when this Committee of Enquiry was appointed. It became apparent in the early stages of the

Enquiry that the attitudes of the Tasmanian Government and the Hydro-Electric Commission had changed very little since 1967, and the Government became adamant in its refusal to co-operate with the Committee when it became apparent that proposals for a moratorium on the flooding might be considered seriously. The

members of the Committee became convinced that Lake Pedder had significant aesthetic, recreational and scientific values which had not been properly considered in the decision-making process. It presented an Interim Report to the Minister for the Environment and Conservation in June 1973 which recommended that a moratorium

on the flooding of the lake be adopted to permit a re-evaluation of these factors and perhaps allow for the development of a satisfactory alternative to the flooding of the lake itself. It also recommended that any costs involved in such action should be met by the Australian Government.

It has been reported1 that this proposal was considered by the Federal Cabinet on 8 October 1973 and rejected. It has been further reported that it was considered and accepted by the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party on 17 October 1973 and that a telegram advising of this decision was sent to the Premier of Tasmania by the Prime

Minister on the following day.2 It was subsequently reported3 that the Australian Government’s proposal was considered by the Tasmanian Parliamentary Labor Party on 15 November 1973 and unanimously rejected. There the matter stands at the time of writing. Whether or not any further attempt to halt the flooding of Lake Pedder is

made, it is hoped that this Report will lead to the adoption of effective measures to ensure that the adverse consequences of the decision to flood the lake are alleviated or compensated for and that adequate steps will be taken to ensure that the deficiencies so apparent in this issue do not recur in future major Australian resource

development projects.

6.8 The Decision -Making responsibility.

The various official bodies responsible for decision making in the Lake Pedder affair can be considered in four categories, viz.

(a) the planning and constructing authority, the Hydro-Electric Commission; (b) the ultimate decision-making authority, the Tasmanian Parliament; (c) Public bodies having some opportunities to influence the decision, notably the

1 The Age, 9 October 1973. 2 The Australian, 18 October 1973. 3 The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 November 1973.

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Scenery Preservation Board, the Inter-Departmental Committee and the Select Committee of the Legislative Council; and (d) the Australian Government.

The Hydro-Electric Commission, under the terms of the Hydro-Electric Commission Act 1944, has wide-ranging powers which are defined in the following sections:

T5 (1) Subject to this Act, the Commission shall have the management and control o f the hydro-electric works and shall have and may exercise the rights, powers and authorities, and discharge the duties conferred or imposed on it by this Act.

(2) The Commission may, for and on behalf of the State— (a) construct any works, and may operate, manage, control, and generally carry on and conduct any business whatsoever, relating to or connected with the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale o f electrical energy, and carry out any purpose

in relation thereto which the Commission may deem desirable in the interest o f the State.’

Under the terms of the Act the responsibility for the authorisation of works undertaken by the Commission remains with the Tasmanian Parliament. This is provided for by section 16 (1), which reads as follows:

‘16 (1) No new power development shall be undertaken or constructed by the Commission unless and until it has been authorised by Parliament, whether before or after the commencement of this A ct.’

The manner in which the Commission shall propose such new developments is detailed in section 16 (2) as follows:

‘16 (2) The Public Works Committee Act 1914 shall not apply to any works o f the Commission, but before any proposals for any new power development are submitted to Parliament in accordance with this section the Commission shall furnish the Minister with a report on the new power development, setting out, so far as is practicable— (a) the opinion of the Commission as to the necessity or desirability o f the new power

development, together with its recommendations with respect thereto, and the reasons on which those recommendations are based; (b) the nature o f the new power development; (c) the estimated cost o f the new power development; (d) the amount proposed to be borrowed for the proposed works, (e) the amount proposed to be provided from the Commission’s depreciation account or

other moneys of the Commission; (f) the estimated annual cost o f working, maintenance, depreciation and interest; and (g) the annual revenue likely to be derived from the new power development.’

It will be noted that the responsibility of the Commission for the consideration of alternatives and of social or environmental issues relevant to the new proposals would appear to arise, if at all, only from the general words of section 16 (2) (a). This paragraph requires the Commission to set out only its own opinion as to ‘the necessity or desirability of the new development’: there is no requirement for any independent opinion or review. The remaining paragraphs of section 16 (2) require only a statement of direct costs and direct benefits in the form of annual revenue accruing from the proposed development, and make no reference to indirect benefits or costs, social welfare effects or environmental considerations.

Even that part of section 16 (2) (a) which refers to the Commission’s opinion as to the ‘necessity or desirability’ of the proposal might have been construed to refer only to the necessity or desirability of additional generation of electrical energy, and the ‘reasons’ which the Commission is required to submit might likewise have been

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construed to refer only to reasons why the additional generating capacity proposed is considered necessary. If this were the correct view, the H.E.C. would have acted strictly within its statutory charter in considering economic factors alone, and in rejecting any

alternative (no matter how desirable on other grounds), which involved greater cost, or less economic benefit over-all than the chosen scheme. The H.E.C. may perhaps have taken this view. One can well understand such an interpretation being given to s. 16 (2) (a), in the context of the times in which it was

enacted, and in the context of the Section itself, (with the whole emphasis of the remaining paragraphs on purely economic considerations, as it is). For all that the Committee is inclined to the view that such an interpretation is too narrow. It is difficult to accept that, even in 1944, Parliament should have intended that no weight whatever should be given to social or environmental factors. In the

Committee’s view the general words, ‘necessity or desirability’, should be broadly interpreted, and cannot be confined to purely economic considerations. Obviously the weight to be given to social and environmental factors (once it is conceded that it is proper that they be considered) is very much a matter of opinion. It

is obvious that a great deal more weight must now be given to such factors than might have been the case in 1944 or even 1967. For one thing, public opinion now demands it; for another, engineers themselves have become far more conscious of the need to view these questions in a broader context than was formerly the case.

Once the door is opened to a consideration of these wider factors, there is virtually no limit to the breadth of view, and the broad sweep of interests, which the Commission could and should take into account. As this Committee interprets the Act, any matter whatever which can be regarded as relevant to the question of

whether the proposed power development is necessary or desirable in the public interest can and should be taken into account by the Commission, in the proper exercise of its power under the statute. Thus without limiting the range of matters which the Commission should consider

in the exercise of its functions under s. 16 (2) (a), these should certainly include all the matters considered relevant in the discussion to be found elsewhere in this Report, such as the following:

1. Whether the proposed development would be economically advantageous; 2. Whether it is preferable to other possible types of power development, either for economic or environmental reasons; 3. Whether it involves the best allocation of the State’s water resources, having

regard to possible uses other than power development; 4. Whether it involves the best land use, or combination of possible land uses, for the lands affected by the proposal; 5. Whether the economic advantages are sufficient to outweigh the adverse social or

environmental effects, the loss of scientific and aesthetic values, the loss to recreation and tourism, et cetera·, 6. Whether adverse consequences of this kind can be avoided by the adoption of some alternative or modification of some aspects of the scheme, and if so at what

cost.

Whether the H.E.C. is so constituted as to enable it to assess adequately these broader considerations is of course another matter, to which some attention is devoted later in this Report. There is clearly much to be said for the establishment of a State authority specially constituted so as to fit it for the exercise of this kind of function,

such as a Land Utilisation Council of the kind discussed in Section 8.3 of this Report. In the meantime, in the absence of such an authority, it appears to this Committee

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to be incumbent upon the H.E.C. to do its best to assume the responsibilities implicit in this broader view of its function even under the existing Act. It seems very desirable that the Tasmanian Parliament also (when it is called upon to authorise a proposed power development) should take a closer look at these matters, making due allowances for the natural tendency of authorities such as the H.E.C. to favour (in all honesty) schemes of their own devising, to aspire to the monumental, or to give insufficient weight to broader social and environmental factors.

The public bodies which could have had some influence upon the decision to flood Lake Pedder included the Scenery Preservation Board, the Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West and the Select Committee of Enquiry appointed by the Legislative Council. Other agencies which might have been expected to be involved but do not appear to have figured in the controversy include the Rivers and Water

Supply Commission, authorised by the Water A ct 1957 to control the taking of water from streams and lakes and the Lands Department, responsible for the administra­ tion of Crown Lands. The organisation and function of the Scenery Preservation Board and its role in the declaration of the Lake Pedder National Park have been described in Section 5.6. Although Tasmania showed the way to the rest of Australia with the original establishment of this Board, the Board did not appear to have the power commensurate with its responsibility and it was clearly by-passed in the decision­ making process that led to the flooding of the National Park which had been established on its recommendation in 1955 and which it had subsequently managed and administered. This seems all the more curious in view of the fact that the

Commissioner of the H.E.C. was a member of the Scenery Preservation Board. The role the Scenery Preservation Board might have played in the decision­ making process appears to have been usurped by the Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West, of which the Commissioner of the H.E.C. was Chairman. The role

and function of this Committee has also been described in Section 5.6. It was made clear to this Committee of Enquiry, which had access to the minutes of the Scenery Preservation Board and heard submissions from two of its members, that the Board was not informed or consulted by the Inter-Departmental Committee regarding the flooding of the Lake Pedder National Park, which seems curious in view of the fact that the Commissioner of the H.E.C. and the Secretary for Lands were members of

both organisations. The report of the Inter-Departmental Committee, which had been convened to discuss the management and development of the South-West, dealt with the prospects in the South-West for primary industry, water power and tourism. It did not review the Middle Gordon Power Scheme proposal; rather, it accepted the development and discussed some of the consequences. Its general tone indicated that an area could be

declared a scenic reserve if no other use could be found for it. The scientific value and other intangible assets of the Lake Pedder area were not considered in any depth. The inundation of Lake Pedder was essentially dismissed as the loss of an airstrip. The Inter-Departmental Committee might have been expected to have some consideration for scientific, recreational and aesthetic values and to have acted as the H.E.C.’s conscience in this regard. In practice it concerned itself only with the development potential of the South-West, as its restricted membership might have indicated would happen. Although it had the potential to influence the decision to flood the lake by representing environmental and aesthetic considerations and the opportunity to press for multiple land use and the development of a regional policy for the area, it made no effort to do so.

The Select Committee appointed by the Legislative Council did appear to provide an opportunity for the independent review of the H.E.C.’s proposals that the Hydro-94

Electric Commission Act would appear to make the responsibility of the Tasmanian Parliament. Its establishment is noteworthy as the only concession the Tasmanian Parliament as a whole appears to have made to the public outcry which followed the announcement of the H.E.C.’s proposals.

The Select Committee’s terms of reference were comprehensive. It was empowered to enquire into:

(1) The establishment of the proposed Gordon River Power Development and its effect on Lake Pedder and the Lake Pedder National Park; (2) Whether any modification of the proposed scheme is practicable or desirable; (3) The proposal to establish a thermal power station in Tasmania;

(4) Any other matters incidental thereto. .

Some aspects of the Select Committee’s investigation have already been discussed in depth. It would appear that the Committee made a sincere and conscientious effort to deal with its terms of reference. It met thirty one times, including hearings in Canberra and Melbourne, and visited Canberra, the Snowy Mountains, Melbourne

(where discussions were held with overseas consultants and staff of the State Elec­ tricity Commission of Victoria) as well as the site of the proposed thermal station at Bell Bay and Lake Pedder itself. The Select Committee was undoubtedly embarrassed in its task by the fact that

the Lower House proceeded to pass the authorisation Bill without waiting to hear the results of the Committee’s deliberations. It is unfortunate that the hearings were held in camera and the transcript is still very difficult to obtain, this Committee having only had access to certain parts of the H.E.C.’s evidence. It would appear that close

attention was given to those people representing conservationist viewpoints who wanted to give evidence to the Committee—but it is reported that the conservationist case was fragmented and uncoordinated and whilst some aspects of it were very sound, others were inaccurate and over-emotional. The H.E.C. was given the

opportunity to be present throughout the hearings and to answer criticisms levelled at it. As has been indicated, the Select Committee concluded that ‘no modification of the proposed Gordon River Scheme is practicable or desirable’. It also made a

number of recommendations aimed at alleviating or compensating for the effects of the flooding of Lake Pedder, few of which have been put into effect. It was particularly critical of the Hydro-Electric Commission for its secrecy and lack of

concern for public interest. It commented upon the H.E.C.’s claim that it is precluded from disclosing particulars of its new power development proposals to the public until its final plan has been submitted to the Minister by recommending that there should be ‘an immediate review and re-appraisal of its public relations policy’. The following

quotation from the Report is relevant:1 ‘If, for example, after submitting its report to the Minister, the Commission had made public details o f its investigations into an alternative scheme designed to avoid flooding Lake Pedder which for various reasons had to be rejected, a great deal of the present

resentment may have been avoided. ‘The Committee itself did not become aware that this alternative scheme had been considered by the Commission until late in its enquiries and points out that earlier evidence of it would have greatly facilitated its work.’

The whole issue of public involvement in decision making and the extent to which secrecy in planning and decision making is desirable or necessary is central to the Lake Pedder controversy. This issue is discussed in more detail in Section 6.5.

1 Select Committee Report, p. 13.

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It is difficult to determine at what points the Federal Government might have involved itself in the decision-making process during the Lake Redder controversy. There would appear to have been at least four occasions when some kind of Federal intervention might have been possible. These were in 1962, when the Tasmanian Government sought a special grant of $5 million for the construction of the Gordon Road; in 1966, when the Tasmanian Government sought $55 million special assistance for the construction of the Middle Gordon Project itself; in June 1967, when the Loan Council provided $47 million in bridging finance; and in 1972 when Tasmanian conservationists approached the Federal Government seeking special financial assistance to meet the cost of saving the lake. A possible further opportunity

also arose late in 1973 with the submission of this Committee’s Interim Report, seeking the Federal Government’s consideration of its recommendation for a moratorium to be financed by the Australian Government. Under the Australian Constitution, Federal involvement in matters of this sort is difficult, since the States exercise sovereign right over their land and water resources

and can determine how they shall allocate their own Loan Funds. On the other hand it can be argued that many of the scenic and recreational features to be found in individual States are part of a national heritage, and the use of the term ‘National Park’ carries such an implication.

Under present legislation the only feasible manner of intervention by the Federal Government in matters of this sort is by co-operative arrangement with the State concerned, whereby the State is financially compensated for having to make provision for the interests of Australians at large by the Federal Government meeting the additional cost involved. The appropriate time for such intervention would appear to be when financial assistance for the project is first sought. Further aspects of this question are discussed in Chapter 8.

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7 THE FUTURE MANAGEMENT OF LAKE PEDDER:

THE COMMITTEE’S SECOND TERM OF REFERENCE

7.1 Scope of the Committee’s Recommendations The Committee’s Second Term of Reference was as follows:

2. To suggest what action, if any, might be taken to alleviate, or compensate for, any adverse consequence which may be considered to have arisen from the flooding of Lake Redder.’

This item of the Committee’s Terms of Reference was the basis for the disagreement between the Tasmanian Government and the Australian Government about the conduct of this Enquiry. It was contended by the Premier of Tasmania and the Commissioner of the Hydro-Electric Commission that this Term could be

interpreted to allow a recommendation that Lake Pedder should be drained. It was further contended that such a recommendation would be totally unacceptable to the Tasmanian Government, which had made the decision to flood the lake in accordance with due Parliamentary procedure. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the decision

to flood Lake Pedder was the prerogative of the Government of Tasmania and no concern of the Government of Australia, which had no rights in the matter. Following an exchange of telegrams between the Premier of Tasmania and the Prime Minister of Australia and discussions in Hobart between the Premier and the

Australian Minister for the Environment and Conservation, the Minister issued a statement confirming that this Term of Reference would not be withdrawn. The Premier replied by announcing that his Government would not participate any further in the Enquiry. This announcement was made on 30 April 1973 during the

Committee’s second visit to Hobart. The Commissioner of the Hydro-Electric Commission subsequently stated in a letter to the Chairman of this Committee that the Commission would not participate in the Enquiry beyond having an officer present at the public hearings and preparing an historical statement. As has already

been indicated, this statement has not appeared. This Committee, on the basis of evidence presented to it, accepted the view that the loss of the values associated with Lake Pedder was an adverse consequence of its flooding. It subsequently prepared an Interim Report recommending a moratorium

on the flooding of the lake, because it considered there was time for a re-assessment of the decision which led to this flooding. Since this proposal has been widely misinterpreted as a recommendation that Lake Pedder be restored, regardless of cost, part of this Chapter is devoted to a restatement and explanation of the Interim Report

proposal. Whether or not this proposal is accepted by the Tasmanian Government, there are several other aspects of the Gordon Power Development Stage I that constitute adverse consequences of the flooding of Lake Pedder. These relate on the one hand to the management of the enlarged Pedder impoundment, particularly in relation to

boating, fishing and the possibilities for rehabilitation of some of the endemic species found in Lake Pedder, and the wider problem of the management and expansion of the South-West National Park. These matters also are discussed in this Chapter.

7.2 The Moratorium Proposal During the course of the Enquiry the members of this Committee became convinced

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that the loss of the aesthetic, recreational and scientific values of Lake Redder was indeed an adverse consequence of its flooding. It appeared from evidence submitted to it and investigations put in hand by the Committee itself, that the need for additional generating capacity in Tasmania was not so great as had been anticipated by the H.E.C. in 1967, so that there might be time for some reconsideration of the decision to flood the lake. A proposal was put forward to the Committee by Mr Geoff Parr during its Hobart hearings that a moratorium on the filling of the lake should be declared and further investigation undertaken. This proposal was investigated by the

Committee and considered worthy of support. Accordingly the Committee prepared and submitted to the Minister for the Environment and Conservation in June 1973 an Interim Report dealing with this particular issue. The Committee’s views were summarised at the end of the Interim Report, and this summary is reproduced below in full.1

‘II. SUM M ARY

The final judgment concerning the fate o f Lake Redder must be made at the political level, that is by those whom Australians have elected to decide on national and State priorities and needs. Our role is to assist this judgment by providing an assessment o f the facts and opinions on the matters, so far as we can ascertain them. It is also our role, having considered the submissions presented to us, to express the opinions and views we have formed. In general, these have been given in the body o f this Report. In summary they are:

1. The decision-m aking process which led to the flooding o f Lake Redder had weaknesses. 2. The evidence concerning the recovery o f the lake indicates that it is highly likely that the lake would recover acceptably if restored to its normal level during 1973. 3. The Lake Redder National Park was proclaimed a scenic reserve in 1955 in the normal

way; the boundaries were developed to take account o f the views o f the Hydro-Electric Commission concerning likely developments; there was public expectation that the dedication o f the reserve was permanent. ,

4. The wilderness area o f South-West Tasmania, o f which Lake Redder was a focal point, is outstanding, and is a national asset. 5. Lake Redder was o f significant international scientific interest and importance. 6. Lake Redder was a place o f outstanding beauty. 7. There has been a significant change in public and political attitudes to environmental

issues since the decision to flood Lake Redder was m ade by the Parliament o f Tasmania in 1967. 8. There are practicable modifications to the present scheme which do not involve flooding Lake Redder. 9. The case for retaining the present scheme unchanged rests basically on the cost o f

such modifications. 10. The estimated cost o f the modification which appears most acceptable would be o f the order o f $12 million in capital expenditures and a loss o f $11 million representing the capitalised value o f energy foregone from the Huon waters. If after a moratorium such

m odification were decided upon, these costs would be incurred from 1976 onwards. 11. The adoption of a five-year moratorium period during which Lake Redder would be at least temporarily restored by partly draining the Serpentine/Huon impoundment would be unlikely to prejudice the ability o f the H.E.C. to meet expected power

demands. Even three years would probably be an adequate length for a moratorium. Adoption of a moratorium may involve additional running of the Bell Bay thermal stations. We estimate the total cost o f this extra running at a maximum o f $8 million over the period from 1977 to about 1982.

This cost could be offset to some degree by the value o f additional timber salvaged from the Gordon Valley.

1 Interim Report o f Lake Pedder Committee o f Enquiry, June 1973, pages 61-64.

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12. There are precedents for Government expenditures such as these to yield benefits which are largely intangible. 13. There are national interests involved which would justify the Australian Government in meeting the costs involved in the moratorium or alternative scheme.

There are various uncertainties— the extent to which the lake would recover, and details of alternative schemes, in particular—which we believe preclude recom m enda­ tion o f a specific alternative at this stage. The moratorium proposal appears to provide a reasonably cheap way o f resolving various uncertainties.

In summary, bearing in mind the substance o f our second Term o f Reference, this Committee expresses the opinions that:

• The loss o f Lake Redder was an adverse consequence o f the Gordon River Power Development Stage I. .

• The moratorium proposal would alleviate that adverse consequence. • The moratorium proposal should be adopted with a view to assessing the feasibility of restoring Lake Redder. • The costs should be borne by the Australian Government.’

This summary, and later the entire Interim Report, were subsequently made public by the Australian Government. In view of the limited data available to the Committee (through no fault of its own) and the uncertainties consequently expressed in the Interim Report, the Minister for the Environment and Conservation

subsequently commissioned the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation to review the Committee’s recommendations. As already indicated, the S.M.E.C. Report was presented in August 1973. Both this Committee’s Interim Report and the S.M.E.C. Report were tabled in the Federal Parliament on 13 September 1973.

It has been reported1 that these Reports were considered by the Federal Cabinet on 8 October 1973, and that Cabinet decided against supporting the Committee’s proposals. When this information was disclosed by the press there was a renewal of activity by conservationist groups, who inserted a full-page advertisement in a

national newspaper2 and held a demonstration outside Parliament House in Canberra. It has been reported3 that the two Reports and other material were subsequently considered by the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party on 17 October 1973. The Caucus meeting resolved to accept this Committee’s proposal for a moratorium of three to five years’ duration along with a commitment for the

Australian Government to meet the costs involved. It also reportedly committed the Australian Government to meet the eventual cost of adopting an alternative scheme to prevent the permanent flooding of Lake Pedder, should one be found to be feasible. This information was apparently transmitted to the Tasmanian Premier on 18

October 1973 in a telegram from the Prime Minister which advised him of the Australian Government’s decision and offer. The offer was later rejected by the Tasmanian Premier with the unanimous support of his Parliamentary Labor Party.4 There the matter stands at the time of completion of this Report.

In view of the considerable press publicity given to this latest phase of the controversy, some points need to be emphasised by this Committee. Firstly, the Committee did not in its Interim Report recommend that Lake Pedder be saved; it acknowledged that there were uncertainties it could not resolve, largely

because of the unwillingness of the Tasmanian Government and the Hydro-Electric Commission to take part in the Enquiry, and asked for the declaration of a

1 The Age, 9 October 1973. 2 The Australian, 15 October 1973. 3 The Australian, 18 October 1973. 4 The Australian, 18 October 1973.

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moratorium so that the whole matter could be properly investigated. The last part of the summary to the Interim Report bears repeating:

There are various uncertainties—the extent to which the lake would recover, and details of alternative schemes, in particular—which we believe preclude recommendation of a specific alternative at this stage. The moratorium proposal appears to provide a reasonably cheap way of resolving the various uncertainties.

It must be conceded that a strong plea for saving the lake was made by Mr St John, a member of the Committee, in an annexure to the Interim Report. He subsequently expressed these views publicly on a number of occasions. Secondly, the moratorium proposal was made on the basis of calculations to show the likely rate of growth of power demand in Tasmania, which indicate that a delay in the production of electrical energy from the Gordon power station could be tolerated.

As explained in detail in Section 5.3 of this Report, these calculations were based on information supplied by the Hydro-Electric Commission. Although the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Report disagreed with the Committee’s conclusions in this regard, the S.M.E.C. forecasts of future growth in demand are open to argument.

Thirdly, this Committee estimated the total cost of the moratorium to be between $3 million and $8 million, depending upon its duration, the action taken following the moratorium (i.e. whether to reflood Lake Pedder or construct an alternative scheme) and the actual rate of growth in power demand during the moratorium. The S.M.E.C. Report estimated these costs, on a discounted basis to be between $5.7 million and $8.8 million. Press publicity given to the Caucus decision tended to obscure these figures by headlining high estimates of the possible total cost of the Caucus decision should a scheme to save Lake Pedder be eventually adopted. For example, one headline reporting the Caucus decision read ‘Labor’s Pedder rescue plan could cost

$79 million’1 and the same newspaper quoted possible total costs ranging as high as $95 million. Fourthly, the Committee’s estimates of the possible total cost to the Australian Government, should an alternative scheme be adopted, were necessarily very

approximate, since they depended upon a number of variable and uncertain factors including the duration of the moratorium, the actual rate of growth in power demand, and the outcome of the investigations proposed to be undertaken during the moratorium. As a guide to likely future commitments the Committee estimated the total cost of what appeared to be the most feasible alternative proposal, i.e. to adopt the alternative which involved abandoning the Huon waters and pumping from a lowered Serpentine storage into the Gordon impoundment, as follows:

Maximum cost of moratorium $8 million

Capital cost of new works together with capitalised value of pumping costs, interest charges etc. $12 million

Compensation for value in perpetuity of Huon water foregone $11 million

Total maximum cost: $31 million

These figures were arrived at using estimates for the costs of new works, pumping charges, value of Huon water etc. which had been made public by the Premier of Tasmania in March 1972.2

1 The Australian, 18 October 1973, 2 Letter from Mr Bethune to the Tasmanian Conservation Trust dated 13 March 1972: See Lake Pedder— Why a National Park M ust be Saved, p. 50.

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The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation disagreed with these figures, particularly with the method used to calculate the cost of the moratorium, and produced revised estimates for the same alternative on a discounted basis which ranged from a probable lower limit of $28 million to a probable upper limit of $48

million, depending again upon the possible actions and developments during and after the moratorium period. In view of these figures, it is difficult to understand how the newspapers arrived at estimates as high as $95 million, particularly when it is remembered that the H.E.C.’s estimated cost for the entire Gordon River Power Development Stage I was only $95

million. Finally, and most importantly, it must be emphasised that the renewed controversy which arose in October 1973 in consequence of the Cabinet and Caucus decisions ENTIRELY MISSED THE POINT OF THE MORATORIUM

PROPOSAL. The Committee proposed a moratorium precisely BECAUSE THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION on which to base detailed estimates of the cost of alternative works to avoid the flooding of Lake Pedder. Whether this cost

would be $28 million or $95 million is simply anybody’s guess at the present time. The Committee believed that the values lost by the flooding of Lake Pedder justified the expenditure of up to $8 million to undertake a properly detailed investigation—that should have been undertaken by the Hydro-Electric Commission in the first place—to

find out whether the saving of Lake Pedder was technically and biologically feasible and if so, how much it would cost. This was all the Committee asked the Australian Government to do—it certainly did not ask the Government to commit itself to an expenditure of $79 million.

The way in which the Committee’s moratorium proposal and the estimates associated with it have been used by both sides in the continuing controversy to suit their own arguments is symptomatic of the Lake Pedder controversy as a whole. So long as insufficient or inaccurate facts are all that are available and so long as

excessive secrecy in planning for the expenditure of public funds by Government agencies prevails, major development projects will continue to be the subject of bitter controversy based on half-truth, emotionalism and political expediency. The decision reached by the Australian Parliamentary Labor Party on 17 October

1973 represents a significant turning point in Australian Government attitudes towards conservation and environmental issues. If the Tasmanian Government remains adamant in its decision to reject the moratorium proposal, this Committee would urge the Australian Government to stand by the principle it has thus

established and be prepared to expend an equivalent sum of money to that it committed itself to spend on the moratorium proposal for the purposes of:

(a) Co-operating with the Tasmanian Government in ensuring that the adverse consequences of the decision to flood Lake Pedder are minimised and the South-West region is adequately protected and managed:

(b) Fostering a major research program to develop improved techniques for planning and decision making in relation to major resource development projects having significant environmental impact; (c) Establishing an adequate administrative structure, based on effective Federal-

State co-operation, to ensure that such projects are in the future undertaken with due regard for their environmental consequences and in accordance with sound principles of natural resource management.

Specific recommendations in respect of the item (a) above are given in later sections of this Chapter. Recommendations in respect of items (b) and (c) above are given in the remaining Chapters of this Report.

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7.3 Possible Recovery of Lake Pedder from Inundation

7.3.1 Sources o f Information In considering the moratorium proposal and the various schemes suggested as modifications to the present Middle Gordon Scheme that would re-expose Lake Pedder, the Committee was concerned to obtain some idea of the extent to which the lake would recover (if at all) from its present inundation. A number of witnesses were

closely questioned on this matter. Additionally, further information was obtained from written submissions and published material. Before the answers to the Committee’s questions and other information obtained by the Committee are discussed, it should be pointed out that the restoration of the lake refers to several aspects, each of which needs separate consideration. Thus, the function of the lake as a focal point and base camp to the South-West wilderness is one aspect which would unquestionably recover immediately following re-exposure of the lake. It is the other aspects, the aesthetic, physical and biological, whose recovery

is more in question. In considering these aspects it should be made clear that all the relevant information available to the Committee was obtained from people who have acted as protagonists for the restoration of Lake Pedder. It could well be argued therefore, that this information is likely to be subject to bias. This may indeed be the case, but since the only information on this matter is that available from such sources, the Committee has had no alternative but to use it. Nevertheless, it is suggested that professional men from universities (the source of all information on this aspect) would be unlikely, deliberately, to mislead a committee of this nature on a matter which might be put to the test. In any event, it is the Committee’s opinion that the information should be summarised and presented here.

The Committee’s main sources of information are the direct evidence and/or submissions of the following:

Dr P. S. Lake, Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania Dr R. Swain, Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania Prof. W. D. Jackson, Department of Botany, University of Tasmania Dr I. A. E. Bayly, Department of Zoology, Monash University.

In addition, an article by Dr Lake published in the Newsletter of the Australian Conservation Foundation (vol. 5, no. I, pp. 3, 6) and entitled ‘Geomorphology, Flora and Fauna of Lake Pedder Could Recover’, provided further information. In the main these scientists referred to biological aspects of recovery, but there was some reference

also to physical aspects.

7.3.2 Biological aspects (i) Flora: The former terrestrial flora of the presently inundated area of the Lake Pedder region would largely have survived, according to Prof. Jackson and Dr Lake, had the lake been re-exposed by the end of the 1972-73 Tasmanian summer. Longer inundation, as has occurred, will almost certainly have killed it. However, recolonisation from non-flooded areas is seen as a source of complete restoration for this flora, although some years would elapse before the region regained its original botanical structure and appearance.

The likelihood of long-term survival of the aquatic or semi-aquatic plants, and in particular those that are endemic, is less certain. Had the lake been re-exposed before the end of the 1972-73 summer, they would probably have regenerated, according to witnesses. The longer inundation however has lessened both survival and therefore natural recovery. Prof. Jackson noted, however, that stocks of these plants have been

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maintained under artificial conditions by the Department of Botany, University of Tasmania, and that these stocks could serve as a source of recolonisation.

(ii) Fauna: Recovery of the terrestrial fauna was not discussed at length by any witness who appeared before the Committee. Dr Bayly did suggest incidentally, however, that (following restoration of the terrestrial flora typical for the region) there would be an almost ‘automatic’ restoration of the typical terrestrial fauna.

Concerning the aquatic fauna, Drs Bayly, Lake and Swain noted that had Lake Pedder been re-exposed by the end of the previous summer (about March 1972), the chances of recovery for this fauna were considerable. With regard to the results of a longer inundation, however, the Committee had less evidence. Dr Bayly was the only

witness who spoke in any detail on this matter. His comments (from the transcript evidence) are given fully below:

Prof. Burton: . . . ‘You have suggested, as you have just read, that if the level was lowered by the beginning o f the coming winter m ost o f the species would eventually return to the system. Supposing the date was delayed to som ething like September or October, how would that change your point of view? ’

Dr Bayly: . . .Ί should think an extension o f that period would probably not greatly alter the chances o f survival o f the endemic species. I think an important thing here is that Lake Pedder is not, I would almost certainly say, is not a stratified lake, particularly at this time of the year. The whole lake is turning over, it is a very exposed lake, with

enormous wind actions occurring, and I would think that oxygen is getting down to the lower strata. Now if this were summer and if we were talking about a protected lake that was subject to chemical stratification, well then I think there could be a bleak outlook, because the species could be in a zone that was lacking in oxygen and perhaps with toxic

substances like H 2S and so on present. So I would think the chances would be fairly reasonable, that is the chances o f continued survival.’

The question of survival of endemic forms was also discussed with relation to the artificial introduction of trout into the Huon/Serpentine impoundment. Dr Swain, in written submission, noted in reference to this that the system would face the danger of severe interference from trout predation and competition and he anticipated the restoration of ‘a considerably modified ecological balance’. Dr Bayly spoke at length

on this matter also. Part of the transcript evidence is given below:

Mr Hill: . . . T understand that before the floodings, there were trout in the Huon catchment, but there were no trout in the Serpentine catchment. Now with the catchments joined by the lake flooding across, the trout possibly have migrated across and there have been other trout released into the Serpentine catchm ent.’

Dr Bayly: ‘Y es.’ Mr Hill: ‘Would you care to discuss the possible effect of these trout on the endemic species?’ Dr Bayly: ‘Yes, I think here we should draw a distinction between species that are truly in

bottom materials, and those that are sitting on bottom materials. I would think that there would be a degree o f predation on things that sit on bottom materials but some of these endemic species are more or less permanently interstitial and I would think that because o f those habits they would have a measure o f protection from predation. Now

some of the phreatoicids which are amongst the endemic species, they do move around on the sand, and I would think that these would be subject to some degree of predation, so their population densities would be cut down to some extent, but the earlier stage of the phreatoicids seem to be permanently in the bottom materials and therefore they

would provide a reservoir whereby the population could be built up again. But there is another important point here, I think— and it is this, that I doubt very much whether the trout populations will flourish. I think there are . . . and I would think that there would be very high mortalities in the released trout.’

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Dr Bayly’s evidence, it may be noted, was restricted to a consideration of the effects of trout predation on botton-dwelling organisms; it did not consider the effect of trout upon the native fish (Galaxias spp.) peculiar to the Redder region.

7.3.3. Physical aspects Witnesses who spoke or provided information on this aspect of lake restoration agreed that some damage would have occurred as the result of inundation. Drs Lake and Bayly noted that the sooner the beach and dunes were re-exposed, the less the

damage to them would be. Dr Lake indicated that if the level of the impoundment had been dropped by the end of the 1972-73 summer, the beach and dunes would have recovered to near their original condition. Dr Bayly, concerned with a longer period of inundation, suggested that the physical aspects would restore to something near their original condition, but not quite the same. He suggested that the beach, for example, would be wider than before if re-exposed after a long inundation.

7.3.4 Aesthetic aspects Little direct evidence was given on the extent to which the lake would recover its beauty if re-exposed. Most witnesses arguing in favour of restoring the lake assumed it would recover its beauty more or less irrespective of the length of inundation. There is certainly less doubt attached to aesthetic recovery than to biological and (precise) physical recovery. The Committee’s opinion is that if Lake Pedder were to be re­ exposed, its beauty would return irrespective of the length of time the lake had been

flooded.

7.4 Future Management of the Lake Pedder Area

7.4.1 Potential Management Problems If no action is taken by the Tasmanian Government to attempt the restoration of Lake Pedder, there will remain a significant problem of management in the Lake Pedder area. Further environmental damage resulting from inadequate rehabilitation of disturbed works areas, unwise recreational use of poorly managed tourist development, or even the possibility of loss of life resulting from uncontrolled boating activities, must be considered likely consequences of the decision to flood Lake Pedder.

This section is therefore concerned with a review of some of these possible consequences and a discussion of ways and means by which they might be alleviated. They include the problems introduced by the artificial stocking of the Huon/Serpen- tine storage with trout; the possibilities of re-establishment of endangered species in the lake; the problems of boating on the lake; and general problems of recreational usage and management in the Lake Pedder area.

7.4.2 Artificial stocking with trout in the Huon/Serpentine storage The Tasmanian Inland Fisheries Commission liberated 350 000 brown trout fry (Salmo trutta) into the Huon/Serpentine impoundment between 14 and 18 September 1972. The liberations were made at a number of points between the Serpentine Dam and Scotts Peak Dam.1 These liberations took place despite opposition from a wide variety of quarters. The reasons for the releases were given to this Committee by Mr

D. D. Lynch, Commissioner of Fisheries, as follows.2

1 Inland Fisheries Commission Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 12. 2 Transcript evidence.

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Mr Lynch: . it was this consideration (fish usually do well in new impoundments) that prompted the Commission to do some artificial stocking. W e took the view that there was a new resource created for the State in these two large bodies o f water.’

Opposition to the artificial stocking with trout came from personnel associated with the Tasmanian Museum, universities, and conservation bodies; some anglers also objected. According to Mr R. Ashton of the H.E.C. (personal [telephone] communication with Dr Williams on 23 March 1973), the H.E.C. had no ‘official’

view on the matter of fish introductions, but was anxious that the views of the Tasmanian Museum be considered and, indeed, the H.E.C. had written to the Inland Fisheries Commission and the National Parks Service advocating that the Museum staff view be seriously considered. .

The views of the Tasmanian Museum were clearly expressed in the Report they presented to the H.E.C. in May 1972. They recommended inter alia that (p. 3): ‘The Commission (H.E.C.) totally and completely prohibit the entry and/or introduction into the area of all classes of flora and fauna not endemic to the area’. As an appendix to this recommendation there was also the following statement. ‘The attention of the

Commission (H.E.C.) is drawn to a statement by the Minister for Agriculture (Mercury, 18.4.72, p. 27) to the effect that it has been proposed to stock Lake Pedder with trout. It is recommended here that this proposal be abandoned for the reasons outlined above, and that no further such proposals be considered.’

The view of the director of the Tasmanian Museum, Mr D. R. Gregg, was quite clear as given in a letter to Mr K. W. Keirnan of the Lake Pedder Action Committee and dated 20 September 1972. The appropriate paragraphs are reproduced below:

‘I have several tim es this year expressed opposition to the introduction of trout to these waters, not on econom ic grounds, but in particular because o f the threat to the two species o f Galaxias known from Lake Pedder, G. pedderensis and G. parvus.’ ‘In April I wrote expressing these views to Mr E. W. Beattie, Minister for Agriculture at that time. In May I wrote to the Commissioner o f Inland Fisheries, Mr D. D. Lynch. Our

Curator o f Vertebrate Zoology, Mr A. P. Andrews, recently expressed his opposition to the introduction o f trout in a personal letter to the present Minister for Agriculture, Mr Costello’.

University personnel who were critical of the introduction of trout into the Huon/ Serpentine storage included Drs Swain, Lake and Tyler of the University of Tasmania, and Dr Bayly of Monash University. Dr Tyler, whilst not presenting evidence to this Committee1 had expressed his opposition to the introduction of trout

in a letter to Mr Murrell, Director of National Parks and Wildlife, in May 1972. This letter was brought to the attention of the Committee (and read) by Dr Bayly. Since it adequately summarises the views of the University critics it is reproduced below in full

(from transcript evidence):

‘Dear Mr Murrell, I write to express concern at the announced intention o f the Inland Fisheries Commission to introduce and stock trout in the future Lake Gordon, and the lake intended to destroy Lake Pedder. I consider this to be unnecessary and undesirable for the following

reasons:

1. that any Commission, Government Department, private body or any person whatsoever should be free to introduce an alien species into a National Park or any region from where it can spread into a National Park is a dangerous precedent and is antithetic to the concept of National Parks,

1 Dr Tyler was overseas at the time evidence was taken.

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2. that a Commission can announce to do this apparently without prior approval o f the National Parks and Wildlife Service suggests dangerous inadequacies in protection of proclaimed National Parks, 3. that the sustained introduction o f trout could and probably will endanger those native

fish and invertebrates which may survive in Lake Gordon and in the lake which destroys Lake Pedder, 4. the chemical conditions and low productivity characteristics o f the area are unlikely to allow development o f good fishery. The characteristic oligohumic waters o f the south­

west are not optimal conditions for trout. 5. that abundant sport fishing facilities already exist in the State (that is Tasmania), 6. that in view of item 5 above, all future proposals to introduce trout into any body of water containing native species only be regarded as endangering the continued

existence of native species and therefore undesirable and unnecessary.

In amplification and in explanation of the above, (a) I am aware that trout already exists in the Upper Huon and in the Serpentine, but I believe the population is small, unsuccessful and probably not likely to produce the large threat which sustained stocking does. (b) I am aware that some amelioration o f the chemical conditions may take place when

the ratio of direct fall on the lake to fall on the catchment decreases, but I suspect that the amelioration would be slight.

Yours sincerely,

P. A. Tyler.’

Conservation bodies that were critical of the introduction of trout included the Lake Pedder Action Committee, The Federation of Tasmanian Bushwalking Clubs, and The Tasmanian Conservation Trust. In general they opposed the introduction in support of the expressed opposition of biologists, but some were also critical of the

actual timing of the release. This is most clearly expressed in the submission of The Federation of Tasmanian Bushwalking Clubs to this Committee, part of which is reproduced below:

‘We are concerned with the timing o f the operation, together with the release o f trout into the Serpentine storage some months before that water became linked to the Huon storage. At that time Lake Pedder was as much a political hot potato as it is now, and one would have expected the Commission to have exercised extreme discretion and either (a) delayed the stocking until the two lakes became one, or (b) confined the stocking to the Huon storage . . . the possibility that this action took place as a result o f external pressure when

(upon) the Commission should be explored.’

Angling opposition is expressed in the following letter which appeared in 1972 in Anglers Forum no. 11, pp. 3-4, and was signed ‘New Assocn Member’.

‘Brown trout fry to the number of 350 000 have been released into Lake Pedder. The new Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon represents a joint area o f some 200 square miles. I note that the cost o f producing fry in hatcheries has been given by the I.F.C. in their Newsletter No. 13 as $15.00 per 1000 plus freight. At this price the operation will have cost $5250.00 for the fish plus freight which would not be light if it entailed the charter of a plane (the release is reported to have been made in plastic bags from the air).

The Inland Fisheries Commission has made public the fact that the scope of the inland fisheries is already so great that present revenue will not permit the proper carrying out of its statutory duties, and it is seeking additional funds and has asked us all to help. How, with already insufficient field staff, is it going to cope with a further 200 square miles of responsibility?

Between $5000 and $6000 of the money received from our licences has apparently already been directed to stocking this water, which will now have to be policed and protected— and we anglers will, presumably, have to pay for this too.

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The operation was reported as being undertaken to accelerate a process that would occur naturally. I would like to ask whether, when the decision was made to accelerate a natural process, the following points were taken into account?

1. That a scope o f inland fisheries already exists more than adequate for present demands, much of it is never exploited;

2. that revenue being already inadequate, it would hardly be wise to place added burdens upon funds and upon the staff; 3. that the maintenance of existing fisheries, particularly those adjacent to closely populated areas, should have a prior claim upon funds; 4. that a continued increase o f angling waters without increase in revenue must operate

against good m anagem ent and the best distribution of available funds and manpower; 5. that anglers’ requests involving the expenditure o f money and investigation into the alleged failure of long-existing fisheries had not been acceded to; 6. that there was no urgency to accelerate a process that would, in any event, occur

naturally; 7. that serious opposition had been expressed by responsible zoologists and

conservationists; 8. that existing fisheries must be already suffering if present funds will not cover today’s operational requirements. Perhaps the Executive of the S.T.L.A.A. can supply the answers?’

The attitude of the Inland Fisheries Commission to the various criticisms indicated above is the more surprising in that the attitude itself seems to have undergone a complete change during a period of less than two years. Thus the earlier attitude of the Inland Fisheries Commission appears, in particular, to have been

against stocking, as it indicated in the following extract1 taken from the minutes of a General Meeting of the South-West Committee held in July 1970 at which Mr Lynch was an invited speaker:

‘The other main points of Dr Lynch’s remarks are summarised as follows:

H.E.C. Storages Trout now in the Serpentine will spread as Lakes Pedder and Gordon fill—the flooding will allow trout to thrive— temporarily. No stocking will be needed. However, the poor conditions will permit only a temporary fishery at best in the storages. Long-term prospects for fishing in the South-W est are very poor. One small artificial body of water near Lake

Edgar does offer reasonable prospects— and is being actively exam ined.’

One final subject that requires discussion in this section is the matter of introducing exotic (i.e. non-Australian) species, such as the brown trout, into National Parks. All biologists who appeared before this Committee unanimously expressed their opposition to the fact that a body primarily motivated to further the cause of

angling, the Inland Fisheries Commission, had jurisdiction (as indeed, legally, it apparently does) over the biota of fresh waters within the boundaries of a National Park. Be that as it may, it is clear that the views of biologists, which had been made known to both the Inland Fisheries Commission and the National Parks and Wildlife

Service (see letter from Dr Tyler documented earlier), were disregarded; either the Inland Fisheries Commission or the National Parks Service or both did not consider it a serious matter, as is indicated by part of the evidence given by Mr Lynch, Inland Fisheries Commissioner, to this Committee:

Mr St John: ‘. . . may we have it for the record that they (National Parks and Wildlife

1 Made available to this Committee by courtesy of the South-West Commission.

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Service) did in fact agree with what you proposed to do (stock trout in a National Park). ’ Mr Lynch: ‘It was at their suggestion that we put artificial lures regulation through.’ Mr St John: ‘The introduction of the trout?’ Mr Lynch: Ί don’t think they had a view on that one.’ Mr St John: ‘They knew what was happening.’ Mr Lynch: ‘Yes’. Mr St John: ‘They did not express any opposition to it.’ Mr Lynch: ‘No, not to my knowledge.’

This Committee is forced to the conclusion that the introduction of brown trout into the Huon/Serpentine storage by the Inland Fisheries Commission was an ill- advised and premature action which served only to exacerbate the feelings of those members of the community already concerned about the alienation of Lake Redder as a natural entity. It is strongly recommended that no further attempts at stocking the reservoir be undertaken.

This affair raised broader issues concerning the desirability of the introduction of exotic species into the fresh waters of National Parks and the Committee recommends to the Australian Government that these issues be brought to the attention of the Council of Nature Conservation Ministers and the National Park and Wildlife

Commission and Service for discussion and the formulation of a general policy. The Committee also recommends that the Australian Government approach the Tasmanian Government on this issue with a view to encouraging that Government to enact legislation to remove all the biota of fresh waters in Tasmanian National Parks from the jurisdiction of the Inland Fisheries Commission.

7.4.3 Re-establishment o f Endangered Species Considerable emphasis has been placed in earlier sections of this Report on the scientific value of the species endemic to the Lake Pedder area. During the course of its enquiries the Committee sought opinions as to whether some of these species might become re-established in the enlarged Pedder storage.

No very definite information in this respect was obtained. It was learnt, for example, that the Hydro-Electric Commission has stripped some areas along the future top water level in an attempt to assess the possibility of the artificial establishment of new beaches. It appeared that this was being undertaken partly in the hope that some of the sand-dwelling species might re-establish in these areas. It was also learnt that proposals had been made by Professor Jackson of the Botany Department of the University of Tasmania for the setting aside of one or more sheltered bays on the southern side of the reservoir for the re-establishment of semi- aquatic plant species. No very specific opinions could be given by the scientists questioned by the Committee as to the possibilities of natural or artificial re­ establishment of other species, apart from the damage likely to be caused by introduced trout, as discussed in the preceding section.

The possible loss of some or all of the endemic species, which have been shown to have real scientific value, is clearly a likely and very unfortunate consequence of the decision to flood Lake Pedder. It is the opinion of this Committee that funds should be set aside as a matter of urgency to allow for a proper investigation of this problem. This investigation should include an early assessment by competent and experienced limnologists and aquatic biologists of the likelihood of natural or artificial re-establishment and the management strategies by which this might best be encouraged; a comprehensive,

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long-term monitoring program to assess the extent to which re-establishment or rehabilitation is occurring; and if considered feasible, carefully controlled experiments to determine the extent to which successful re-establishment of at least some species can be achieved. This might, for example, include the flora species of

which considerable stocks are held under artificial conditions by the Botany Department of the University of Tasmania. This program should be administered by the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service, which is the organisation to be responsible for the management of the area when construction work is completed. At the present time the Service is not

staffed or funded to undertake such work and a special grant would seem to be necessary for this purpose. This should be sufficient for the appointment of at least two aquatic biologists to the permanent staff of the Service and for the major involvement of scientists from the University of Tasmania and appropriate mainland

universities, together with adequate allowances for equipment, travelling, and the undertaking of experimental management projects. The Committee believes the provision of such finance to be the moral

responsibility of the Government of Tasmania. To guarantee the effectiveness of the program, however, some assistance from the Australian Government will almost certainly be necessary. This Committee therefore recommends to the Australian Government that it approach the Tasmanian Government with a view to mounting the suggested program on a co-operative basis as a matter of urgency. The Committee

urges the Federal Government to be prepared to make such grant or grants as are necessary to ensure the viability and effectiveness of the program.

7.4.4 Boating Activities The Hydro-Electric Commission has placed considerable emphasis in its publicity for the Gordon Power Development on the potential of the Huon/Serpentine storage for boating, canoeing, fishing and other water-based recreational activities.

The real potential of this reservoir for aquatic recreation is open to serious question. Climatic conditions in the Lake Redder area can be severe. The annual rainfall is high and fierce squalls and storms are common, wind speeds in excess of one hundred miles per hour having been recorded at Strathgordon. The resulting waves in the long reaches of the reservoir, which is oriented towards prevailing westerly weather influence, may be extremely dangerous to small craft. Water temperatures can be low, even in mid-summer, and death from exposure may occur extremely rapidly to persons thrown into the water under such conditions. Staff of the

Hydro-Electric Commission who took members of the Committee onto the reservoir, and who have had considerable experience of boating conditions in the area, expressed serious misgivings about the potential of the lake for boating and suggested that the use of craft under 20 feet in length could be extremely hazardous.

It is therefore essential that very careful consideration be given to the problems of boating on the new impoundment and that the promulgation of strict regulations and the careful policing of these regulations be considered matters of the highest priority. The following requirements are seen to be necessary by the Committee:

a. A system of licensing for all boats using the reservoir. Two or more categories of licence might be issued, one for unrestricted use of the lake and the other for restricted use in specified zones as discussed below. b. A system of zoning for the reservoir, based on a careful consideration of the

geography of the reservoir, weather patterns, proximity to ranger stations, etc. c. A system of limited access to the lake. This should include (as presently exists) a ranger station on the Gordon Road, where all boats entering the area can be

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checked, and a restricted number of launching ramps, preferably each manned by a ranger. d. A comprehensive weather forecasting system, with prominent weather indicators at each launching ramp and weather signals visible from all parts of

the reservoir to give adequate warning of impending storms, high winds etc. e. An adequately staffed and well-equipped ranger unit, backed by adequate powers of enforcement. It would be desirable to make provision for the permanent manning of launching ramps and the operation of a lake patrol,

equipped with a large and powerful boat suitable for all weather conditions, to undertake policing and rescue functions. These conditions appear unduly restrictive and will certainly be expensive; but they are considered to be essential in view of the very serious potential dangers the

reservoir holds for boat users. Control of boating should be undertaken by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, using specially trained rangers. The Service is not currently staffed or financed for work of this kind and the allocation of additional funds for the purpose is essential. Some revenue from the issue of boat licences and charges for the use of boat ramps and other facilities could be anticipated. The responsibility for meeting the costs involved rests very clearly with the Tasmanian

Government, which has made much of the potential of the lake for aquatic recreation as one of its major justifications for the loss of the aesthetic and recreational values of Lake Redder.

7.4.5 Management o f Recreation and Tourism in the Lake Pedder Area If the Lake Pedder area is to become subject to intensive recreational and tourist development, as the Hydro-Electric Commission has proposed, very careful planning and management will be necessary.

This is essentially a problem for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which will take over responsibility for the area as part of the South-West National Park. As has already been indicated the Service is not staffed or funded to devote very considerable effort to this exercise, and has had to enlist the aid of a planner seconded

from the Hobart City Council. The need to provide the Service with additional staff and finance for this purpose is urgent. The management problems of the Lake Pedder area have been given careful consideration by the South-West Committee as part of its proposals for the enlargement and general management of the South-West National Park. In a recently issued statement1 the South-West Committee has made comprehensive proposals for the zoning of the Park which include the use of the former Lake Pedder National Park . and surrounding mountains partly as wilderness area, partly as a ‘rugged activity’ zone and partly as an intensively developed ‘popular activity’ zone. The following comments are based largely on the South-West Committee’s recommendations, which in general are strongly supported by this Committee.

The area defined by the South-West Committee as ‘Lake Pedder area-Serpentine storage’ includes the Hamilton, Wilmot, Frankland and Sentinel Ranges, Mt Wedge and Mt Bowes, and the Huon/Serpentine storage. It is intersected by the Scott’s Peak and Strathgordon Roads and it includes the construction township at Strathgordon and the construction camp at Scott’s Peak.

The South-West Committee suggests that the Frankland Range forms the primary mountain challenge within this area, with its major peaks, numerous lakes and

1 The Proposed Enlarged South-West National Park, a policy statement issued by the South-West Committee, June 1973.

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relatively undisturbed condition. The Wilmot and Sentinel Ranges, lower and less spectacular, are close to existing roads and could offer worthwhile walking for the less experienced, as well as providing excellent views and interesting flora. The reservoir itself poses special management problems, which have already been

discussed in earlier sections of this Chapter. Apart from the problems of flora and fauna rehabilitation and boating already mentioned, special consideration needs to be given to the revegetation and rehabilitation of works areas. This is seen to be the responsibility of the Hydro-Electric Commission, which is known to be experimenting

with rehabilitation techniques at the present time. The South-West Committee has suggested that the Scott’s Peak and Gordon Roads and the construction township at Strathgordon should be zoned as ‘popular activity’ zones, implying considerable development and intensive tourist-type usage.

Strathgordon is the obvious choice as a centre for these activities and might be expected to develop with facilities such as hotels and motels, golf courses, swimming pool, tennis courts etc. The surrounding areas might be expected to have facilities for less intensive recreation, including walking tracks and picnic area, shelters and

toilets, viewing points, launching ramps or riding trails. Similar development might be expected along the fringes of the Gordon and Scott’s Peak roads, with frequent provision of picnic areas, viewing points, toilet facilities etc. Careful planning for this kind of development would appear to be essential and it

is proposed by the South-West Committee that environmental impact statements be required for developmental works to ensure that they remain in harmony with the surroundings and to avoid the possibility of environmental damage from over­ intensive visitor usage. Management problems will also include adequate provision

for garbage and sewage disposal, the provision of water supply facilities, and adequate provision for fire control. The day-to-day management of this area will require a substantial ranger staff, in addition to those required to police boating activities, and here again the need for adequate financial provision is essential. The Hydro-Electric Commission, which has considerable knowledge of the area, considerable experience of visitor management problems in general and the necessary expertise to design and construct such facilities

as garbage and sewage disposal plants, water supply, roads and picnic areas, etc., might be expected to provide substantial assistance in the planning.and development of the ‘popular activity’ zoned areas. All in all, the proposed tourist and recreational development of the Lake Redder

area, which the Hydro-Electric Commission and the Tasmanian Government have so vigorously declared to be one of the major benefits of the Gordon River Power Development Scheme, poses very considerable problems of planning and

management that do not appear to this Committee to be receiving adequate attention at the present time. The Committee sees the responsibility for this planning and development to lie with the Tasmanian Government, which must make a genuine and substantial effort to ensure that overtintensive usage and despoliation of the area and

indeed injury and loss of life do not become adverse consequences of the decision to flood Lake Pedder.

7.5 The South-West National Park In its original submission to the Premier of August 1966, the South-West Committee recommended the establishment of a large reserve in the South-West of Tasmania to encompass the full range of habitats and include the principal scenic features of the region. The proposal envisaged careful zoning of the region to provide suitable areas for high-density recreation and also to retain a large proportion in its natural condition as wilderness.

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As has already been discussed in detail in Section 5.6, the Select Committee set up by the Legislative Council to enquire into the Gordon Scheme also recommended the creation of a large South-West National Park. The new National Park which was eventually established by the Tasmanian Government on 15 October 1968 was however much smaller than the two Committees had recommended.

As has also been discussed in Section 5.6, there is ample evidence to support the South-West Committee’s contention that the South-West region of Tasmania has important scientific, aesthetic and recreational values and is the last substantial temperate wilderness area remaining in Australia. Its future is therefore a matter of national as well as State concern. In the opinion of this Committee it is essential that

urgent and effective action be taken to ensure that an adequate sample of this area is preserved and properly managed for the benefit of all Australians. In its recent policy statement on the South-West National Park1 the South-West Committee has listed the shortcomings of the present South-West National Park as follows:

T . The area is insufficient to encompass all major scenic features worthy o f national park status, e.g. Precipitous Bluff and Port Davey. 2. Boundaries are too close to major features o f the Park to afford protection from possible damage by adjacent development, e.g. Mount Anne. 3. Boundaries in some areas are unnecessarily complicated, e.g. Mount Anne. 4. All off-shore islands should be included in the Park, including comparatively distant

features such as the Mewstone and Pedro Blanca, because o f their potential value as sanctuaries.’

The South-West Committee goes on to suggest possible boundaries for an enlarged Park. The following is quoted from the submission. ‘The boundaries described hereunder have been chosen simply to define those areas which the South-W est Committee regards as worthy o f inclusion in the South-West National

Park because o f scenic or other values. It is not suggested that they represent workable or easily defined boundaries in all cases, and, to the extent that they do not comply with survey requirements, they may require adjustment. Any such adjustments should not be such as to jeopardise the safety o f the features in question.

In brief the proposals seek to enlarge the Park to the east, by including the Precipitous Bluff region; the South Coast from the Salisbury-New River system to East Cape; that portion o f the Southern Range above 2000 feet, i.e. beyond the lim its o f commercial forestry; the whole o f the Salisbury-New River system; Mount Bobs, and the Picton and

South Picton Ranges. In the north, it is proposed to include the Huon Gorge, Schnells Ridge and Gallagher Plateau (areas thought to be devoid of forestry potential) and an increased buffer zone around Mount Anne; the creation o f scenic reserves on the Scott’s Peak and Gordon Roads, and the inclusion within the Park o f the area between Lakes Pedder and Gordon, apart from the H.E.C. road reservation.

The National Park should be extended westward from Louisa Bay to include Port Davey and the country north and west as far as Low Rocky Point on the coast, thence, inland along the boundary of the existing fauna district to the Gordon River.’

The South-West Committee goes on to recommend a system of zoning for the proposed enlarged Park. This zoning plan provides for the following types of management. Wilderness Zone: An area left basically in its natural state but allowing sufficient development to enable walkers to enjoy recreation without undue hardship or danger.

In such a zone physical development should always be a secondary consideration and the natural scene should be dominant. Tracks should be limited to provide some

1 The Proposed Enlarged South-West National Park, June 1973, see Section 7.4.

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reasonable access rather than easy walking and it should be expected that parties will use tents rather than permanent huts. Air-dropping of supplies should be restricted to a few carefully chosen sites.

Rugged Activity Zone: An area in which the challenge for hardy recreation will remain unaltered indefinitely. Such zones should be remote, rugged and aesthetically pleasing. Heavy usage would be anticipated and careful management to minimise damage would be essential. This would include careful and restricted siting of tracks,

huts and air-dropping zones.

Primitive Zone: An area of minimum interference for scientific reference. No huts, tracks, air-dropping zones or other interference should be allowed and entry into such a zone should be restricted.

Popular Activity Zone: An area of high-intensity, tourist-type usage. Such activities as sightseeing, picnicking, short walks, boating and fishing should be catered for. Formal developments such as visitor centres, ranger facilities, catering facilities, boat ramps, graded tracks etc. would be provided. Careful planning and management would be essential for such areas, as discussed in Section 7.4. Because of the

essentially wilderness character of the South-West, popular activity zones should be compact with concentrated facilities and should be situated on the fringes to avoid the extension of roads into the wilderness country.

Buffer Zones: The function of a buffer zone is to minimise the impact of development on adjacent sensitive areas and these zones should be planned to surround such areas to protect them against exploitation or carelessness.

In its submission, the South-West Committee has presented a map showing a proposed zoning of the South-West according to these classifications and has described in detail the proposed classification, recreational uses and management policies for each of the zoned areas.

The South-West Committee concludes its submission with the following recommendations: ‘U ntil a full investigation and description o f the South-W est o f Tasmania is made by relevant qualified specialists, together with an integrated assessm ent o f its present and

potential value to the whole of Australia as a national park, the South-West Committee recommends that the land use o f South-W est Tasmania be as set out in the foregoing map and statement. Furthermore, the Committee strongly recommends that until such time as the

Government has accepted a zoning plan covering the South-W est region and delimiting the enlarged national park, until an adequate management plan has been thus prepared for the South-West National Park, there should be a general moratorium on new development works in the South-W est’.

This Committee of Enquiry strongly endorses the South-West Committee’s recommendations, on the grounds: 1. that the South-West of Tasmania has important scientific, aesthetic and recreational values which should be preserved in the national interest, and

2. that unless some interim action is taken to delay further development of the South­ West until a proper investigation and assessment of these values has been carried out and an effective management plan for the area has been prepared and implemented, uncontrolled development could destroy or seriously impair some of these values. This possibility is seen to be a very likely consequence of the decision to flood Lake Redder, which might be interpreted by the Hydro-Electric Commission and other development

agencies as an encouragement to unrestricted intrusion into the general region of the South-West.

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This Committee therefore recommends:

1. That the Australian Government give special and urgent consideration to ways and means of co-operating with the Tasmanian Government in the development of an enlarged National Park in South-West Tasmania. .

2. That as an interim measure, the Tasmanian Government be strongly urged to declare a moratorium on further development works in the South-West, within the boundaries of the area proposed by the South-West Committee in its policy statement of June 1973 as an enlarged South-West National Park.

3. That ways and means for developing and managing an enlarged South-West National Park on a co-operative Federal-State basis be a matter for discussion at the first meeting of the proposed Council of Nature Conservation Ministers. The responsibility for planning and implementing the management of the existing

South-West National Park, and any subsequent extensions to that Park, rests with the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service. As has already been indicated in preceding sections of this Report, that Service does not have the staff or funds to undertake this task with the speed and thoroughness desirable. It is therefore recommended:

4. That the Australian Government provide a special grant to assist the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service to develop a management plan for the existing South-West National Park as a matter of urgency.

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8 LESSONS FOR FUTURE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT:

THE COMMITTEE’S THIRD AND FOURTH TERMS OF REFERENCE

8.1 Scope of the Committee’s Analysis The Committee’s Third and Fourth Terms of Reference were as follows:

‘3. To state what lessons, if any, may be learnt from a study o f the above matters, with particular reference to the Australian Government’s future role in relation to development projects in the States and Territories. 4. To recommend, with regard to developm ent projects which may have significant

adverse effects on the environment, such changes and improvements in investigational, legal and administrative procedures as may be considered necessary or desirable to prevent or m inim ise the likelihood of such effects.’

In this Committee’s view all major development projects, since they involve the alienation of land and/or the utilisation of natural resources, may have significant adverse environmental effects. It will however be evident from the preceding pages that the Committee believes it is desirable to consider more than the environmental

effects of project development; planning should be based on an integrated assessment of environmental considerations, land use considerations, natural resource conservation considerations and social considerations if the project is to provide maximum overall benefit in the long-term community interest. Even from an

environmental point of view, procedures which seek only to prevent or minimise environmental effects are seen to be negative in approach; in many cases the deliberate enhancement of environmental quality might well be a feasible objective in

the planning of a major development project. The discussion and analysis of the Lake Redder controversy presented in the earlier chapters of this Report has pointed up many areas of natural resources management in which general inadequacies or deficiencies are apparent in Australian development practice. The Committee believes that valuable lessons can be drawn from a study of these matters which provide a basis for recommendations aimed at the

improved planning of major development projects with which the Australian Government is directly involved and the improved overall management of Australia’s natural resources. These topics are discussed under the following headings:

8.2 The nature and scope of multi-objective planning 8.3 National, State and regional policies for land use planning and the management of natural resources 8.4 The planning of natural resource development projects

8.5 The assessment of environmental impact 8.6 The question of public involvement 8.7 The planning and management of Australia’s National Parks 8.8 Education and research needs

8.2. The Nature and Scope of Multi-objective Planning ‘Planning can be defined as the orderly consideration o f a project from the original statement o f purpose through the evaluation o f alternatives to the final decision on a course o f action. It includes all the work associated with the design of a project except

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the detailed engineering of the structures. It is the basis for the decision to proceed with (or to abandon) a proposed project and is clearly a most important aspect of the total engineering for the project. ’1 The above definition was written by the authors of one of the standard texts in

water resources engineering. It is clearly appropriate to any form of resource development activity. It is nevertheless significant that the project whjch forms the basis for this Enquiry was a water resources project, since the principles of multi­ objective planning and environmental impact assessment for major development projects have essentially had their origins in the water resources field, particularly in the United States of America.

It is therefore relevant to examine the recent historic development of water resources legislation and related land use planning legislation in the United States, as it has gone through the transition from single-purpose planning with specific economic efficiency objectives to a comprehensive multi-objective approach involving the integrated consideration of environmental and social welfare factors.

The Committee looks particularly to United States experience for several reasons. First, because so many of their problems are our problems. This is so partly because Australians and Americans occupy a vast land mass containing a great bounty of natural resources and a tremendous variety of regions and climates; though much has been developed, in each country much remains to be developed. The fact that both

Australia and the United States are democratic societies governed by a federal system is also relevant. In both countries the institutions of these democratic societies are attempting to adapt themselves, through the application of scientific knowledge and research and the adoption of sound policies and practices, to the needs of a rapidly changing world and the increasing public demand for a reconciliation of the demands of industry and development with human and environmental needs.

Australians are fortunate that in this process the United States is some years ahead of us. The Americans have faced the same problems, and attempted to find solutions to them, some years earlier than we have in this country. The United States, with its tremendous technical skills and its outstanding capacity to adapt to change,

provides a model from which we can learn a great deal. It is for these reasons that one is drawn, inevitably, to the study and citation of American precedents in attempting to find solutions to problems of the kind posed by the Committee’s Terms of Reference. Legislation requiring the application of benefit-cost analysis to the planning of water projects was first laid down in the U.S.A. with the Flood Control Act of 1936, which stipulated that the benefits of Federal water projects should exceed the costs incurred. Interpretation and application of this statute led to the development of analytical procedures for evaluating the costs and benefits of proposed projects. These procedures aimed principally at the promotion of national economic development through the maximisation of economic efficiency; although some consideration was given to the evaluation of factors which could not readily be expressed in monetary terms and to the subjective assessment of so-called ‘intangibles’ such as public health, employment opportunities or the protection of areas having significant scenic value, the primary emphasis was placed on the maximisation of net economic benefits.

These procedures were formalised and published in the ‘Green Book’2, already mentioned in Section 6.2 of this Report, in May 1950. It is significant that the national economic policies of the United States in the immediate post-war years were aimed specifically at the expansion of economic growth and the reduction of unemployment, and in this setting water resources

1 R. K. Linsley, and J. B. Franzini, Water Resources Engineering, (McGraw-Hill, 1972) p. 633. 2 Proposed Practices fo r Economic Analysis o f River Basin Projects, first published May 1950 and revised May 1958.

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development was seen as a desirable objective which could contribute to national and regional income and provide much needed employment opportunities. In the context of the mid-1950s, such objectives as the maintenance of water quality or the preservation of scenic values were accorded a relatively low priority.

As the American economy stabilised and public values began to alter, however, the imperfections of this approach were increasingly recognised and criticised. In October 1961 President Kennedy set up a working group comprising the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, Army, and Health, Education and Welfare to review existing procedures and recommend improved guidelines for the development of water and related land resources. In May 1962 this working party presented its report, the

historic Senate Document No. 97\ also mentioned in Section 6.3. In this document the multi-dimensional goals of water conservation and management were announced for the first time. It required those responsible for the formulation of project plans to give full consideration to three principal objectives and

make reasoned choices between them when conflict occurred. These objectives were national economic development and the development of each region; the pre­ servation, through stewardship, of the nation’s natural bounty; and the well-being of all people, with an injunction to avoid resource development projects which gave benefit to the few whilst disadvantaging the many. Whilst no dramatic changes in evaluation procedures were announced, considerable uniformity was established with

regard to techniques and economic criteria for project evaluation. The most obvious immediate effect was a slowing down in the development of major irrigation projects which had formerly been justified on the grounds of somewhat tenuous secondary benefits.

Since the publication of Senate Document 97 there has been a very considerable output of legislation relating to the management of land and water resources on a multi-objective basis. This has been accompanied by a growth of popular interest in, and concern for, environmental and ecological issues and a corresponding change in

the nature of public goals and aspirations. The more significant enactments are briefly described below. The Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 authorised the preparation of a comprehensive plan for the regional development of water and land resources as

an integral component of a comprehensive regional economic development plan. The Federal Water Project Recreation Act of 1965 provided for the full consideration of opportunities for recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement on Federal projects and laid down specific cost allocation and cost-sharing provisions for this purpose.

The Water Resources Planning Act of 1965 established a comprehensive planning approach to the conservation, development and use of water and related land resources. It emphasised joint Federal-State co-operation in planning and required consideration of the views of all public and private interests involved. It provided for the establishment of a national Water Resources Council and the appointment of

River Basin Commissions and required the Council to formulate ‘principles, standards and procedures for Federal water and related land resources projects’. The Council was also required to maintain a continuing study of the relation of regional or river basis plans to the overall requirements of larger regions or the nation as a whole and periodically to appraise and update its procedures and policies. It subsequently

appointed a Task Force to formulate a new set of ‘Principles and Standards for Planning Water and Related Land Resources’, which were first published in July 1970 1

1 Policies, Standards and Procedures in the Formulation, Evaluation and Review o f Plans fo r the Use and Development o f Water and Related Land Resources, Senate Document No. 97,87th Congress, 15 May 1962.

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and became the basis for a comprehensive document published in a draft format for public review in December 1971. This draft is discussed in further detail in later pages of this section. The Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 established a national policy to use Federal assistance in planning and constructing public works to create

employment opportunities in regions suffering substantial and persistent unemploy­ ment. The Water Quality Act of 1965 and subsequent amendments provided for the establishment of water quality standards for interstate waters and defined specific planning goals for water quality management.

The Clean Water Restoration Act of 1966 provided for Federal assistance in developing comprehensive water quality control and abatement plans for river basins. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 provided that in planning for the use and development of water and related land resources consideration should be given to potential wild, scenic and recreational river areas in river basin and project plan reports, and required comparisons to be made with development alternatives which would be precluded by preserving these areas.

The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 provided that the States, to remain eligible for flood insurance, must give increasing attention to land use regulation, flood plain zoning and administrative policies as alternatives to the construction of engineering works for flood mitigation.

The Estuary Protection Act of 1968 outlined a policy of reasonable balance between the conservation of the natural resources and natural beauty of the nation’s estuarine areas and the need to develop such areas to further the growth and development of the nation.

The National Environment Policy Act of 1969 authorised and directed Federal agencies in the decision-making process to give appropriate consideration to environmental amenities and values, along with economic and technical considerations. The agencies concerned were required to present the results of their environmental impact analyses in their proposals for Federal action. This initiated a considerable amount of effort, which is still continuing, in the development of techniques and procedures for the assessment of environmental impact.

The Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970 further emphasised congressional interest in improving the environment and the major responsibility that State and local governments have for effectively implementing this policy. The Flood Control Act of 1970 specifically identified, for the first time, the multi­ objectives of national economic development, regional economic development, environmental quality and the well-being of people, all to be given equal weight in planning under what came to be called the ‘Four Account’ system. The Act included the following statement:

‘It is the intent o f Congress that the objectives o f enhancing regional economic development, the quality o f the total environment, including its protection and improvement, the well-being of the people o f the United States, and the national economic development are the objectives to be included in Federally financed water resource projects, and in the evaluation o f benefits and costs attributed thereto, giving due consideration to the most feasible alternative means of accomplishing these objectives.’

The culmination of this developing multi-objective approach came with the presentation of the Water Resources Council’s draft principles and standards for water resource and related land resource planning.1 This document spelt out the 1

1 Water Resources Council, Proposed principles and standards for planning water and related land resources. U.S. Federal Register, vol. 36, no. 245, 21 December 1971.

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multi-objective approach in considerable detail and suggested comprehensive standards and procedures for carrying out the various phases of planning in a consistent manner. The following quotations explain the nature of the multi-objective approaches expressed in that document:

‘These Principles are established for planning the use of the water and related land (hereinafter referred to as water and land) resources of the United States to achieve objectives, determined co-operatively, through the co-ordinated actions of the Federal, State and local governments; private enterprise and organisations; and individuals.

‘Plans for the use of the Nation’s water and land resources will be directed to improvement in the quality o f life through contributions to the objectives of national econom ic development, environmental quality and regional development. The beneficial and adverse effects on each of these objectives will be displayed in separate accounts with a fourth account for the beneficial and adverse effects on social factors. Planning for the use

o f water and land resources in terms o f these multi-objects will aid in identifying alternative courses o f action and will provide the type of action information needed to improve the public decision-m aking process. The overall purpose o f water and land resource planning is to reflect society’s

preferences for attainm ent o f the objectives defined below:

A. To enhance national econom ic development by increasing the value of the Nation’s output of goods and services and increasing national econom ic efficiency.

B. To enhance the quality o f the environment by the m anagement, conservation, preservation, creation, restoration or improvement o f the quality o f certain natural and cultural resources and ecological systems.

C. To enhance regional development through increases in a region’s income; increases in employment; distribution o f population within and am ong regions; improvements o f the region’s econom ic base and educational, cultural and recreational opportunities; and enhancement of its environment and other specified components of regional development.’

The ‘social factor’ objectives to be considered as the ‘Fourth Account’ included consideration of the effects of the plans on real income distribution, life, health and safety, and emergency preparedness. The bulk of the document dealt with the detail of standards and procedures for

meeting these objectives. Included amongst these standards and procedures were many of the factors discussed in Chapter 5 of this Report, including such aspects as the need for Federal-State co-operation in planning and decision making, the need for rational public involvement, the need for consideration of alternatives and making

provision for the independent review of plans, the determination of interest rates on the basis of the opportunity costs of investment, the use of sensitivity analysis and the need for careful consideration of risk and uncertainty factors. The changes in water resources planning policies that developed in the United

States during the 1960s were symptomatic of changing public values and attitudes over the same period. By the middle of the decade the U.S. national economy had achieved a considerable degree of stability, with relatively full employment, sustained

growth and steady prices. A comparatively affluent society became less committed to increasing national income and reducing unemployment and turned its attention to a consideration of other problems such as racial inequality, air and water pollution, the concentration of urban populations and the deterioration of inner city areas. A strong

environmental movement grew up which directed attention towards natural resources exploitation and produced aggressive anti-development attitudes. Ecology, which had barely emerged as a science, became to many people a new political imperative and a potent instrument in furthering the cause of preservation. This national awareness of

environmental issues was paralleled by an increasing concern about international

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problems of population growth, resource exploitation, and potential environmental deterioration on a global scale. During the 1960s, therefore, legislation and planning related to the development and management of water and land resources changed rapidly in the United States, apparently in response to changes in public attitudes. As has been implied in Chapter 6, there was over the same period little evidence of this kind of legislative and administrative change in Australia, although there was ample evidence, in such issues as the Lake Pedder controversy itself and other land resource conflicts such as Clutha, Fraser Island or the Myall Lakes, that at least a vocal minority of Australians held attitudes very similar to those being expressed in the U.S.A.

At the same time it must not be thought that the U.S.A. was without its environmental conflicts; indeed, a number of major controversies developed during the decade which highlighted the battle of seemingly incompatible objectives and emphasised the increasing need for a genuinely multi-objective approach. These included the great preservation issue on the Colorado River involving possible flooding of the Grand Canyon National Park by proposed hydro-electric dams at

Marble Canyon and Bridge Canyon, the Hell’s Canyon conflict on the Snake River, the giant Rampart Hydropower Project in Alaska, and the Cross-Florida Barge Canal conflict. By the beginning of the 1970s the situation in the U.S.A. embodied a major paradox; whilst legislative policies and administrative procedures were very considerably advanced and enlightened by comparison with what they had been a decade before, bitter environmental conflicts were in progress in many places and the water development agencies had the largest backlog of unfinished or abandoned projects in their history, involving many thousands of millions of dollars of capital. In several instances this could be attributed to an over-emphasis on the environmental aspects of proposed developments, a not unexpected pendulum effect of changing attitudes during the previous decade. This situation has caused increasing concern amongst water managers, as evidenced in the following quotation from a recent report by Professor Ian Burton to an O.E.C.D. Committee:1

‘Important as they are, the present concerns with the environmental impact o f water management activites can be overstated. Nor are they entirely new. The objectives of environmental preservation and enhancement have long been recognised in water management, but the priority and importance accorded to them has been relatively low. If that priority is now to be raised and water managers are to take the ecological arguments much more seriously, it is incumbent upon the environmentally concerned scientists to help in the effort to show how this is to be done. It is one thing to assert that the

environment is important and should be considered in all water management decisions. It is quite another thing to show how the environmental considerations can fairly and accurately take their place along with the other objectives that the complex task o f water m anagement involves.’

As explained earlier, the Committee has outlined the recent development of multi­ objective resource management legislation in the United States of America in some detail, partly because it is in many ways the most advanced legislation of its kind, particularly in relation to the water resources sphere, and partly because the U.S. Federal-State system of government has many similarities to the Australian system. At the same time there are many significant differences between the U.S. scene and the Australian scene and it is clearly necessary to develop specific Australian policies and procedures to suit Australian conditions and circumstances. Canada, which also has a Federal-State system of government, has developed policies and procedures

1 Report to Water Management Sector Group, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, January 1973.

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which are in many ways appropriate to Australian circumstances, and North American experience in general is considered by the Committee to offer a particularly relevant starting-point for the development of improved Australian policies. It should however be noted that many other countries have developed approaches to

environmental management and resource development which clearly merit careful study. A comprehensive review of newly developed water resource management policies in the O.E.C.D. countries has recently been published.1 The recent statement by the Minister for the Environment and Conservation

regarding the Australian Government’s new approach to water resources manage­ ment is a significant move in this direction.2 This statement outlines a national approach to water resources management which states that:

‘The conservation, development and m anagem ent of water resources must take place in the broader framework not only of developm ent and m anagement o f resources generally but also o f overall econom ic, environmental and social planning.’

The statement also refers to a proposed program of research and investigation which will include ‘the appraisal of legal and administrative systems related to water, including water quality management, with a view to providing the most effective basis for water management generally’, and ‘techniques for multi-objective appraisal of

proposals’. What this Committee means by multi-objective planning is an integrated approach to water and land resources planning which depends upon the careful specification of comprehensive objectives which include such aspects as national economic development, regional development, environmental and resource conserva­

tion considerations, and social welfare factors where relevant. These objectives should be given equal weight in the planning process; care should be taken to avoid an over­ emphasis on environmental factors to the detriment of regional development or social welfare factors, for example, in the same way as care should be taken to avoid an

over-emphasis on resource development per se. The broad objectives and principles for such a multi-objective approach need to be spelt out in appropriate legislation which clearly states national, State and regional policies. A much more specific state­ ment of objectives within this framework is needed in the formulation of individual

project objectives. Thus whilst the broad objectives of increasing national income and national economic efficiency, improving regional income redistribution and regional employment opportunities, maintaining environmental quality and emphasising sound principles of natural resource management might be specified as overall

national goals in Federal resource management legislation, an individual project involving the construction of a major dam and the development of its catchment might require the specification of such objectives as hydro-power development, flood mitigation, water quality management downstream of the structure, the management of fisheries, and the integrated use of the catchment in such a way as to provide for

erosion control, forestry development, recreational opportunity and the management of wildlife habitat. -

It is important to distinguish between multi-objective planning, as defined above, and multi-purpose planning. The latter term has been used extensively in the water resources field to apply to planning for the multiple use of water resources—thus a multi-purpose reservoir might provide in the one structure for irrigation, domestic water supply, hydro-power generation and flood mitigation. But such planning might be undertaken for a single overall objective, e.g. to provide an optimal mix of uses at

1 Water Management— Basic Issues, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, 1972. 2 A National Approach to Water Resources Management, A statement of Australian Government Policy by the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, the Hon. Moss Cass, M.P., 10 October 1973.

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maximum benefit-cost ratio or minimum overall unit cost. The multi-objective approach outlined above is much broader in concept and of course embraces multi­ purpose planning, so long as the latter is undertaken to meet a range of objectives which basically reflect the society’s goals and preferences.

Planning for natural resource development on a multi-objective basis depends upon the consideration of several key factors, none of which, in the Committee’s opinion, was adequately considered in the planning and decision-making processes that led to the implementation of the Gordon River Power Development project.

These faqtors are briefly discussed below.

a. The multi-objective approach Resource development projects which involve the potential alienation of large areas of land should be planned and managed on a multi-objective basis. The aim of such planning and management should be to optimise the benefits to be gained by the community at large from the overall development of all the natural resources of the

area concerned. Optimal management is needed in a spatial sense, to ensure that the best mix of resource utilisation is obtained over the area, and in a temporal sense, to ensure that benefits are maintained on a long-term basis and resources are not wasted or exploited. Planning for resource development needs also to be considered in a regional and national context, to ensure that the optimal pattern of resource use for the area concerned does not involve the wastage or loss of a resource that is particularly valuable from the national or regional viewpoint. Thus in operations research terminology, the resource utilisation of the area concerned needs to be maximised, subject not only to local constraints of a budgetary, social or environmental nature but subject also to regional and national resource management constraints.

These points are well illustrated in the Lake Pedder controversy. The Middle Gordon Scheme involves the inundation of 200 square miles of land which has been demonstrated to have potential use for water power development, for scientific purposes and for a wide range of recreational uses from high-return commercial tourism to wilderness experience, as well as having significant aesthetic values and justifiable potential for reservation as a National Park. Some of these uses are

incompatible, so that spatial planning is necessary; some are easily damaged or destroyed, so that sequential development and temporal planning is necessary. Some of the resources of the area concerned, notably the Lake Pedder ecosystem and its biota, the aesthetic values of Lake Pedder itself, and the wilderness values of the

South-West, are rare and therefore significant from regional, national and even international viewpoints.

Effective planning and management for the multi-objective use of resources as outlined above can only be achieved and safeguarded through adequate legislative and administrative machinery. This implies effective legislation to specify multi­ objective planning and management goals and the establishment of effective administrative organisations to ensure that such planning and management is carried out.

The Tasmanian legislation and administration relevant to the development of the resources of the Gordon-Serpentine area was deficient in a number of respects from this point of view. In particular the relevant legislation was specifically single-purpose in character (Hydro-Electric Commission Act) and the responsible administrative organisations were either too narrow in their approach (the Hydro-Electric Commission) or ineffective (the Scenery Preservation Board).

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b. The relation between resource development and land use Multi-objective planning for the development of natural resources depends in the first instance on the existence of an effective regional land use policy. This points to a need for the enactment of effective legislation to specify land use planning goals and

criteria and the establishment of effective administration to put the policy into effect. In 1967 Tasmania did not appear to have a multi-objective land use policy. The Hydro-Electric Commission was empowered under its Act to develop such land as it saw fit for the generation of electrical energy. Any doubts as to its right to alienate

Crown land for this purpose or to modify existing uses of Crown land were clarified by the Hydro-Electric Commission (Doubts Removal) Act 1972, enacted specifically to thwart a conservationist move to question the legality of the flooding of the Lake

Pedder National Park. The Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West made it clear that the Government’s policy towards the use of undeveloped Crown land was to concentrate on immediately and directly productive

commercial uses such as forestry, agriculture, mining, water-power development and tourism. It was implied that recreational and aesthetic uses would be considered only when other uses were not obvious. It was also implied that these uses could be pre­ empted if commercial uses were later discovered.

In 1967, and until the creation of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 1971, the administrative organisation responsible for planning and managing land in National Parks (scenic reserves) was the Scenery Preservation Board. This Board was inadequately supplied with funds and staff, which severely handicapped its ability to function effectively. In the planning which led to the development of the Middle

Gordon Scheme and the consequent loss of the Lake Pedder National Park its role was entirely usurped by the Government-appointed Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West. It might also be noted that evidence presented to this Committee of Enquiry

indicated that the new Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service is inadequately staffed and funded. This is particularly so in respect of its capacity to develop and implement a Management Plan for the South-West National Park.

c. Planning objectives and criteria Multi-objective planning requires the careful and comprehensive specification of planning objectives. These must be determined in relation to the overall land use policy of the region and should indicate how consideration will be given to regional

and national constraints of various kinds. The specific set of planning goals laid down for particular instrumentalities will depend upon their nature and function and the scope of the resources involved. It is essential that the planning goals be specified in such terms that they can readily be translanted into realistic criteria by which alternatives can be assessed and compared.

So far as possible these criteria should be defined in monetary terms to provide a common yardstick for comparison and their application should involve the most up- to-date techniques of benefit-cost analysis. It is nevertheless essential that adequate

attention and weight be given to indirect benefits, intangibles and other factors that are not readily quantifiable. In general terms, effective planning goals should take account of the effects of the project on the national economy, the regional economy, the environment of the area

under development and the social welfare of the inhabitants of the region. It is essential also that the relevant constraints, including those of budgetary, industrial, social, environmental, regional and national character, be clearly specified. The specification of planning goals and criteria is an important part of the

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legislation governing the activities of resource development agencies. In the case of the Lake Pedder controversy the relevant legislation was the Hydro-Electric Commission Act 1944. As has been discussed in detail earlier, this legislation is deficient in that it lays down a single-purpose objective and is particularly vague about how other purposes and objectives should be provided for. The evaluation criteria it specifies imply a minimum cost approach and the only provision for evaluation of benefits is in the estimation of revenue from the sale of electrical energy.

d. The consideration o f alternatives The optimal development of the resources of a region, or indeed of a single resource in a single location, requires the consideration and comparison of the variety of alternative ways in which the objective might be achieved. The principal reason for having specific planning criteria is to provide a common basis for the comparison of these alternatives. Thus one might select the project that provides a given service at least total cost, or, where different sizes or types of projects are envisaged, the one which provides the greatest excess of benefits over costs, the one which yields the

highest return on capital investment, or perhaps the one which provides the greatest ratio of benefits to costs. Whichever criterion is employed, it is desirable that it be expressed in terms of an ‘objective function’, a mathematical relationship between a monetary factor such as net benefit or annual cost and a physical factor such as the size of the project or the amount of water or power it produces; this relationship can then be maximised or minimised, subject to the physical or financial constraints or limits which apply in the particular case under consideration, to identify the best or

‘optimal’ project in terms of the criterion adopted. Even in the simplest of single-purpose projects there is always at least one alternative, that of not building the project at all. In most single-purpose projects there is a variety of ways in which the objective might be achieved. Multi-objective planning for resource development over a region involves potentially a vast array of

alternatives, and the problem of identifying and evaluating them may be formidable. It is apparent that the Hydro-Electric Commission did consider a variety of alternatives in its planning for the development of the water resources of the Gordon Region, firstly in determining the best location for the power development and secondly in considering ways of avoiding the environmental impact that development at this location implied. The criteria used to compare these alternatives were too narrow to satisfy the needs of many Tasmanians, but nevertheless the H.E.C. did give some consideration to them within the confines of the planning goals and criteria laid down in the Hydro-Electric Commission Act. The legislative and administrative structure in Tasmania in 1967 exhibited a number of shortcomings in relation to the evaluation and consideration of alternatives that have been discussed in detail in earlier sections of this Report. These include the failure of the Hydro-Electric Commission Act to specify the extent to which alternatives should be identified and compared; the failure of the Act to require that such alternatives be outlined and discussed in the Report to the Minister; the lack of any provision for independent review to ensure that alternatives have been adequately identified and assessed; the failure of the Tasmanian Parliament to exercise the review function for which no other provision was made; and the action of the Hydro-Electric Commission in keeping details of its investigation of alternatives secret.

e. Multi-disciplinary teamwork and the application o f ecosystem management principles Planning for multi-objective resource development is a complex business which

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requires the application of many disciplines. Because of the way natural resources are interrelated with one another and with their environment, multi-objective resource management should be based on ecological principles.1 The newly developed science of ecosystem management is particularly applicable to problems of this kind.2 It

involves the integration of engineering and economic concepts with ecological principles and depends heavily on the techniques of systems analysis and operations research for the study of complex resource-environment systems. Resource development and management agencies need to have a sufficient range

of professional expertise available within their own staff to permit such problems to be tackled on an ecosystem basis. It is important that teamwork exists within the organisation so that biologists, sociologists, geographers or others who may be

employed to assist in the analysis of these problems are not relegated to a secondary role with respect to the engineers or other professionals who form the bulk of the organisation’s staff. There is much scope for the involvement of other agencies expert in specific aspects of the problem in inter-departmental teams. Where the necessary

expertise is not available within the organisation or related agencies there is considerable scope for the employment of consultants. Whether or not the involvement of other instrumentalities or consultant groups is desirable or necessary, it is important that the central agency responsible for the project has a sufficient

breadth of expertise on its own staff to ensure a balanced approach to resource management and development problems, to recognise its own deficiencies in specific fields of expertise, and to know which outside experts should be called upon for advice and assistance.

The staffing structure of the Hydro-Electric Commission, like most other water resource development agencies in Australia, is very heavily oriented towards the engineering profession. In 1967 the composition of the Commission’s staff did not encompass a wide enough range of disciplines to ensure that all relevant aspects of

planning and development were considered; indeed, it might be said that the staffing structure of the Commission was such as to discourage a multi-objective consideration of resource management problems. The Commission appeared to recognise this to a very limited extent in the employment of the Museums’ team for a biological survey,

but this survey was undertaken very late in the planning process and cannot be considered to have been an integral part of it. The Commission did employ consultants, but these were engineering consultants concerned only with technical aspects of the project. The Commission did not invite the co-operation of other

departments in inter-departmental activities: the only inter-departmental committee involved in the controversy was appointed by the Tasmanian Government and had a very limited range of expertise amongst its members. The Commission might with ample justification have sought the assistance of the Scenery Preservation Board,

which was directly involved in the management of the Lake Pedder National Park and had amongst its membership persons with some knowledge of biology and some expertise in the fields of recreation and aesthetics: but it did not choose to do so.

f. Independent Review Most Australian water resource development agencies are so structured that they are given under a single Act the comprehensive responsibility for the undertaking of all the functions involved in water resource data collection, water planning, and the design, construction and operation of water management projects. In the United

1 J. R. Burton, Management o f Natural Ecosystems, 40th ANZAAS Congress, Sydney, 1972. 2 J. R. Burton, An Ecosystem Approach to Water Resource Management. Proc. Sympos. The Engineer and the Environment, I.E. Aust., Sydney, 1972.

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States it has been found that such agencies tend to develop excessive authority and do not necessarily achieve optimal results in water resources development. The following quotation from Professor R. K. Linsley, a water engineer of very substantial international repute, is particularly relevant to the involvement of the Hydro-Electric Commission in the Lake Pedder controversy.1

‘It is both unreasonable and unwise to expect men engaged in water planning to be free of the normal human motivation for prestige and accomplishment. People who have worked for months (or years) on the complicated studies required to define the details o f a major water project are quite likely to unconsciously favour the project in each estim ate they make. When considering alternatives, they are probably more inclined to favour the large

or unusual project over the smaller or more usual project. It is also unreasonable to expect those who will benefit from a water project to be completely objective in their view o f the project. They can be expected to encourage the project in any way they can. Finally, one m ust expect the collective o f people constituting a water-planning agency to work for the growth and perpetuation of the agency. Indeed, if an agency staff displays no agency loyalty we have good cause to be concerned.

These assertions imply no deliberate falsification o f facts for personal gain. Rather, we are concerned with a subconscious bias in favour o f a project or a particular alternative in the minds o f those associated with the study. The problem is all the more serious because the effort required to m ake a critical analysis o f a major water project is so large that it is rare that any project is subject to a complete independent check. Almost invariably, independent, unbiased evaluation o f U.S. water projects suggests that the balance in favour o f the project is much less than found by the planning agency.’

Linsley goes on to point out that democratic governments tend to develop a system of checks and balances to prevent one arm of government from developing excessive authority. He suggests that it seems particularly desirable to separate the function of planning from that of design and construction. He suggests also that it might also be desirable to have two planning agencies—one at State level and the other at Federal level—to assure that ‘a spectrum of views is directed towards a project proposal’.

It has already been pointed out that there was no independent review of the H.E.C.’s proposals for the Gordon River Power Development, apart from the laudable but ineffective Select Committee of Enquiry, which held its hearings in camera and consisted entirely of laymen.

This Committee strongly recommends to the Australian Government that it give urgent consideration to the development of ways and means for ensuring effective independent review of proposals for resource development projects to be undertaken by its own agencies or on a joint Federal-State basis. Such review should extend beyond environmental impact assessment to embody a complete appraisal of the proposal from a multi-objective point of view. One possible way of achieving such an objective in the short term could be to combine the technical and administrative skills available within the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation with an appropriate range of scientific and socio-economic skills available within the B.A.E., CSIRO and other Australian Government agencies, to form widely based inter-disciplinary review teams as and when necessary.

In short, in the opinion of this Committee, the primary lesson to be learnt from the Lake Pedder controversy is the need to adopt a multi-objective approach to the management of Australia’s water and land resources. This approach must provide for much more effective Federal-State co-operation in resource management and for much more effective public involvement in the planning process. The recent statement of Federal policy towards water resource

1 R. K. Linsley, ‘Some Socio-economic Aspects of Water Development’ in Water Resources Use and Management (Melbourne Univ. Press, 1963).

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management is an encouraging step in this direction. It must however be implemented by effective legislation and the development of appropriate principles, standards and procedures. Furthermore, it must be extended to embrace land resources and other natural resources having national significance.

The establishment of such policies, legislation and procedures will require considerable research and investigation. It will also require the development of new attitudes and understanding between the Australian Government and the State governments and between these governments and the Australian people. Specific

recommendations aimed at the achievement of these objectives are given in later sections of this Chapter.

8.3 National, State and Regional Policies for Land Use Planning and the Management of Natural Resources1

The Lake Pedder controversy can be looked upon as a conflict in land use that might not have occurred had the Tasmanian Government had an effective and comprehensive policy of land use planning and management. It will be evident from the preceding section that current American thinking about water resources

development emphasises the inter-relationship between land and water resources and requires water resources planning to be undertaken in a land use context. Many of the major environmental conflicts other than Lake Pedder that have developed in Australia during the past decade—the Little Desert, Clutha, Fraser Island, Colong

Caves, Myall Lakes and Cooloola are typical examples—have fundamentally been conflicts in land use. Indeed, almost all the conflicts that arise in the development of natural resources relate to land management issues, and effective land use planning must be considered an essential component of natural resources management.

Natural resources are derived from the land or from the sea. This Committee is not concerned with the resources of the sea. Land-based resources are more readily available to man, who can choose between wise use and management to his own long­ term benefit, or abuse and exploitation to his eventual detriment. The nature and

availability of land-based resources depends on the nature and characteristics of the land itself. These vary from place to place and are the result of a long period of evolution and development under the influence of a variety of climatic, topographical,

geological, hydrological, biological and other factors. These factors combine to produce a wide range of land patterns or units having vastly different characteristics and providing different groupings of available resources, each of which is closely related to the characteristics of the land unit from which it derives.

Furthermore, each of these units is itself a dynamic ecological system, whose characteristics and function must be understood before the nature and optimal use of the resources it contains can be determined. Some of these systems, largely because their soils, landform and climate provide a suitable habitat for a wide diversity of

plant and animal species, are quite stable in character and the changes introduced by man rarely lead to instability or the subsequent destruction of soil and water resources. On the other hand many systems, particularly those in harsh environments and difficult terrain, are potentially unstable and unwise use by man may result in

1 The views expressed in this section have been influenced to a considerable extent by the writings of Dr R. G. Downes, now Chairman of the Land Conservation Council of Victoria and a notable Australian authority on land management. The reader is referred to the following articles by Dr Downes: (a) ‘Goals for Resource Management’ in The Natural Resources o f Australia— Prospects & Problems fo r

Development, edited by J. A. Sinden, published by Angus and Robertson in association with ANZAAS, 1972. (b) ‘Land, Land Use and Soil Conservation’ in Conservation edited by A. B. Costin and H. J. Frith, Pelican, 1971. (c) ‘Conservation in Relation to the Land and its Use’ in The Last o f Lands edited by L. J. Webb, D. Whitelock and J. Le Gay Brereton, Jacaranda Press, 1969.

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wholesale erosion, decimation of vegetation and wildlife, and the wastage or total loss of available resources. Downes1 has pointed out that ‘the resources available to man depend on the nature of the land. To What extent they are useful, or can be made useful, depends on his knowledge of the land system, its reaction under treatment and his skill and judgment in devising systems of use and management which will maintain stability.

Those responsible for resource management should be trying to make the best possible use of the available resources so as to satisfy all and not just some of the needs of the community. They should be doing this in a manner that does not diminish the availability of renewable resources to future generations.’

The land systems or patterns to which Downes refers are not random, but a consequence of particular combinations of the influences which form them. Recognition of these patterns forms a scientific basis for the study of land and for the determination of its land use capability. A recognition of the nature of land systems and the processes which formed them also provides a basis for the effective management of these systems and the wise utilisation of the resources which they provide.

The community makes a wide range of demands for the use of these natural resources. Although these demands can be in conflict, it is possible to devise an acceptable basis for resolving these conflicts in the overall public interest. This is the essential goal of land use planning.

Downes has proposed2 the following requirements for land use planning as a basis for resource management:

T. The different needs of a community for land for various purposes must be understood, accepted and satisfied, even though the priorities given to various uses may change from time to time and from generation to generation. 2. Land must be characterised satisfactorily so that its usefulness for different purposes can be properly assessed and so that the potential hazards or likely contingent effects or changes resulting from such uses can be predicted. 3. Various areas of land must be evaluated for different purposes in relation to the present

and future needs of the community. 4. Priorities of use for different areas of land and the best and most appropriate means of achieving such uses must be considered so that the land will continue to serve the chosen purpose without deterioration from one generation to another.’

Downes has also stated some principles which he considers to be basic to the allocation of land for different uses.3 These are as follows: ‘1. Decisions should only be made on the basis of adequate information, including the character of the land, its potential for various uses and the hazards which are likely to rise

if it is put to such uses. 2. Decisions on land use and the allocation of land should not be made unless they will satisfy a demonstrably present community need. Such decisions should be left to the generations that will use an available resource.

3. Decisions respecting the development and use of the resources of a district should be considered in relation to the whole of the resources of a State, or, in some circumstances, the Commonwealth. Too often a parochial attitude assumes dominance because local people want the advantage of every possible kind of resource development and use. Local pressures of this kind often lead to inefficient overall use of both the region itself and the total resources of the country. 4. Decisions should be based on a recognition of the need of the whole community for land

1 In Goals for Resource Management, op. cit., p. 22. 2 InGoals fo r Resource Management, op. cit., p. 27. 3 In Goals fo r Resource Management, op. cit., pp 27-28.

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for a variety o f different purposes which should in turn have equal standing and validity although priorities may change from time to time. People need land for production of food, fibre and water; for industrial and urban development; for transport and communication; for power transmission by power lines and pipe lines; for recreation and enjoyment; and land in an unchanged state for scientific study and for the preservation o f plant and animal

species.

5. Decisions should be based on an awareness of the possibility that priorities may have to be changed to satisfy the future needs of the community. In Australia there has arisen a most urgent priority— the maintenance o f sufficient and suitable areas o f land in an unchanged condition as reference areas for scientific study and the maintenance of our

unusual array o f plant and animal species. In addition there has arisen another urgent priority— the m aintenance of sufficient areas o f public open space, near centres of population, for the recreation and enjoyment o f the rapidly increasing population. These represent urgent changes o f priority which have occurred within the last 30 years and in

some respects they have been recognised too late.

6. Decisions should be based on an understanding that different kinds of land have different potentials for various uses; the m ost valuable areas are those suitable for a number of uses. These kinds of land should be retained under flexible forms o f land use so that changes can be made to accommodate changing needs and demands of the community. An inflexible use— one which precludes another use for a long time— should

not be imposed until it is clear that it is satisfactory and essential in the public interest.

7. Decisions should be m ade to ensure that multiple use o f land is applied wherever possible so that the land serves the community to its fullest possible extent.

8. Decisions should be based on the knowledge that there is an appropriate system o f use and m anagement which will ensure that each land type will continue to serve its chosen purpose and will not suffer damage or decline in productivity and usefulness. For this reason decisions regarding land use must be based on the ecological concept that imposing changes on an area o f land will be followed by reactionary changes and that it is therefore essential that the system ensures that such changes will either m aintain stability or create a

new stability so as to secure the continued usefulness of the area.’

This Committee endorses the principles espoused by Downes and considers that the Lake Pedder controversy provides an object lesson to illustrate how an inadequate appreciation of these principles has led to the unwise alienation of land and the loss of scientific, recreational and aesthetic values having regional and national significance.

The Committee strongly affirms that future projects involving the management of land-based resources ought to be undertaken only on the basis of adequate land use planning. It follows that an essential preliminary to the development of effective resource management policies and procedures is the development and implementa­

tion of effective land use planning and management policies and procedures. The analysis of the Lake Pedder controversy given in the preceding pages of this Report indicates that the State of Tasmania does not have adequate legislative or administrative provisions to ensure effective land use planning and management in

accordance with the principles outlined above. The same can be said for most Australian States, with the exception of Victoria; it can also be said for the Australian Government with respect to its responsibilities for the management of land in the Territories under its own jurisdiction. Furthermore, there does not appear to be

adequate provision for the integrated consideration of land use planning and resource management problems at a national level. Most Australian States have enacted a variety of legislation to provide government departments and statutory authorities with the necessary powers to manage

individual natural resources on public lands and to assist private landholders to manage the resources on their own land. These provisions relate to such matters as water conservation, soil conservation and erosion control, forestry, wildelife

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management, the development of mineral resources and so on. Furthermore, a number of national Councils has been established to co-ordinate this kind of activity on a joint Federal-State basis; the Australian Water Resources Council and the Australian Forestry Council are typical examples. Except in Victoria, however, little has been done to achieve overall land and resource management co-ordination through the establishment of legal and administrative procedures which require the proper consideration and allocation of land for different purposes with the objective of making the best overall use of available land-based resources in the long-term public interest.

This deficiency has long been recognised. Nearly thirty years ago the Rural Reconstruction Commission, appointed by the Commonwealth Government to recommend post-war action on rural development, in its Third Report (1944) made the following statement: ·

'The Commission appreciates that the allocation o f land to reserves, national parks, catchm ents and forests, and the co-ordination of land use is a function for State Governments and not primarily a concern o f the Commonwealth. However, the satisfactory solution o f the problem will determine certain matters which are o f Commonwealth concern in the sense that whatever affects the national economy indirectly affects all citizens.’

The Commission went on to recommend that each State government should appoint a Land Utilisation Council, established as a standing committee of relevant Departmental heads with a small supporting staff of its own, which should have the function of ‘co-ordination of State policy on all matters of alienation, forest development, water resources (insofar as they are affected by methods of land use), national parks and reserves and erosion control’.

Similar ideas were expressed two years later by Judge Stretton, acting as a Royal Commission into forest grazing in Victoria, whose report and recommendations showed a clear appreciation of the problems of land use and proposed the establishment of a land utilisation authority with supreme authority over land users and land usage in the State.

Legislation designed to implement these recommendations was eventually enacted in Victoria with the passage of the Soil Conservation and Land Utilisation Act of 1958. This Act provided for the establishment of a Soil Conservation Authority to carry out specified land management functions which included matters relevant to the utilisation of all lands insofar as they affected soil conservation and erosion control, together with a Land Utilisation Advisory Council having the specific function of

advising the Minister and the Authority on Land use in water supply catchment areas. Subsequently the Council was given an added function relating to the use of land for forest development, and, in 1966, its responsibility was greatly widened to include consideration of the use of all the lands of the State. Under this new responsibility the Council was required to report and make recommendations concerning:

(i) the potential of various areas of land for different forms of land use; (ii) those areas for which there are alternative forms of land use and which forms should be adopted in the public interest; (iii) a long-term policy for the proper development and use of unalienated Crown

lands and forest reserves and for the attainment of more satisfactory use and higher productivity from alienated land.

With these added functions the Council appeared to be outstandingly successful in achieving effective liaison between departments managing specific resources and obtaining a general acceptance of the basic criteria on which land use decisions should be made. It became a unique government organisation in Australia and had

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little counterpart overseas. A further change was made in 1970 with the passage of the Land Conservation A ct 1970, which constituted a Land Conservation Council to replace and take over the functions of the Land Utilisation Advisory Council. The functions of this Council were defined in the Act as follows:

‘5. (1) The Council shall:

(a) carry out investigations and make recommendations to the Minister with respect to the use o f public land in order to provide for the balanced use o f land in Victoria; (b) make recommendations to the Governor in Council as to the constitution and definition of water supply catchment areas under the Soil Conservation and Land

Utilisation Act 1958; and (c) advise the Soil Conservation Authority concerning policy on the use o f land (whether public land or any other land however vested) in' any water supply catchment area. (2) In m aking any recommendation the Council shall have regard to the present and

future needs o f the people of Victoria in relation to: (a) the preservation of areas which are ecologically significant; (b) the conservation of areas of natural interest, beauty or o f historical interest; (c) the creation and preservation o f areas o f reserved forest; (d) the creation and preservation of areas for national parks;

(e) the creation and preservation of areas for leisure and recreation and in particular of areas close to cities and towns for bushland recreation reserves; (f) the creation and preservation of reserves for the conservation o f fish and wildlife; (g) the preservation of species of native plants; and (h) land required by government departments and public authorities in order to carry

out their functions.

(3) Where the Council recommends the alienation o f any land the recommendation shall include the Council’s opinion as to the best method o f alienating the land to ensure the most satisfactory use and m anagem ent of the land in the public interest.

(4) Any person or body may make submissions to the Council as to how any public land can be better used to meet the needs o f the people of Victoria and the Council shall consider any such submissions before m aking any recommendation under paragraph (a) of sub-section (1).

The Committee suggests that the Victorian approach to land use policy provides a most effective model which might be considered by all other States as a basis for planning the establishment of their own land use co-ordination authorities. Such a model is also seen to be appropriate for the Australian Government to consider as the

basis for the establishment of a land use authority to be responsible for co-ordinating the management of land within the Territories administered by that Government. Within the overall jurisdiction of State land utilisation authorities of the kind discussed above there is need for much detailed land appraisal and land use planning

within specific regions. There are several ways in which this could be effected. In New South Wales, for example, a system of regional administration has recently been introduced by which the State has been divided into regions based on local government boundaries; some measure of responsibility for land use planning within these regions has been implied by the establishment of Regional Advisory Councils.

This is not however a particularly logical basis for the management of land-based natural resources, because of the arbitrary nature of local government boundaries. The Victorian Town and Country Planning board has adopted a more rational approach from a land management viewpoint by adopting some regions which are

geographically homogeneous—the Mornington Peninsula, the Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley are examples. In general the most effective regional unit for the management of land and land- based natural resources on an ecological basis is the river basin. A river basin

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approach to planning has been adopted to some extent in the United States, with its River Basin Commissions responsible for the planning of water and related land resources, and in New Zealand, where Regional Water Boards have recently been developed from the older Catchment Boards and made responsible for the management of water and related land resources within major river basin boundaries.

The most appropriate basis for detailed regional management of land resources in Australia will clearly vary from State to State according to a Variety of conditions and circumstances. A major task facing any new State land utilisation organisation would be the need to give careful consideration to the establishment of appropriate regions and to plan the manner in which they should be administered. For eastern Australia at least, the Committee considers the river basin approach to be the most appropriate one from an overall resource management point of view.

At the national level there is a clear need for the development of co-ordinated policies between the individual States, and between the State Governments and the Australian Government, in respect of land use planning and the management of land- based natural resources. The need for State co-ordination is particularly apparent when planning and management on a river basin basis is envisaged, since State boundaries have been determined with little regard for hydrological or ecological boundaries: the Murray Basin is Australia’s outstanding example. The need for Federal-State co-ordination has been well illustrated in the Lake Redder affair, for whilst the fate of Lake Redder and the South-West can be determined solely by the Tasmanian Government, many people believe these outstanding features to be part of the national heritage and their management the responsibility of all Australians.

An effective measure of co-ordination in the development and management of some natural resources is already achieved at the national level through such organisations as the Australian Water Resources Council and the Australian Forestry Council. But just as there is a need at State level for the co-ordination of resource management on a land use basis, there is an equal need for this kind of co-ordination at a Federal level. This might be achieved through the establishment of a national Land Utilisation Council, having a similar function on a national scale to the State land utilisation authorities discussed above.

This presumes, however, that such a national Council would have primary responsibilities in the broad area of land use planning and management and particularly that it would concentrate on co-ordinating the implementation of a national land use policy. Important as this objective is seen to be, it tends to sidestep the related issues of broad-scale environmental management and the overall co­ ordination of natural resources development on a national scale.

It will be evident from the early pages of this section that these issues are closely interconnected. Whilst planning and decision making for natural resources development on a multi-objective basis must be undertaken in the light of land use and land management considerations, it must also be undertaken in the light of the overall national and regional availability of the resources concerned and on the basis of a knowledge of the relative importance of resources whose uses may be in conflict. Thus in the Lake Redder affair, a rational comparison of alternatives to the adopted Middle Gordon Scheme would require an assessment of the national and regional value of the hydro-electric resources foregone should Lake Redder not be flooded.

Similarly, a rational assessment of environment issues which have arisen in Australia over the development of mineral resources should depend upon a national and regional evaluation of the available rutile, limestone, coal or other resources concerned and a corresponding evaluation of the recreational, aesthetic, forest or agricultural resources that their exploitation might displace.

This Committee sees the need for a national Council whose function would go

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beyond land use planning as such to embrace the related fields of environmental management and natural resources management on a national scale. Councils having similar objectives have successfully been established in other countries: Canada and Sweden1 are typical examples. In the Committee’s view such a Council should be

given a comprehensive title such as ‘Australian Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council’ to indicate the broad nature of its co-ordinating and planning role. The Committee therefore recommends to the Australian Government that it give

urgent consideration to the establishment of an Australian Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council, with broad responsibility for the overall planning and co­ ordination of land use, natural resource management and environmental management at a national level.

This Council should be so structured as to give adequate representation to, and to achieve effective co-operation between, the existing national resource Councils including the Australian Water Resources Council, the Australian Mineral Council, the Australian Forestry Council, the Agricultural Production Council, the Australian

Environment Council and the Council of Nature Conservation Ministers, together with the appropriate State land resource agencies and councils. The Council should be charged with the responsibility for formulating overall national policies for land use, natural resource management and environmental

management and developing appropriate principles, procedures and standards for the implementation of these policies. The Council should also be charged with the responsibility for encouraging the related resource Councils to develop co-ordinated national policies for resource

development, e.g. a National Water Policy and a National Minerals Policy. Furthermore, it should be charged with the responsibility, through these Councils, for developing and maintaining an integrated national land and natural resources inventory and for developing a national plan for land and resources use.

The Council should give special consideration to research needs in the broad fields of land inventory, land use planning, natural resource management and environmental management and encourage and facilitate, either directly or through the resource Councils as appropriate, the undertaking of such research.

It will be essential for adequate finance and professional and technical assistance to be provided for all these purposes. The structure, organisation and detailed function of this Council will require very careful consideration; there will be obvious difficulties in establishing a Council organisation which can be so widely representative as has been suggested above whilst

remaining small enough to be effective. The Committee envisages it as having a broadly similar structure to the Australian Water Resources Council, with the Council itself organised as a relatively small and powerful Ministerial Council, a large Standing Committee providing adequate representation for the involved Resource

Councils, State land utilisation Councils and State resource agencies, and appropriate inventory, planning, policy and technical sub-committees. The formation of such a Council is considered by this Committee to be so important that its organisation should not be planned solely by a Government department. To ensure that all aspects

of the Committee’s broad recommendations are explored in depth and that the knowledge and experience of the many agencies and individuals concerned with these recommendations are drawn upon, the Australian Government is strongly urged to

1 Since 1966 Sweden has been engaged upon the development of a ‘National Physical Plan’ which has aimed at achieving the kind of integrated management and planning of land, environment and natural resources discussed above. See L. Lundavist, ‘Sweden’s Environmental Policy’, Ambio, vol. 1 no. 3, June 1972.

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convene a national symposium on land use policy and natural resources management at an early date to explore the Committee’s proposals in detail. Under the Australian Constitution, the basic responsibility for land management and resource development lies with the States. The Committee strongly recommends that the States be encouraged, where necessary with the provision of financial and technical assistance1, to establish co-ordinating land utilisation and resource management councils having overall responsibilities for the development and implementation of land use and natural resources policies at State and regional level. It is also recommended that the Australian Government establish a similar council for

the formulation and implementation of such policies within the Territories under its control. Clearly such councils should have adequate representation on the proposed Australian Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council and their overall policies should be co-ordinated with that Council’s policies.

It will be apparent from discussion in earlier sections of this Report that the Committee believes an extensive review of existing legislation relating to land utilisation and the management of natural resources to be desirable. Such review should be aimed at the effective implementation of the principles outlined in the preceding pages of this Chapter.

For the most part such legislative changes would apply to State legislation for land management, land use, resource development and environmental management and would not be a direct Federal responsibility. One would hope that these legislative changes would come increasingly to reflect the national land use and resource management policies discussed above, to be evolved through the proposed Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council and the existing resource Councils. It is of course implicit in the nature of these Councils and the Committee’s recommenda­ tions that these policies be worked out and agreed to on a co-operative Federal-State basis.

Clearly, the Committee believes that any new legislation relating to land and land- based resource management with which the Australian Government itself is concerned should also reflect the principles discussed in Sections 8.2 and 8.3 and give an adequate expression of national resource policies. This applies not only to legislation pertaining to the management of land and resources in the Territories, but to any future legislation relating to resource development on a joint Federal-State basis.

8.4 The Planning of Natural Resource Development Projects As explained in detail in Chapter 6, this Committee has concluded that the investigation, planning and decision-making procedures which together constituted the planning process for the Gordon River Power Development Stage I project were deficient in many respects. The Committee believes that lessons can be learnt from a consideration of these deficiencies which provide a basis for the development of an improved approach to the planning of major resource development projects. This approach must be based on multi-objective concepts and so devised as to give adequate consideration to the environmental implications of the project and ample expression to community preferences and values.

1 A precedent for such action exists in the Australian Government’s recent proposals for establishing an Australian Land Commission and encouraging the formulation of State Land Commissions. It has been announced by the Department of Urban and Regional Development that up to $60 million will be made available to such Commissions for land acquisition. It should be noted that these Commissions are concerned only with the acquisition and management of land for urban development.

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P U B L I C A G E N C Y

S T A T E A U S T R A L I A N

G O V E R N M E N T G O VE R N M EN T

PROJECT I NI TI ATI ON

PROJECT I NI TI ATI ON

PROJECT INVESTIGATION

PROJECT SELECTION

PRELIMINARY DESIGN AND COSTING

PREPARATION OF SUBMISSION TO GOVERNMENT FOR PROJECT

APPROVAL

GOVERNMENT CONSIDERATION OF PROJECT AT CABINET OR

CAUCUS LEVEL

GOVERNMENT DECISION TO PROCEED

PASSAGE OF ENABLING ACT

DETAILED DESIGN

CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION

CONSERVATION GROUPS MAY TAKE ACTION

PUBLIC

ENQUIRY ?

FEDERAL ASSISTANCE MAY BE

SOUGHT

SPECIFICATION OF OVERALL GOALS AND CRITERIA

Figure 15: T he planning process— current practice.

The steps normally taken in the planning and implementation of a major resource development project in Australia are shown schematically in Figure 15. It is assumed that the project is undertaken by a State department or instrumentality using funds obtained from State and Federal sources. The diagram is based essentially on the

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steps taken in the planning of the Middle Gordon Scheme, as detailed in earlier pages of this Report. It is however typical of many major resource development projects, particularly in the water resources sphere, undertaken in Australia during the past 20 years.

The planning process summarised in Figure 15 involves the following components:

, 1. Specification o f Overall Planning Objectives and Planning Criteria

This is the function of the Parliament concerned and is laid down in the Act which defines the function of the department or instrumentality involved (e.g. Hydro­ Electric Commission A ct 1944). Such an Act usually specifies objectives in general terms and in a single-purpose context (e.g. the production of electrical energy or the

supply of water solely for irrigation use). Planning criteria are usually stated in the Act in vague and general terms (e.g. ‘in the interests of the State’) but might be implied in a direction about the form in which the proposal must be presented for approval (refer comment on Hydro-Electric Commission Act in Section 6.8).

2. Initiation o f Project In current practice this may be done either by the Government in power or by the department or authority responsible for the construction of the project. Obviously, projects may be initiated for a variety of motives. Governments may be prompted by direct political motivation (e.g. as a pre-election vote-winning strategy or a post­ election fulfilment of election promises) or by indirect political motivation (e.g.

implementation of party policy). Governments may also be motivated by pressure- group lobbying and of course by genuine community needs when these are expressed sufficiently clearly. When projects are initiated by Government departments or instrumentalities these may be motivated by the department’s own assessment of demand growth (as in the case of the Middle Gordon Scheme) or as a result of formal submissions from community or local government groups (as with many irrigation projects and most extra-metropolitan water supply and sewerage projects). Monopolistic departments which are solely responsible for planning, design, construction and operation of major projects are sometimes motivated by the Monument Syndrome1 or the Good Thing

Principle.2

3. Project Investigation This phase of the planning process is primarily the responsibility of the constructing agency. As was the case with the Gordon River Power Development investigation, it is common for this to be undertaken solely by the agency concerned and for it to be concentrated more or less exclusively on the engineering aspects of the project and related physical investigations, i.e. geological, hydrological etc. There may be extensive use of technical consultants and there is increasing use of economic consultants. Until recently, however, there has been very little call on biological or environmental consultants (as instanced in the Middle Gordon Scheme) although this is becoming increasingly common in those States which require some form of environmental impact assessment. For the most part, however, the investigation is undertaken by staff of the constructing department, i.e. by a predominantly engineering group.

1 A term applied by American water economists to the tendency monopolistic agencies have sometimes had to construct larger and more expensive structures than necessary because they incorporate outstanding technical features that bring professional kudos to the agency. 2 A not uncommon motive in Australian irrigation development in the past. See J. R. Burton, ‘Engineering Aspects of

River Basin Development* in The Living Earth, October 1963.

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In many past projects, and certainly in the case of the Middle Gordon Scheme, there has been limited investigation of alternatives, inadequate expression of evaluation criteria and little attention to the possible environmental, regional, social, cumulative or synergistic consequences of the project.

4. Project Selection It is common for the selection of the preferred project to be made at this stage and for this decision to be made by the constructing department (e.g. Middle Gordon Scheme). The decision may be based on very limited consideration of alternatives,

with no serious attention given to environmental, regional or social welfare factors (again, the Middle Gordon Scheme). The decision may be a technical rationalisation of a much earlier ‘hunch’ decision made on the basis of engineering judgment. In effect, the real decision to proceed with the selected project is often made at this stage by the constructing agency, without reference either to Government or to the public (e.g. Gordon Scheme).

5. Preliminary Project Design and Costing This phase of the planning process is undertaken by the constructing agency as a basis for the submission of a report to Government for approval. Technical consultants may be used but biological or environmental consultants are not

commonly employed. Detailed design may proceed at the same time in anticipation of Government approval and the costs involved in such design may be high enough to ensure that the project proposal cannot readily be changed (this may well have been

the case with the Gordon Scheme).

6. Submission o f Proposal to Government for Approval In a majority of cases this is the first occasion on which any detailed information about the project is made public (e.g. Gordon Scheme). This effectively precludes the community at large from any direct participation in the planning process. At the same time it may force public interest groups to take political action which leads to bitter

controversy. The proposal may be brief and lacking in detail and may be simply of the ‘take it or leave it’ variety, offering the decision makers no alternatives other than acceptance or rejection (refer again to the Gordon Scheme).

7. Consideration by Government The proposal will first be considered by the Government in power through its party decision-making group, i.e. cabinet or caucus or a sub-committee of one of these. If the project was initiated by the same party the decision to proceed may be automatic.

If it was initiated on the basis of other motives, considerable political manoeuvring may develop. 8

8. Public Phase The decision next enters a public phase where several actions are possible. The Government may seek Federal assistance and some opportunity for Federal involvement may therefore arise. If the project is a controversial one there may be sufficient outcry against it for some form of public enquiry to be initiated. In the case

of the Gordon Scheme proposal this led to the appointment of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council. At the present time in some States an environmental impact study could be required and a formal public hearing might be initiated by an appropriate Minister (e.g. recent Gas Pipeline Enquiry in N.S.W.). It is however likely

that little detailed information will be made available to the general public.

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9. Government Decision to Proceed On the basis of Government and public discussion during the preceding two phases, the Government party in power must make a decision whether or not to proceed with the project. If there has been considerable public controversy this decision may be made largely on the basis of value judgments and political trade-offs.

10. The Formal Decision—Passage o f Enabling Act The formal decision to construct the project will normally be made by Parliament through the passage of an enabling act. This is the only occasion on which the group referred to in the American literature as the ‘decision makers’—i.e. the elected representatives of the community at large—plays a formal role in the planning process. In the context of the current Australian political scene this role may in fact be a nominal one, since the Government party in power is able to use its majority to ensure the passage of the Act (refer again to the Middle Gordon Scheme).

It will be clear from the preceding chapters and the earlier sections of this Chapter that the Committee believes the process above to be entirely inadequate. Much improved procedures must be adopted by State and Federal Governments and agencies if sound land use policies are to be implemented, the best overall management of natural resources and the environment is to be achieved, and public controversies like the Lake Redder one are to be avoided.

A possible procedure which the Committee puts forward as a basis for consideration is summarised in Figure 16. This improved planning process is described and discussed below:

1. Specification o f Planning Objectives and Evaluation Criteria It will be evident from the earlier sections of this Chapter that the Committee believes there is very considerable room for improvement in the overall specification of

planning objectives and project evaluation criteria for major natural resource development projects. This requires the co-operative involvement of State and Federal Governments, who must give adequate expression to community goals and preferences. An overall statement of broad national objectives and guidelines should first be given in a national land use and natural resources policy, worked out by a national co-ordinating group such as the Committee’s proposed Australian Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council. This should then be detailed and amplified in specific resource management policies, criteria and procedures, promulgated by the relevant resource councils. Corresponding and interlinking policies and procedures would desirably need to be specified at State and regional levels by co-ordinating councils such as the recommended State Land Utilisation Councils and their responsible departments and instrumentalities. The general requirements for these policies and procedures have been discussed in the earlier sections of this Chapter. They include emphasis on multi-objective concepts, with planning objectives couched in terms of national economic development, regional economic development, environmental management and social welfare, and with evaluation criteria expressed in quantitative terms so far as is possible and embodying the most up-to-date techniques of economic and environmental analysis.

2. Project Initiation Project initiation needs to be undertaken on the joint initiative of Governments, their agencies and the community, on the basis of genuine community need as assessed in the light of the overall policies and objectives discussed above. The initiation of a major project investigation should itself be subject to Parliamentary approval

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S T A T E A U S T R A L IA N

P U B L I C A G E N C Y G O V E R N M E N T G O V E R N M E N T

HEARING

i c o n t r o v e r s i a l j

PRELIMINARY

SUBMISSION FOR APPROVAL

Figure 16: The planning process— a suggested procedure based on multi-objective concepts.

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(perhaps through an appropriate Parliamentary Committee) so that all Government agencies become aware that an investigation is in hand and the public becomes informed of the general nature of the proposal.

3. Specification o f Project Goals and Criteria At this stage, before any investigation is undertaken, a clear statement of specific project objectives and the precise nature of the criteria by which alternatives are to be assessed and evaluated is necessary. These objectives and criteria would need to be

formulated in accordance with the overall policies and procedures discussed above, but must be sufficiently specific to ensure proper and adequate planning of the particular project involved. To make certain that these objectives and criteria are clearly understood by all concerned it is desirable that they be incorporated into the public document whereby Parliament (or the Parliamentary Committee) states its

approval for the investigation to proceed.

4. Preliminary Project Investigation The project investigation should be undertaken in two stages. A preliminary investigation should be undertaken to identify overall problems, to assess likely environmental and social consequences, and to identify all the possible alternatives and establish those which appear to warrant detailed investigation. The preliminary study should make use of all relevant available expertise as and where appropriate. Preliminary involvement with public groups likely to be affected by the project is also essential at this stage, to identify likely problem' areas and establish a system for ensuring progressive public feedback as planning proceeds.

5. Preliminary Report A preliminary report on the first phase of the investigation should next be prepared and made public. This report should be as comprehensive as possible, outlining the general purpose of the project, the problems to be overcome, and the nature of the alternatives investigated. It should include preliminary estimates of costs and benefits, preliminary consideration of environmental impact effects, preliminary discussion of welfare aspects etc. It should conclude with a recommendation as to whether the investigation should proceed further and, if so, which alternatives should

be investigated in detail. Reasons for these recommendations should be given.

6. Independent Review o f Preliminary Report The preliminary report should be reviewed by an appropriately qualified independent agency or consultant group. Opportunity should also be provided for the public to make submissions concerning the desirability or otherwise of implementing the recommendations of the preliminary report.

7. Formulation o f Proposal to Proceed On the basis of the independent review and the public submissions received, the planning department should review its recommendation and submit a formal proposal to Parliament for approval to proceed further. The report of the reviewing

agency and any relevant public submissions should be submitted with it. 8

8. Parliamentary Approval to Proceed On the basis of the planning department’s report and the other information provided, Parliament or an appropriate Committee thereof should give formal public approval

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to proceed with further detailed investigation. The nature and scope of this further investigation should be clearly stated.

9. Detailed Investigation Detailed investigation of the selected alternatives should then proceed. This investigation should also be undertaken on an inter-disciplinary basis, using relevant expertise as appropriate, and further involvement with appropriate public interest groups should continue. The object of the investigation should be to examine the

feasible alternatives fully and produce a final report recommending that a specific project be undertaken.

10. Final Report On completion of the detailed investigation a final report, again as detailed and comprehensive as possible and giving all necessary information about the alternatives investigated together with reasons justifying the selection of the preferred alternative,

should be prepared and made public.

11. Independent R eview o f Final R eport As with the preliminary report, the final report should be reviewed by an independent organisation. Opportunity should also be provided for public submissions to be made.

12. Final Submission to Parliament On the basis of the independent review and public comments received, the planning department should prepare a formal submission to Parliament seeking approval to proceed with the detailed design and construction of the selected project. Again, this proposal should be a public one and should be accompanied by the final report, the report of the review agency, and any relevant public submissions.

13. Parliamentary Approval to Proceed On the basis of the information presented to it Parliament should be in a position to make a rational decision whether or not to approve the construction of the selected project. Because of the nature of the procedure outlined above and the extent to which continuing public involvement is envisaged, there is not likely to be serious public

controversy at this stage. If however the planning department’s submission is a con­ troversial one, a public hearing should be convened before Parliament makes its final decision. The general procedure outlined above is suggested as a means for overcoming

problems of the kind encountered in the Lake Pedder controversy and ensuring that effective multi-objective planning, based on rational concepts of resource management and the avoidance of unnecessary environmental damage, is achieved. This general procedure is considered appropriate to the planning of major resource

development projects undertaken by State or Federal Government departments or instrumentalities using public funds in what is alleged to be the public interest. It is not appropriate in the rare circumstances where secrecy is desirable, e.g. in the planning of defence projects, although such projects also should, of course, be

undertaken in accordance with the principles of wise land use and sound resource management as expounded in this Report. Neither is it altogether appropriate to projects undertaken by commercial organisations such as mining companies or development groups. However for such projects also it is clearly essential to work out

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corresponding procedures which will achieve the overall objectives of wise land use and multi-objective planning in the community interest. Regardless of the detailed procedure to be adopted in particular cases, the Committee, at the risk of repetition, would emphasise its view that the planning process for major development projects with which the Australian Government is associated, and which involve the potential alienation of land, the utilisation of natural resources and the possibility of environmental degradation should in future embody the following features in one form or another:

(a) A clear statement of overall planning objectives and evaluation criteria, expressed in the light of a national land use and natural resources policy and based on a multi­ objective approach incorporating national economy, regional economy, environ­ mental and social welfare objectives.

(b) A detailed statement of specific project objectives and evaluation criteria, based on the same policy.

(c) Adequate public information concerning the proposal, with a requirement for progressive levels of formal Government approval for the project at the initiation, preliminary investigation and final investigation stages.

(d) The adoption of a multi-disciplinary approach to the project investigation.

(e) Provision for adequate public participation throughout the planning process.

(f) Provision for independent review of the developing authority’s proposals, preferably at both the preliminary and the final investigation stages.

It is the Committee’s hope that the Australian Government would also accept the desirability of encouraging the States to adopt a similar approach to the planning of major resource development projects undertaken by State agencies and major commercial development projects coming within State jurisdiction.

The State and Federal agencies responsible for the planning of major development projects clearly have considerable experience and expertise in investigation and planning matters. It is highly desirable that they now become directly involved in the development of new techniques for project planning and that their advice be sought as to the most effective ways for implementing the multi-objective approach to resource development and environmental management. One way of encouraging their involvement would be for the Australian Government to arrange a series of national workshops, possibly triennially, on the multi-objective planning of major development projects. It is highly desirable in the Committee view that the first of these workshops be held as soon as practicable, preferably in 1974.

Every encouragement should also be given to individual agencies to adopt and develop multi-objective techniques in the planning of their own projects and to make effective use of inter-disciplinary teams in project investigation. One impediment to the attainment of these goals is the limitation that time and allocated funds normally place on project investigation. The Australian Government might well give consideration to ways and means of overcoming this problem, which it is suggested could include the making of special grants to allow some important project investigations over the next several years to be expanded into case study exercises.

Another impediment is the lack of suitably qualified professional staff ex­ perienced in multi-objective studies. The Australian Government could assist in this regard by making funds available for the secondment of qualified staff from appropriate Federal agencies where this is seen to be desirable and by making additional funds available to allow experienced professional staff from State and Federal development agencies to undertake post-graduate courses aimed at preparing

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them for multi-objective planning and inter-disciplinary teamwork. Courses of this kind are now available at several Australian Universities.

8.5 The Assessment of Environmental Impact As has already been indicated, broad requirements for the assessment of the environmental impact of major wafer resource development projects in the United States were foreshadowed in the policies embodied in Senate Document No. 97,

published in 1962. These requirements became progressively more specific in subsequent legislation and the presentation of environmental impact statements for major Federal projects became mandatory with the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Section 102 of this Act required Federal agencies to ‘direct their policies, plans and programs so as to meet national environmental

goals to encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment, to promote efforts preventing or eliminating damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulating the health and welfare of man, and to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the

nation’.1 The stated objective of the Act and the guidelines subsequently drafted for its implementation was ‘to build into the agency decision-making process, beginning at the earliest possible point, an appropriate and careful consideration of the environmental aspects of proposed action and to assist agencies in implementing the policies as well as the letter of the Act’.2

In Australia the first Government to introduce a formal approach to the assessment of environmental impact was the New South Wales Government. In January 1972the Premier of N.S.W. made a Declaration of the State’s Environmental Impact Policy which stated inter alia that ‘it is . . . Government policy that, before any action which could significantly affect the quality of the environment is undertaken, its implications shall be expressly identified and valued’. Following investigations into methods for preparing environmental impact statements, the publication of draft

guidelines and a public hearing, a booklet outlining guidelines for the application of this policy was issued in September 1973.3 Several organisations including State departments, local government agencies and commercial companies have already

prepared environmental impact statements under the general terms of the New South W ales policy. Most other States have enacted some form of environmental control legislation and established a related administrative structure and at least some of these require

the preparation of formal environmental impact statements. The Federal Govern­ ment in 1972 adopted a broad policy on environmental management which has been amplified by the new Australian Government to require the preparation of environmental impact statements from 1 January 1974 for projects having significant environmental consequences where Commonwealth funds are involved or where

Commonwealth constitutional power is involved. It is understood that draft guidelines for the application of this policy are in preparation. These moves, together with the establishment of the Australian Environment Council and the formation of the Ministry of the Environment and Conservation,

represent significant advances in Australian Government attitudes and policies towards environmental management which this Committee applauds. It might be concluded from an analysis of the Lake Redder controversy that if similar institutions

1, 2 Extracts from proposed guidelines for preparation of environmental impact statements, U.S. Federal Register, ' 2 May 1972. 3 Guidelines for Application o f Environmental Impact Policy in N.S.W ., N.S.W. Minister for Environment Control, September 1973.

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and procedures had been in effect in Tasmania in 1967 there might not have been any such controversy; or at least, that a much more careful and detailed consideration would have been given to the environmental consequences of the flooding of the Lake Pedder National Park than was the case.

It must be emphasised, however, that government policy towards the environment and a blanket requirement that environmental impact statements be prepared for all projects having major environmental significance will not of themselves necessarily achieve any significant improvement in the planning of major development projects. In the first place, there is a danger that this will lead to an over-emphasis on the

environmental aspects of planning by both government departments and conserva­ tionists, with insufficient attention to such equally important factors as economic efficiency, regional development, or social welfare. In the second place, it is in fact very difficult to make an effective environmental impact study which achieves the objective of improved environmental planning and is more than either a statement of opinion about the possible environmental consequences of the project or indeed an ‘environmental justification’ for a project which would have been built anyway. If sound overall planning including a proper consideration of environmental aspects is to be achieved, it is important that justice be done, not that it be seen to have apparently been done.

The very considerable technical difficulties involved in the preparation of meaningful environmental impact statements and the administrative difficulties involved in the implementation of effective but practicable environmental impact policies have become apparent in the United States over the past four or five years. It is significant that final draft guidelines for the preparation of environmental impact statements were not published in the United States until May 19731, and then merely as a basis for public comment; these have not yet been finalised and formally published in the Code of Federal Regulations. A very considerable amount of research and investigation has been undertaken in the U.S.A. by Government departments, consultants and university teams in an effort to develop effective ways and means for evaluating environmental impact, and a whole range of possible different approaches has been suggested. These have ranged from a simple matrix approach for comparing proposed actions with their likely consequences to the ‘characteristics and conditions’ of the existing environment,2 which has been shown in the U.S.A. and in Australia to be far from adequate, through a range of more complex ‘stepped matrix’ and overlay

procedures3, to much more involved techniques involving a quantitative or pseudo- quantitative assessment of paired interactions between specific actions and specific environmental characteristics.4 It is apparent that a very considerable amount of research and investigation has yet to be undertaken before really effective techniques for the assessment of environmental impact will be available.

In the same way, effective and practicable procedures for the implementation of environmental impact policy have yet to be worked out. In the United States many difficulties have been encountered which have led to considerable public and private expenditure on lengthy and detailed environmental impact reports and protracted public hearings, with consequent delays in project construction involving the tying

1 Council on Environmental Quality, Proposed guidelines fo r preparation o f environmental impact statements, Federal Register, 2 May 1973, 2 L. B. Leopold, F. E. Clarke, B. B. Hanshaw and J. R. Balsley. A procedure fo r evaluating environmental impact, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 645, U.S Depart, of Interior, 1971. 3 J. C. Sorenson, Proposed guidelines fo r the preparation and evaluation o f environmental impact statements under the

California Environmental Quality Act o f 1970, California Office of the Secretary of Resources, Calif. Resources Agency, 1971. 4 N. Dee, J. Baker, N. Drobny, K. Duke, I. Whitman and D. Fahringre, ‘An environmental evaluation system for water resources planning’, Water Resources Research, vol. 9, no. 3, June 1973.

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up of many billions of dollars of Federal and private capital. Something of this experience has also developed in N.S.W. where considerable sums of money have been spent by some commercial organisations in the preparation of environmental impact

studies which have proved to be a far from adequate basis for effective decision making. It is to be hoped that the Australian tendency to want to learn from one’s own mistakes, rather than to profit from the experience of others, will be resisted

when the Australian Government’s environmental impact policy is implemented. A m ajor shortcom ing with the environm ental im pact approach, in this Committee’s opinion, is the tendency for an environmental impact statement to be prepared as a post-planning justification for a project proposal which has been planned without any inbuilt consideration of environmental objectives. This is seen to be a particular danger when an environmental impact statement is required to be prepared by the development organisation which will be responsible for the detailed

design, construction and operation of the project concerned1. The implementation of environmental impact policy must therefore provide adequate safeguards against this tendency which might include a requirement for the presentation of a brief interim impact statement at the initial planning stages, the preparation of progressively more

complex statements as planning proceeds, the public disclosure of impact statements as they become available, provision for an independent review of such statements by a competent agency or consultant, and provision where necessary for public hearings. The Committee believes, however, that the environmental impact statement must

be looked upon as an interim, short-term measure for ensuring that reasonable consideration is given to environmental factors in planning, rather than an end in itself. Soundly based multi-objective planning, undertaken in accordance with the general principles and procedures outlined in the earlier sections of this Chapter,

where the consideration of environmental factors is treated as an integral part of the overall multi-objective planning process at all stages of the process and there is adequate provision for progressive public disclosure and independent review as the planning proceeds, is the only effective way of ensuring that major resource

development projects are undertaken with due regard for their environmental implications.

8.6 The Question of Public Involvement The Lake Pedder controversy had two notable features which in many ways epitomise the whole affair—the desire of the public to become involved in the decision-making process and the desire of the Hydro-Electric Commission and the Tasmanian

Government to prevent them from doing so. In its Interim Report this Committee concluded that the decision-making process which led to the flooding of Lake Pedder had weaknesses which fell into two main areas; firstly, the organisational structure for the process of decision making was

faulty, and secondly, there were attempts to limit public knowledge and to foreclose discussion of the proposal to flood Lake Pedder. Many instances of the latter were put to the Committee in the evidence presented by the conservationists who appeared before it. Most of these have been included in the chronology of the affair given earlier. By way of illustration, the following examples might be mentioned again:

(a) The statement by the H.E.C. Commissioner to the Scenery Preservation Board in 1961 that ‘the possibility of power development in this area in the foreseeable future is remote’. (b) The statement by the Premier in 1965 that ‘there would be some modification

1 As is the case in N. S. W.

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of the Lake Redder National Park’ but giving ho details and avoiding any indication that the lake itself would be flooded. (c) The failure of the H.E.C. to reveal in its Report to the Premier that any alternatives which might have avoided the flooding of the lake had been

investigated; these were subsequently divulged to the Select Committee at a late stage in its hearings, which were held in camera, and might never have been heard about at all if the Select Committee had not been appointed. (d) The refusal of the Tasmanian Government and the Hydro-Electric

Commission to co-operate with this Enquiry.

This Committee believes that public participation in the decision-making process is desirable where major resource management projects are contemplated; both because the members of a democratic society have the right to assist in the determination as to how public funds should be expended in what is alleged to be the public interest, and because the complex nature of modern resource development projects means that they impinge upon community interests in a variety of ways and feedback from these interests is essential to sound planning and the avoidance of

adverse environmental consequences. The manner in which the public should or will become involved in resource management planning and decision making is nevertheless in itself a complex issue. There is indeed a considerable divergence of dpinion between those who advocate rational and effective public involvement in the planning and decision-making process as an important but integral part of this process, and those who see public debate over conservation issues as a human activity having a value of its own.

The question of public participation in water resource development and other resource development and environmental management areas has received con­ siderable attention in the past two or three years in the United States. A major symposium on this issue was held by the American Water Resources Association in

19711 and a considerable divergence of opinion as to the value and practicability of public participation emerged. One author set down two basic points which are relevant to the Lake Redder issue: firstly, the truism that each group or individual acts primarily in its own self-interest, so that the attitudes and actions of a Hydro-Electric

Commission engineer and a bushwalker must be expected to be different; and secondly, that if Government decisions seem to be ‘mired in old priorities’, this is an institutional problem rather than a moral one. It is therefore important to identify new goals and objectives and establish ways and means for identifying and assessing newly relevant social costs and benefits, rather than to moralise about insensitive politicians or unsympathetic administrators or ‘emotional conservationists’.

During the past few years some American water resource development agencies have experimented with public involvement in the decision-making process. Notable amongst these has been the U.S. Corps of Engineers, which has developed and tested an innovative approach to public involvement which shows considerable promise.2 ·3

This approach set out to attain the following ends:

(a) Allow the public to establish its own goals and priorities early in the study. (b) Let the public clarify and define the problem.

1 Social and Economic Aspects o f Water Resources Development, Proceedings of a Symposium held at Ithaca. N.Y. in June 1971, American Water Resources Association. 2 R. P. Sellevoid, Case Study: Public Involvement in Planning, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one of the papers in the abovementioned Symposium.

3 It should be pointed out that many Australian town-planning agencies are developing very effective techniques of public involvement in urban planning. A notable example is the ‘Melbourne Strategy Plan’.

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(c) Permit public participation in the development and investigation of alternatives. (d) Allow open public debate of conflicting views. (e) Encourage two-way communication between the planner and the citizenry.

(f) Demonstrate that public comment had an effect on the proposed action. (g) Above all, keep the public involved from beginning to end.

When the paper reporting this program was written it was being tested on ten trial projects. The author commented as follows:

‘Reaction from most of the public, organisations and news m edia has been favourable. Press coverage, which assists greatly in dissem inating information to the public, has been excellent. Response in the form of participation (in the program) has been good and is getting better from all interested groups.

. . . However, the biggest single benefit has been to the planner— problems and issues have been isolated early which has been a tremendous asset in scoping further study efforts, avoiding unnecessary work, and precluding study of an alternative that was simply publicly

unacceptable.. . .

Whether we like it or not, whether we have the funds or not, the public is speaking out and will be heard. The better course o f valour for a public servant is to climb down from his ivory tower and open the planning process to public scrutiny. The alternative course leads to confrontation and ultimately to oblivion.’

The Lake Pedder controversy has clearly shown how a withholding of information and an unwillingness to give consideration to the public viewpoint can lead to bitter and unnecessary conflict over an environmental issue. The Committee’s recommendations in the earlier sections of this chapter aimed at ensuring effective,

rational and informed public involvement in land use and resource management planning and decision making. Until such time as these recommendations become fully effective, there are several interim measures that might be taken to ensure that reasonable opportunity is given for the expression of public views.

The Australian Government should make every effort, through its resource Councils and whatever financial control it is able to exert over joint Federal-State project planning, to encourage development agencies to pay considerably more attention to their public information services and public relations activities. Adequate information about new project proposals should be made freely available from the

earliest stages and where possible agencies should endeavour to get local groups involved in project planning and investigation. Agencies should be encouraged to experiment with public participation along the general lines of the experiments undertaken by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and other U.S. agencies as discussed

above, and consideration should be given to the allocation of funds for the conducting of one or more case studies along these lines. For those projects which will be subject to Australian Government environmental

impact study requirements, guidelines should ensure that environmental impact reports are available for public inspection, that adequate summaries of these reports are published widely, and that there is proper provision for public enquiry if the project is a controversial one. The Committee believes that conflict can be minimised if the public is informed about all the consequences of the project, environmental and otherwise, and there is adequate provision for ensuring that the public voice is heard

and given proper consideration. It is desirable that guidelines provide for a very early public statement of the likely consequences of the project1 and for the subsequent

1 For example, in the form of the ‘Declaration of Environmental Factors’ required under the recently published N.S.W. Guidelines.

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presentation of more detailed information, perhaps in the form of an interim report as suggested in Section 8.4, as project planning proceeds. This assumes that the environmental impact studies are undertaken concurrently with the technical project planning, not as a post-planning exercise. If this is not the case, the Committee sees little value in them

Finally, until such time as rational public involvement in the planning process as a whole is achieved, the Committee recommends that the Australian Government give careful consideration to ways and means for providing financial or professional assistance to conservation groups who desire to oppose a development proposal on environmental grounds. This assistance should be directed at assisting recognised and responsible groups to prepare an objective and informed case against the project proposal for presentation at a public enquiry.1

8.7 The Planning and Management of Australia’s National Parks As has been explained in some detail in earlier sections of this Report, and particularly in Section 5.6, a major component of the Lake Redder controversy was the fact that the proposal involved not only the flooding of a lake which had significant aesthetic, recreational and scientific values, but also the flooding of a National Park.

As has also been explained in earlier sections, the Redder controversy has in consequence raised a number of general issues of national importance, quite apart from the specific issues relating to the management of the South-West National Park and the proposals for an enlarged South-West National Park which have been dealt with in Sections 7.4 and 7.5. These include such issues as the meaning and significance of the term ‘National Park’, the question of the extent to which an area once declared a National Park is safe from future alienation for other purposes, the need for a national approach to the selection, planning and management of national parks and similar reserves, the need for Commonwealth-State co-ordination in such matters, the need for some provision for the input of Australian Government funds to

assist the States in the development and management of their national parks and reserves and the need for research into improved techniques for park planning and management. The Committee had in mind to make specific suggestions concerning these issues which included recommendations that a National Parks Service be established by the

Australian Government and that provision be made for the setting up of a Federal- State co-ordinating body for national park planning. To some extent this has been rendered unnecessary by the Australian Government’s recent decision to establish just such organisations, as revealed in a press statement issued by the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, Dr Cass, on 30 September 1973. This statement announced the Government’s intention to establish a National Parks and Wildlife Commission and Service, with a wide range of functions including the planning, development and management of national parks and reserves in the Australian territories, an overall ecological survey of Australia to identify additional areas suitable for reservation, and a responsibility for co-operative programs with the States in the national parks and wildlife field. The statement also announced the proposed formation of a national Council of Nature Conservation Ministers to foster such co­ ordination and develop national policies regarding wildlife and national parks.

The Committee applauds these decisions and hopes that the proposed new

1 The Committee is pleased to note that since these words were written the Australian Government has made available a sum of up to $100 000 in 1973-74 to assist environmental and conservation organisations in this way.

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organisations will give very early consideration to the national park issues raised in this Report, including the urgent problems relating to the management of the South­ West National Park raised in Chapter 7 and the broader issues raised elsewhere. Comments on these issues are given below.

The Committee would point out, however, that planning for the development of an augmented national park system should not be undertaken solely by a National Park Service or Council, since it involves considerations of overall land use planning and resource allocation which are beyond the prerogative of such organisations. Overall

planning for national park development should be undertaken within the context of the overall national, State and regional land use policies discussed in Section 8.3, and is seen by the Committee to be part of the function of the Land Utilisation Councils proposed in that Section. It is therefore considered essential that the proposed new

nature conservation organisations co-operate closely with such Councils in the development of effective land use policies which give adequate weight to requirements for the establishment or expansion of national parks and wildlife reserves. Clearly, the proposed Council of Nature Conservation Ministers should be an important

constituent member of the national Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council the Committee has recommended in Section 8.3. The Committee would like to recommend to the proposed National Parks and Wildlife Commission and Service and the Council of Nature Conservation Ministers that consideration be given to the following topics, each of which has been discussed

in detail elsewhere in this Report:

1. The need to develop and implement an adequate management plan for the existing South-West National Park (see Section 7.4).

2. The need to provide a special Federal grant to assist this objective (see Section 7.5).

3. The need to consider, in co-operation with the Tasmanian Government, the desirability and feasibility of developing an enlarged South-West National Park (see Section 7.5).

4. The need to develop an overall national policy regarding national park terminology, the principles to be adopted in selecting, planning and developing areas for setting aside as national parks and other reserves and the legal standing of a national park declaration in regard to possible later alienation for other forms of land

use (see Section 5.6 and Section 8.3). 5. The need for a system whereby Australian Government finance can be allocated to State governments to assist them in the development and management of national

parks which are of real ‘national’ significance (see Section 5.6, Section 7.5).1 In addition there are two other topics which have emerged as significant ‘lessons for the future’ in the course of this Report but have not so far received detailed comment:

1. Clearly, following the considerable amount of evidence presented to this Com­ mittee concerning the national significance of Lake Pedder and the South-West National Park, and in the light of the proposed functions for the new National Parks and Wildlife Commission and Service indicated in the Minister’s press statement of

30 September 1973, there is a need for a rapid assessment of all existing national parks and wildlife reserves in Australia to determine their real importance and assess the extent to which they include features of truly ‘national’ significance. Further,

1 It should be noted that steps have already been taken in this direction. In his statement of 30 September 1973 the Minister for the Environment and Conservation announced that an initial sum of $500 000 had been allocated for such purposes.

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there is a need for a rapid initial survey of other areas not yet reserved to determine whether any of them have natural values which would justify their reservation in the national interest. The Committee would suggest that once such areas are identified, preferably on the basis of a co-operative investigation by the new Australian Government Service and the State agencies concerned, a moratorium should be placed on their use for any purposes having potential for altering or destroying these values until such time as a more detailed survey and evaluation can be made and the overall land use management policies recommended elsewhere in this Report have been implemented. In the Committee’s view an initial survey of this kind could be undertaken very rapidly, since much of the required information must already be available within the State nature conservation agencies and such organisations as the Australian Conservation Foundation.

2. If existing national parks and any new parks or reserves are to be developed and managed effectively, there is a clear need for the development of new techniques of planning and management and for a greatly increased output of personnel trained to carry out these functions. Whilst the staffing situation in the Tasmanian National

Parks and Wildlife Service might be exceptional, there is evidence that most nature conservation agencies in Australia do not have sufficient trained staff to undertake the planning and management tasks with which they are faced. Furthermore, there is a considerable need for extensive research into techniques for the planning and management of national parks, ranging from broad issues relating to principles of land allocation and zoning, studies of the effects of different kinds of visitor usage and the determination of safe ‘stocking rates’ for various conditions, techniques for the assessment of recreational and aesthetic values, and many specific investigations relating to the management of individual native species. The Committee strongly recommends that the proposed Federal Commission and Service and the Council of Nature Conservation Ministers give urgent consideration to a listing of priority needs in research and training and take the necessary steps to ensure that adequate funds for these purposes are made available as quickly as possible.

8.8 Education and Research Needs Throughout the pages of this Report many examples have occurred to illustrate the very considerable need that exists in Australia at the present time for education and

research in fields relating to the environment and the management of natural resources.

On the one hand, Chapters 5 to 8 have shown up many areas in which there are clearly apparent needs for wide-ranging research aimed at achieving sound, long-term use of Australia’s land and land-based resources in the overall interests of the Australian people. This, in the Committee’s view, is the true meaning of the term

‘conservation’. It is not the Committee’s intention to prepare an exhaustive list of conservation research topics, since it is believed, as discussed below in more detail, that this should be the subject of a separate investigation. General areas in which research needs have become apparent during the course of this Enquiry include, however, the following topics: an investigation into the most appropriate objectives

and criteria for multi-objective planning for resource management in Australia; the development of techniques for the quantitative analysis and evaluation of project alternatives; the development of techniques and methodology for investigating, assessing and evaluating the biological, recreational and aesthetic consequences of major development projects; the development of techniques for land evaluation and land classification and the rapid undertaking of land capability surveys; the development of techniques and methodology for the assessment of environmental

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impact; the investigation of ways and means for ensuring effective public involvement in resource management decision making; and a host of more specialised problems of engineering, scientific, economic, legal and sociological interest. On the other hand, the Committee’s analysis has revealed a corresponding range

of educational needs, which range from a need to inform politicians and decision makers generally concerning basic principles of conservation and resource management to a need for the education of conservation activitists in the practicalities of business, economics, politics and government. Three particular educational need

areas are seen to be of major importance: firstly, the need for much more effective education of the public at large in conservation concepts, which requires the planned co-operation of Federal and State environmental protection and conservation agencies, educational authorities, the conservationist movement and the mass media;

secondly, the need for post-graduate and refresher training of practising engineers, scientists and other professionals employed in resource planning and management agencies, as well as those employed in industry, in new techniques of multi-objective planning and ecosystem management, which requires in particular the provision of

adequate funds to permit them to undertake courses at appropriate tertiary institutions; and thirdly, the need for an increased output of new graduates specifically trained in natural resource management and environmental management, which requires the provision of special funds for undergraduate scholarships and special grants-in-aid to improve staffing and facilities in Australian tertiary

institutions. In the broad terms of its general Terms of Reference, which required the Committee to assist the Minister for the Environment and Conservation ‘in an examination of the Australian Government’s role with respect to the environment in

relation to development projects in the States and the Territories’ and to ‘ensure that development projects are undertaken with due regard for the protection of the environment and after a proper consideration of all relevant factors’, the Committee considers the education and research needs described above to be of primary and

urgent importance. The Australian Government has recently seen fit to accept this Committee’s recommendation for a moratorium on the flooding of Lake Redder and in so doing has committed itself to a potential expenditure of at least several million dollars to

permit an investigation into the feasibility of restoring that lake. The Tasmanian Government has seen fit to reject this possibility. The Committee is strongly of the opinion that if the Australian Government is not allowed the opportunity to assist in the restoration of Lake Redder, it should take positive steps to allocate at least a

substantial portion of the funds it had committed to that objective to the broader objective of ensuring that future development projects in Australia are undertaken ‘with due regard for the protection of the environment and after a proper consideration of all relevant factors’.

To this end the Committee recommends to the Australian Government that the Minister for the Environment and Conservation be requested to establish a Working Party on Education and Research Needs in Conservation and Environmental Management; that this Working Party be required to consider and report upon the

needs for education and research in this area and the extent to which they are being met in Australia at the present time, with a priority listing to indicate those needs which are most urgent; and that the Australian Government allocate an interim sum of the order of $2 million, half to be devoted to research and half to education, for the

purpose of meeting the most urgent of these needs. If and when this Committee’s earlier recommendation for the establishment of an Australian Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council becomes effective, the Working Party’s function

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should be assumed by a Research and Education Committee of that Council. That Committee’s role should be to assess continuing needs for education and research in land conservation and natural resource management and, either directly or through

its constituent Councils as appropriate, to allocate what the Committee hopes will be substantial continuing funds for this purpose.

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9 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

9.1 Introduction

This Committee’s general Terms of Reference included the following statement:

‘In particular, it is intended that the Committee shall analyse the events surrounding the flooding o f Lake Pedder and draw conclusions and recommendations from them, with the object of assisting in the formulation o f procedures and guidelines to ensure that development projects are undertaken with due regard for the protection o f the environment

and after a proper consideration of all relevant factors. ’

The first two chapters of this Report have dealt with the formation of the Committee of Enquiry and the scope of its activities. Chapters three, four and five have discussed the background to the Lake Pedder controversy, outlined the chronology of that controversy and analysed its major components. Chapters six, seven and eight have

dealt specifically with the Committee’s four Terms of Reference. In this Chapter the main points raised in Chapters three, four and five are summarised and the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations under its Terms of Reference are presented in some detail. It is intended that this Chapter should

serve as a summary of the whole Report for those readers not wishing to study it in its entirety.

9.2 The Background to the Controversy (See Chapter 3) Tasmania is an island State having distinctive problems which stem from its remote­ ness, its small population and its limited resources. Successive Tasmanian Govern­ ments have taken positive steps to encourage external investment which have for

many years centred around a policy of hydro-industrialisation, aimed at stimulating industrial development through the provision of cheap bulk electricity. This has been made possible through Tasmania’s endowment of natural resources, which in many parts of the State provides a combination of rugged terrain, high rainfall and runoff

and appropriate topography and geology which offers considerable potential for hydro-electric development. Since 1930 this development has been undertaken by the Tasmanian Hydro­ Electric Commission, established by Act of Parliament as the sole electricity

generating and distributing authority for the State. The Commission, which is the largest single Government organisation in Tasmania and accounts for about half the State’s expenditure of loan funds, has been responsible for the planning, construction and operation of a power generating and distributing system with a total installed

capacity approached 2000 megawatts. In 1967 the Tasmanian Parliament granted the Commission approval to proceed with the construction of the Gordon River Power Development scheme, a major increment in the Commission’s system. This scheme, which had been under

investigation since the early 1950s, involved the damming of the Gordon, Serpentine and Huon Rivers in a remote and inaccessible region of South-Western Tasmania. One of the major lakes so formed would inundate the greater part of Lake Pedder National Park including Lake Pedder itself, an unusual lake of great beauty.

Opposition to this proposal stimulated the Lake Pedder controversy, which has continued for nearly seven years. The region in south-western Tasmania know by Tasmanians as The South-West is a rugged, inaccessible and largely uninhabited region which has been described as

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‘one of the last great wilderness areas of the world’. It is an area of rugged natural beauty and isolation which has considerable recreational, aesthetic and scientific value and conservationists, not only in Tasmania but at national and indeed international levels, are anxious to have it declared a National Park and forever safeguarded from exploitive development. The first step towards this objective was taken with the declaration of the Lake Pedder National Park by the Tasmanian Government in 1955. This park, 92 square miles in total area, was inaccessible other than by walking track or by light aircraft and was used principally by bushwalkers, nature lovers and artists. Its central feature was Lake Pedder itself.

Lake Pedder was a comparatively small, elevated lake of unusual character and significance. Some two miles square, it was located at an elevation of about 960 feet in the floor of the Serpentine Valley, surrounded by button grass sedgeland and flanked by spectacular mountains. The outstanding feature of the lake was an unusual beach of pink-tinted white quartz sand, which was two miles in length and often reached a width of half a mile during the summer months. The water in the lake, highly acid and high in humus content, had a characteristic dark, whisky-brown colour and under certain atmospheric conditions reflected the surrounding mountains in mirror image.

From the evidence of many people who made verbal and visual submissions to this Committee it was evident that Lake Pedder possessed an outstanding aesthetic quality. Scientific evidence, much of it resulting from investigations undertaken subsequent to the Tasmanian Parliament’s decision to proceed with the Gordon Scheme, showed that the unusual hydrological and biological conditions in the lake had produced a most unusual and significant flora and fauna, some eighteen species having been claimed as endemic. It was also evident that the lake possessed high recreational values and provided a wide variety of stimulating and satisfying experi­ ences for those who visited it. Many people believed that the declaration of the Lake Peddar National Park had guaranteed that this unusual natural feature would be forever preserved. The secrecy with with its destruction was planned, as much as the loss itself, was a major factor in the ensuing controversy.

9.3 The History of the Controversy (see Chapter 4) Before the Second World War Lake Pedder was visited only by explorers, surveyors and occasional bushwalkers. Its charms were first publicised by members of the Tasmanian Aero Club, who used the beach as a landing strip and flew many visitors to the lake. Increasing visits by bushwalkers and climbers during the late 1940s and

early 1950s resulted in a submission by the Hobart Walking Club for the gazettal of the lake and a surrounding area as a scenic reserve, and this was done under the Scenery Preservation Act 1915 in March 1955. The reserve, in accordance with

Tasmanian practice, was called the Lake Pedder National Park, although this title had no legal significance. During the early 1950s the Hydro-Electric Commission began exploratory work in the Gordon River region. Investigation, survey and preliminary project studies continued for a decade and by 1962 the preliminary decision was made to construct a major dam at the ‘Knob’ site on the Gordon River and divert the waters of the Serpentine. In the same year a submission was made to the Commonwealth Government for a special grant to permit the construction of an access road into the region and construction of this road commenced in 1964. Detailed site investigation proceeded and a number of alternative projects, several of which were aimed at avoiding the flooding of Lake Pedder, were examined. Very little was made public about these activities, including the submission for the road grant, and it was not until mid-1965, as construction of the road proceeded and public anxiety began to

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grow, that any public announcement about the Commission’s proposals was made and then only in veiled terms. During 1966 investigations proceeded to the stage where an internal report on the alternative schemes was prepared by the Commission and the adopted scheme selected, and a case for special financial assistance was put to

the Commonwealth Government in secret. Early in 1967 engineering consultants were engaged to review the Commission’s proposals and a brief biological survey of the area to be inundated was undertaken by staff of the Hobart and Launceston Museums. The Commission’s report recommending the construction of the Gordon

River Power Development project was submitted to the Tasmanian Premier on 1 May 1967. It was tabled in Parliament nearly four weeks later and so became public knowledge for the first time. .

Although the Commision’s investigations and proposals had been shrouded in secrecy, the possibility of a threat to Lake Pedder became widely known as construction activities proceeded on the Gordon Road and public feeling mounted during 1966. This was given formal expression early in 1967 when the ‘Save Lake

Pedder National Park Committee’ was formed and active campaigning began. Following the release of the details of the Commission’s proposals in May 1967 a very considerable public outcry arose, with the argument centring not on whether the Gordon River Scheme should be constructed but whether this could be accomplished

without flooding Lake Pedder. An avalanche of material reached the Tasmanian news media, public protest meetings and exhibitions were held, and a petition with over 10 000 signatures protesting against the flooding of the lake was presented in the House of Assembly. There was a public outcry for the appointment of a Select

Committee of Enquiry to examine the Commission’s proposals, and this was taken up by the Legislative Council, which consisted almost entirely of independent members, who appointed a Select Committee on 14 June 1967. The Select Committee’s enquiries proceeded over a period of nine weeks. The

Government, however, did not await its findings, but proceeded to push back-up legislation through the House of Assembly. An authorising bill was brought to the House on 22 June 1967 and despite Opposition attempts at delay was passed on 29

June. On the same day the Premier announced that he had obtained $47 million in bridging finance for the scheme from the Australian Government. A supplementary bill was passed in the Lower House on 6 July, and both bills were passed on to the Legislative Council, which put them aside to await the report of its

Select Committee. This report was presented to the Council on 22 August 1967. Its most significant feature was the revelation, for the first time, that the Hydro-Electric Commission had investigated a number of alternative schemes which avoided the flooding of Lake Pedder. On the basis of cost estimates provided by the Commission,

however, the Select Committee reluctantly reported that no economic alternative for saving the lake had been found. It was particularly critical of the Commission’s public relations activities and recommended, amongst other things, the creation of a large National Park in the South-West, the establishment of a National Parks and Wildlife

Service, and amendment to the Hydro-Electric Commission Act to provide for the referral of new power development proposals to a joint Parliamentary review committee. Two days after the presentation of the Select Committee’s report the Legislative

Council passed the authorisation bill and referred the supplementary bill back to the Lower House with some amendments. These were accepted by the Lower House in September and the way was clear for the Hydro-Electric Commission to proceed with construction, which was soon under way. Opposition to the proposal began to wane

and this effectively ended what this Committee has called the First Phase of the Lake Pedder controversy.

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The next three years were notable for an upsurge of scientific activity, aimed at a detailed investigation of the flora and fauna of Lake Redder and its environs. This work was undertaken largely by independent scientists, using their own resources, and it added a new dimension to the controversy. It became evident that the Lake

Redder area represented an unusual environment of considerable scientific interest with a specialised biota including at least eighteen endemic species, none of which had been brought to light in the brief and inadequate biological investigation under­ taken for the Commission early in 1967.

The controversy was stimulated late in 1968 when a new South-West National Park was gazetted. Back in 1966 a South-West Faunal District of 1.6 million acres had been created and the Select Committee and conservationist groups, notably the unofficial South-West Committee, had recommended that a substantial proportion of this become a National Park. The new park, however, represented less than half the

area these committees had recommended for preservation. The controversy was further stimulated late in 1969 when the Labor Government was defeated and a Liberal-Centre Party Coalition Government assumed power. This new Government did not take the new attitudes that conservationists had hoped for and this and other factors led to a renewed public interest in the controversy, which entered a second and much more active phase early in 1971.

The second phase began with a major weekend demonstration at Lake Redder itself, in which over 1000 people took part. New action committees were formed in Tasmania and on the mainland and international interest in the controversy was aroused. Public meetings and demonstrations were held in many places and an all-out propaganda campaign was mounted by conservationist groups. The Tasmanian Government and the Hydro-Electric Commission were increasingly forced into making public statements about the scheme which revealed many details about the costs of the scheme and its alternatives for the first time. An attempt was made to involve the Australian Government in the controversy and early in 1972 the campaign took a significant political turn when the Liberal-Centre Party Coalition fell and an election was called. Tasmanian conservationists formed a political party to fight the election on the Lake Pedder issue, and the controversy entered a particularly bitter phase, marked by frequent public confrontation between conservationists and senior staff of the Hydro-Electric Commission. At the election the Liberal Party was defeated

and the Labor Party resumed office with a healthy majority. None of the conservationist candidates were elected. The controversy continued with attempts to establish another Select Committee of Enquiry, to halt the flooding of the lake on legal grounds, and to seek Federal Government intervention. None of these moves were successful and by the end of 1972 the flooding of the lake was well under way.

A new dimension was added to the controversy at the end of 1972 when the Federal Liberal-Country Party Government was defeated at the November elections and the Australian Labor Party took office. Labor candidates had promised to become involved in the Pedder affair and this Committee of Enquiry was eventually

appointed in February 1973. This led to a renewal of conservationist activity and a strengthening of Tasmanian Government opposition, culminating in the refusal of that Government and the Hydro-Electric Commission to take part in the Enquiry. In June 1973 this Committee produced an Interim Report which argued that the alternatives to the adopted Gordon Scheme had not been adequately investigated or assessed and recommended that the Australian Government provide finance to allow a moratorium on further flooding of the lake so that further investigation could be undertaken. This recommendation was eventually adopted by the Australian Parliamentary Labor Caucus, but the Tasmanian Government refused to co-operate

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and flooding of the lake continued. There the matter stands at the time of completion of this report.

9.4 The Major Components of the Controversy (see Chapter 5) In Chapter 5 of this report the committee has given detailed attention to several major facets of the Lake Pedder controversy, as a basis for the conclusions and recommendations drawn under the Terms of Reference in the three subsequent

chapters. The aspects discussed include the complex nature of the controversy, the engineering alternatives which might have avoided the flooding of Lake Pedder, the question of future power demand in Tasmania and its significance to the planning of the Gordon Scheme, the scientific value of Lake Pedder, the nature of the official

biological investigations undertaken prior to the decision to flood the lake, the National Park issue, and the question of the recreational and aesthetic values of Lake Pedder and the South-West. The Lake Pedder issue, like most major environmental issues, is an exceedingly complex one. This does not appear to have been admitted by the major protagonists

in the controversy, who have tended to see things in terms of black and white and to argue with the benefit of hindsight. A variety of alternative schemes had been investigated by the Hydro-Electric Commission, but this was not made known publicly until the hearings of the Select Committe of the Legislative Council in 1967 and then apparently with reluctance.

In this Committee’s view, these alternatives were not investigated in sufficient detail to permit their adequate evaluation and comparison. Furthermore, the criterion of minimum cost per unit of energy adopted by the Commission was such as to mitigate against the selection of any alternative that produced less energy than the

adopted scheme, regardless of its other benefits. This issue was discussed in greater detail in the Committee’s Interim Report, which recommended a moratorium on the flooding of the lake to permit more detailed investigation of these alternatives. In this Committee’s view, the adoption of

the moratorium proposal would not have resulted in a power shortage; this view was based in part on the Committee’s estimates of future power demand in Tasmania, which in turn were based on information provided by the Hydro-Electric Commission, which indicated that the rate of growth of energy demand in Tasmania was

considerably lower than had been forecast in 1967. The question of future power demand is discussed in detail in Section 5.3 of this Report, which includes a discussion of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation’s review of this Committee’s Interim Report. It is concluded that this

Committee’s estimates of power demand over the proposed moratorium can be substantiated. A detailed analysis of the scientific values of Lake Pedder is given in Section 5.4. The rare or endemic species so far identified are listed and the value of the lake as a

scientific reference area is emphasised. Attention is also drawn to the international interest that the Lake Pedder ecosystem has engendered. Details of the scientific enquiries undertaken for the Hydro-Electric Commission by staff of the Tasmanian Museum, Hobart, and the Queen Victoria Museum,

Launceston, have been given in Section 5.5. These investigations were necessarily inadequate and incomplete and the conclusions the Hydro-Electric Commission drew from them, which were put forward in the Commission’s report on the proposed scheme and used to justify the decision to flood Lake Pedder, were very considerably

in error. The history of the Lake Pedder National Park and the South-West National Park has been analysed in Section 5.6. The Scenery Preservation Board, responsible for the

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planning and management of scenic reserves, appears to have been largely ineffective. Little attention appears to have been given by the Tasmanian Government to the interests of conservationists or bushwalkers in the development of scenic reserves in the South-West. Some general issues relating to the Australian Government’s role with respect to National Parks are also discussed.

Finally, the evidence given before this Committee regarding the recreational and aesthetic values of Lake Redder and the South-West has been analysed. A great many people spoke deeply and sincerely to the Committee about the aesthetic value of Lake Redder; it is clear that the lake was a place of outstanding beauty but that little weight was attached to this when the decision to flood it was made. Contrasting views expressed by the Hydro-Electric Commission extolling the aesthetic virtues of the proposed new impoundments have also been examined.

Commentary regarding the recreational value of Lake Redder has been included. This related not only to its intrinsic value but also to its strategic location as a base camp for bushwalking and climbing expeditions throughout the South-West. It is evident that many people placed a high value on Lake Redder for its aesthetic and recreational qualities, but that their opinions were apparently of little account to the Tasmanian Government or the Hydro-Electric Commission.

9.5 Conclusions under the Committee’s First Term of Reference (see Chapter 6) Under its First Term of Reference, this Committee was required to enquire into the history and circumstances surrounding the flooding of Lake Redder and to consider the adequacy of the planning and decision-making processes which led to this flooding. This is the subject of Chapter 6. The conclusions reached are summarised below.

A. Values ofLakePedder National Park 1. The Lake Redder National Park had very significant scientific values, particularly in relation to its geomorphology, its biology and its ecology. These values will be largely destroyed by the flooding of Lake Redder. 2. The Lake Redder National Park had very significant aesthetic and recreational

values. To many people in Tasmania, other parts of Australia, and overseas, these values were of considerable importance. They will be largely destroyed by the flooding of Lake Redder.

B. Adequacy o f the Investigation There was insufficient or inadequate investigation of several major factors relevant to the decision to flood Lake Redder.

1. There appears to have been inadequate technical investigation of possible alternatives to the selected Scheme for the Gordon River Power Development Stage I which might have made it possible to avoid the flooding of Lake Redder. The fact that any alternative had been considered at all was not revealed to the Tasmanian Parliament or the people of Tasmania when the proposal to construct the Gordon River Power Development Stage I was made. This information was only brought forward at a late stage in the hearings of the Legislative Council’s Select Committee and no detailed evaluation or comparison of the alternatives has ever been published by the H.E.C.

2. The planning objectives and criteria relevant to the decision to flood the lake, as laid down in the Hydro-Electric Commission Act 1944 and interpreted by the H.E.C., were single-purpose in character and did not encourage the investigation of alternative forms of land usage, a proper assessment of the

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scientific, aesthetic, recreational or other environmental impacts of the project, or any detailed economic investigations.

3. There appears to have been an inadequate investigation of the economics of the Middle Gordon Scheme and the possible alternatives to it. No benefit-cost analysis to justify the selection of the project or to compare the relative advantages of the possible alternatives has ever been made public. The

selection of the preferred Scheme was based on the criterion of minimum unit cost for production of electrical energy for this Scheme alone and the only publicly available economic data for the selected project or the alternatives have been expressed in cost terms. There is no evidence to suggest that the

selection of the Scheme was based on any consideration of secondary benefits or any assessment of the benefits to be foregone by the flooding of Lake Pedder. Likewise, there is no evidence to indicate that an analysis of appropriate interest rates was undertaken or that opportunity costs, including the opportunity cost of capital investment in the project, were taken into

account. Apart from the consideration of the alternatives, nothing has been made public to show that the selected Scheme is itself optimal, i.e. that it does provide electrical energy at minimum unit cost.

4. The scientific investigation which preceded the decision to build the Middle Gordon Scheme and flood Lake Pedder was totally inadequate. On the basis of this investigation H.E.C. staff claimed that the flooding of Lake Pedder would not be likely to cause the loss of any species of creature or plant not found elsewhere. It has subsequently been demonstrated that this conclusion was grossly in error. Recommendations made by the Select Committee of the

Legislative Council and the Tasmanian Museums that much more detailed biological investigations should be undertaken were ignored.

5. There was no real attempt to investigate the aesthetic and recreational values of Lake Pedder. Whilst opinions about the relative aesthetic merits of Lake Pedder and the proposed new impoundment were put forward in the H.E.C. Report, these were the opinions of engineers having at least an unconscious bias in favour of the new Scheme. There was no attempt to seek the opinion of

persons with training in aesthetics, or those with a keen appreciation of natural beauty, or indeed the views of the general public in this regard. The representations of groups knowledgeable in respect of outdoor recreation, notably the South-West Committee, were ignored. The Inter-Departmental

Committee on the South-West, appointed to consider the management of the South-West as a whole and to make recommendations to Government concerning the Middle Gordon Scheme proposal, placed very little significance on the recreational and aesthetic values of the Lake Pedder National Park. The views of the Scenery Preservation Board were not sought at all.

6. There was no attempt to take account of any public views or attitudes concerning the Middle Gordon proposal and its implications. On the contrary, the involvement of the public appears to have been actively discouraged and the public was kept in ignorance about the proposal and its implications until

it was submitted to the Tasmanian Parliament for final approval.

7. The range of expertise available within the H.E.C., which was and is predominantly an engineering organisation, mitigated against the possibility of making any serious investigation of the biological, aesthetic or environmental aspects of the proposal. Apart from a very limited and

inadequate investigation of some biological features of Lake Pedder and its

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environs, as mentioned above, there was no attempt to seek the assistance of Government departments or consultants in investigating any factors other than technical aspects of the engineering works and structures involved in the Scheme. The only external review of the H.E.C.’s proposals was made by engineering consultants concerned with the technical and economic features of

the preferred Middle Gordon Scheme, and did not consider alternative engineering solutions or the likely environmental impact of the proposal.

C. Legal and Administrative Procedures The legal and administration procedures leading to the decision to flood Lake Pedder had deficiencies in several respects.

1. The Hydro-Electric Commission A ct 1944 gave the Hydro-Electric Commission wide powers to control and develop the water resources of Tasmania for a specific single-purpose objective, namely the generation of electrical energy. This discouraged consideration of the environmental impact of projects or the possibility of alternative forms of land use and mitigated against the development of a multi-objective approach to resource utilisation.

2. The Act did not lay down specific criteria for the evaluation of projects or the comparison of alternatives but merely stipulated that the estimated annual cost and direct revenue to be associated with the Commission’s preferred proposal should be reported to Parliament.

3. Although the Act was not specific in respect of planning objectives and criteria, neither was it restrictive; the onus for the detailed specification on planning objectives and criteria would appear to be placed on the Hydro­ Electric Commission, which was required to conduct its activities in the

‘interests of the State’. In the case of the Gordon River Power Development Stage I the Commission interpreted its responsibilities very narrowly.

4. The Hydro-Electric Commission, as constituted under the Act, is responsible for hydrologic data collection and the investigation, planning, design, con­ struction, operation and management of hydro-electric projects; furthermore it is the only organisation in Tasmania authorised to produce and sell elec­ tricity and so has a complete monopoly in its field. It has been demonstrated overseas that comprehensive, monopolistic, single-purpose resource develop­ ment agencies of this kind tend to be biased in favour of large or unusual projects and to impute a higher value to their projects than do independent

assessors. 5. The H.E.C.’s interpretation of the planning objectives specified in the Act motivated it to plan to meet all anticipated future power demands at assumed high industrial load factors and at minimum cost per kilowatt hour of

additional continuous output and did not apparently require it to give particular weight to environmental considerations or the possibilities of alternative forms of land use.

6. The Project evaluation criterion adopted by the Commission mitigated against the selection of alternatives giving weight to environmental or aesthetic values or any benefits not directly attributable to power generation, since it aimed simply at minimising the cost of power production.

7. The H.E.C. interpreted its charter under the Act as a mandate to make the final decision concerning the preferred alternative for the Gordon River Power Development Stage I. In its report to the Premier it offered a single proposal

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for approval and gave no indication that any alternative to this proposal had been considered.

8. The H.E.C. also interpreted the Act to imply that none of its planning should be made public before the presentation of its Report to the Premier was tabled in Parliament, This mitigated against any possibility of public participation in the planning or decision-making processes, since the decision had essentially

been made by the time the proposal became public.

9. The Hydro-Electric Commission Act provided for the Commission to furnish the Minister with a report setting out only the Commission’s opinion and recommendations as to the necessity or desirability of the proposed works. The Act made no provision for any independent review of the Commission’s

proposals or for any public involvement in the making of these proposals.

10. The Act required any power development proposed by the Commission to be authorised by Parliament. In the absence of any other review authorities, this placed the onus on Parliament to seek clarification of the Commission’s reasons for its proposal, to ask for information about possible alternatives to the preferred Scheme and the basis on which they were rejected, or to seek

independent opinions about, or reviews of, the proposal. In the case of the Gordon River Power Development the Lower House of the Tasmanian Parliament did not exercise any of these options but took the H.E.C. proposal at its face value. The Government used its majority to force enabling legislation through the Lower House in the face of very considerable public opposition to the proposal and in the knowledge that the Legislative Council had appointed a Select Committee to enquire into it.

11. The Legislative Council acted responsibly in appointing the Select Committee. It was handicapped by the precipitate action of the Lower House and the fact that its members were laymen with insufficient technical expertise to assess all the aspects of the controversy. The value of the enquiry was reduced by the fact

that its hearings were held in camera and no transcript of the proceedings was published. 12. The Scenery Preservation Board, which was responsible for the declaration of the Lake Pedder scenic reserve in 1955, did not take any active part in the

controversy and was apparently ignored in the planning or decision-making processes which led to the flooding of this reserve. 13. The Inter-Departmental Committee on the South-West, which was appointed to discuss the development and management of the South-West, might have

been expected to provide some independent assessment of the Commission’s proposals. That it did not do so might be attributed to its membership and particularly to the fact that its Chairman was the Commissioner of the Hydro­ Electric Commission. A more representative committee, including non­

Government members representing recreational interests, might have been more effective.

9.6 Conclusions under the Committee’s Second Term of Reference (see Chapter 7) Under its Second Term of Reference, this Committee was charged to suggest what action might be taken to alleviate or compensate for any adverse consequence considered to have arisen from the flooding of Lake Pedder.

In an Interim Report submitted to the Minister for the Environment and Conservation in June 1973 the Committee concluded that the loss of the scientific, aesthetic and recreational values of the Lake Pedder area was an adverse consequence

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of the decision to flood the lake, and recommended a moratorium period during which it should be drained and further investigations undertaken to determine the feasibility of developing a modified scheme to avoid this flooding. This proposal was subsequently supported by the Australian Labor Party, and the Tasmanian Government was advised that the Australian Government would be prepared to meet the costs involved should the proposal be accepted. The Tasmanian Parliamentary

Labor Party has rejected this proposal firmly and unanimously. If the Tasmanian Government remains adamant in its decision there are several further aspects of the Gordon River Power Development project that constitute adverse consequences of the decision to flood Lake. Pedder. These aspects and the Committee’s conclusions with regard to them are summarised below.

1. The Committee concludes that the decision of the Inland Fisheries Commis­ sion to stock the Huon/Serpentine impoundment with brown trout was a premature and ill-advised action which served only to exacerbate the feelings of those people who were already concerned about the alienation of Lake Pedder. The Committee recommends that no further attempt at stocking be undertaken and urges that the Tasmanian Government be encouraged to enact appropriate legislation to remove the freshwater biota of National Parks from the jurisdiction of the Inland Fisheries Commission.

2. The Committee has concluded that the flora and fauna species endemic to the Lake Pedder area have significant scientific value and the potential loss of some or all of these species is a serious adverse consequence of the decision to flood the lake. It is recommended that funds be set aside for an urgent and intensive program of investigation to determine the possibilities of natural or artificial re-establishment of these species in the new environment of the enlarged impoundment and suggest management strategies by which this might best be encouraged; to undertake a comprehensive long-term moni­ toring program to ascertain the extent to which re-establishment is taking

place; and if considered feasible, the undertaking of experiments to develop re-establishment techniques. This program should be administered by the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Service does not have the staff or funds to carry out such work and a special grant would need to be provided for the purpose. Whilst this is clearly the constitutional responsibility of the Tasmanian Government, the Committee recommends that the Australian Government should approach the Tasmanian Government with a view to contributing to the cost if this is necessary to ensure that the program is undertaken effectively. 3. The Committee has concluded that the much vaunted potential of the enlarged

Huon/Serpentine impoundment for aquatic recreation is open to serious question. Because of the possibility of severely adverse weather conditions, the uncontrolled or unwise use of small boats on the reservoir could be extremely hazardous and could lead to loss of life. A system of strict regulation and management of boating on the lake is seen by the Committee to be necessary; this should include the licensing of boats using the reservoir, a system of zoning for different classes of small craft and boating activities, a system of controlled and limited access to the reservoir, an adequate weather forecasting

and warning system, and the provision of an adequately staffed and equipped ranger unit. The responsibility for meeting the costs involved rests very clearly with the Tasmanian Government. 4. The Committee concludes that the claims of the Tasmanian Government

and the Hydro-Electric Commission regarding the recreational and tourist

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potential of the Lake Redder area could lead to over-intensive usage and consequent environmental damage in the area. Such usage would be clearly an adverse consequence of the decision to flood the lake. The Committee sees an urgent need for the development of an adequate management plan and the

establishment of an adequate ranger force. Careful zoning of the area and the planning of intensive development facilities, including the preparation of environmental impact statements for such developments, are necessary. The National Parks and Wildlife Service should be provided with additional funds

and staff to accomplish this task as a matter of urgency.

5. The Committee sees the further alienation of parts of the South-West Region of Tasmania as a very likely consequence of the decision to flood Lake Pedder. The Committee has concluded that this region has significant scientific, aesthetic and recreational values which are of national importance. It is

essential that urgent and effective action be taken to ensure that this area is preserved and properly managed for the benefit of all Australians. To this end the Committee strongly supports the recommendations of the South-West Committee in its proposals for an enlarged South-West National Park and has

recommended special action to the Australian Government as follows: (i) That the Australian Government give special and urgent consideration to ways and means of co-operating with the Tasmanian Government in the development of an enlarged National Park in South-West Tasmania. (ii) That as an interim measure, the Tasmanian Government be strongly

urged to declare a moratorium on further development works,in the South-West, within the boundaries of the area proposed by the South­ West Committee in its policy statement of June 1973 as an enlarged South­ West National Park. (iii) That ways and means for developing and managing an enlarged South­

West National Park on a co-operative Federal-State basis be a matter for discussion at the first meeting of the proposed Council of Nature Con­ servation Ministers. The responsibility for planning and implementing the management of the existing South-West National Park, and any subsequent extensions to that Park,

rests with the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service. As has already been indicated in preceding sections of this Report, that Service does not have the staff or funds to undertake this task with the speed and thoroughness desirable. It is therefore further recommended:

(iv) That the Australian Government provide a special grant to assist the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service to develop a management plan for the existing South-West National Park as a matter of urgency.

9.7 Conclusions under the Committee’s Third and Fourth Terms of Reference In Chapter 8 the Committee concluded that a number of important lessons can be learnt from the Lake Pedder controversy which have particular relevance to the Australian Government’s future role in relation to the planning of major development

projects in the States and Territories and the overall management of Australia’s natural resources, and has made specific recommendations aimed at implementing these lessons. These conclusions and recommendations are summarised below:

1 Multi-objective Planning In the Committee’s view the Lake Pedder controversy arose largely because the Tasmanian Government and the Hydro-Electric Commission adopted a single­

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purpose approach to the planning of the Middle Gordon Scheme and gave an inadequate expression of planning objectives and criteria. A major lesson to be learnt from this controversy is the need to adopt a much broader, multi-objective approach to the planning and management of Australia’s water and land resources. Such an approach must involve the consideration of a range of objectives which should include the enhancement of national economic development, the enhancement of regional development, the enhancement of environmental quality, the conservation of natural resources, and the improvement of social welfare.

Many overseas countries have developed multi-objective approaches to resource management which could provide a starting point for the development of new Australian resource management policies. One Australian example already exists in the recently announced National Approach to Water Resources Management. A similar approach should be extended to include the management of land resources and other natural resources.

The effective implementation of a multi-objective approach to resource management will depend upon Federal-State co-operation in resource management and informed and rational public involvement in the planning process. It will also require the development of overall national management policies by the relevant

Federal and State agencies together with effective supporting legislation and the establishment of appropriate principles, standards and procedures. Furthermore, it will require the adoption of new attitudes to conservation and resource management by all Australian governments and the Australian people at large.

There are several general aspects in which the investigation and decision-making processes leading to the flooding of Lake Redder appear to have been deficient. These point up the important factors which need to be considered in the planning of major resource development projects, which are listed below:

(a) Planning for large-scale resource development projects should be undertaken on a multi-objective basis. (b) Such planning should be undertaken in the context of an overall regional land use policy.

(c) Multi-objective planning requires the careful specification of comprehensive planning objectives and the establishment of effective criteria against which the extent to which these objectives are met can be evaluated. (d) Optimal development of resources requires consideration of the variety of

alternative ways by which the stated objectives might be achieved and the selection of the best of these alternatives. (e) Successful development of resources on a multi-objective basis depends on inter-disciplinary teamwork and the application of ecosystem management

principles. (f) Effective planning for resource development projects also depends upon provision for independent review of the proposals put forward by the planning authority. 2

2 Land Use Planning In the Committee’s view the Lake Redder controversy was essentially a land use controversy which provides an object lesson to illustrate how an inadequate land use policy and insufficient consideration of land management principles can lead to the unwise alienation of land and the loss of important recreational, scientific and aesthetic values.

The Committee believes that future development projects involving the management of land-based resources should be undertaken only on the basis of

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adequate land use planning. It follows that an essential preliminary to the development of effective multi-objective resource management policies is the development and implementation of effective land use planning and management policies and procedures.

An example of how effective overall land and natural resource management can be achieved at State level is to be found in the Victorian Land Conservation Council. The Committee suggests that this Council provides a model which other States might consider in planning the establishment of similar land use co-ordination authorities

and which the Australian Government might consider in planning the establishment of a similar authority for the overall management of land and land-based natural resources in the Territories. This Committee believes that at the national level there is a clear need for the

development and implementation of overall co-ordinated land use and natural resource management policies. To achieve this will require willing and effective Federal-State co-operation and the integration of the efforts of many existing State and Federal resource agencies and Councils. The Committee suggests that this might

most effectively be achieved through the establishment of a national Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council, charged with the responsibility for the overall planning and co-ordination of land use, natural resource management and environmental management on a national scale. An important function of this

Council would be the development of an overall, integrated Australian natural resources inventory, to provide a basis for multi-objective planning for the management of Australia’s resources. The Committee has therefore recommended to the Australian Government that it

give urgent consideration to the establishment of an Australian Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council, with broad responsibility for the overall planning and co-ordination of land use, natural resource management and environmental manage­ ment.

This Council should be so structured as to give adequate representation to, and to achieve effective co-operation between, the existing national resource councils including the Australian yVater Resources Council, the Australian Mineral Council, the Australian Forestry Council, the. Agricultural Production Council, the Australian

Environment Council and the Council of Nature Conservation Ministers, together with appropriate State land utilisation Councils and resource management agencies. The Council should be charged with the responsibility for formulating integrated

national policies for land use, natural resource management and environmental management and developing appropriate principles, procedures and standards for the implementation of these policies. The Council should also be charged with the responsibility for encouraging its

constituent members to develop co-ordinated national policies for resource development and, through its related councils, for making an integrated national land and natural resources inventory, and developing a national plan for land and resource use.

The Council should give special consideration to research needs in the broad fields of land inventory, land use planning, natural resource management and environmental management and encourage and facilitate, either directly or through its relative Councils as appropriate, the undertaking of such research.

It will be essential for adequate finance and professional and technical assistance to be provided for all these purposes. The implementation of these recommendations will depend upon the successful co-ordination and co-operation of the resource Councils and Federal and State resource management agencies involved. To ensure that the knowledge and expertise

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of the many involved and interested agencies and individuals is effectively drawn upon, the Committee recommends to the Australian Government that it organise a national symposium on land use policy and natural resources management for the purpose of discussing these recommendations and their implications.

The Committee also recommends that the States be encouraged, where necessary with the provision of financial and technical assistance, to establish co-ordinating land conservation and resource management councils having overall responsibilities for the development and implementation of land use and natural resources policies at

State and regional level. It is also recommended that the Australian Government establish a similar council for the formulation and implementation of such policies within the Territories under its control. The Committee believes an extensive review of existing legislation relating to land utilisation and the management of natural resources to be necessary. Such review should be aimed at the effective implementation of the principles outlined in Chapter 8 of this Report.

For the most part such legislative changes will apply to State legislation for land management, land use, resource development and environmental management and is not a direct Federal responsibility. One would hope, nonetheless, that these legislative changes would come to reflect the national land use and resource management policies discussed above, as evolved through the proposed Land Conservation and

Natural Resources Council and the existing resource councils, upon which all States, as well as the Australian Government, would be effectively represented.

3 The Planning Process A further lesson to be learnt from the Lake Pedder controversy is that this kind of controversy might be avoided, and rational and effective environmental and resource

management achieved, by adopting an improved approach to project planning. This approach should be based on multi-objective concepts and should aim at the sound, long-term management of natural resources and the environment. The Committee

believes that the planning process for future development projects with which the Australian Government is associated and which involve the potential alienation of public land, the utilisation of natural resources and the possibility of environmental deterioration should incorporate the following features:

a. A clear statement of overall objectives based on a national land use and natural resources policy. b. A detailed and precise statement of the specific planning objectives and project evaluation criteria to be applied to the project under consideration.

c. Increased provision for formal, rational public involvement in the planning process, including the provision of adequate public information right from the project initiation stage. d. Adequate provision for effective Parliamentary involvement in the planning

process, including a progressive requirement for formal Parliamentary approval at the initiation, preliminary investigation and final investigation stages. e. Provision for an inter-disciplinary team approach to the project investigation.

f. Provision for independent review of the developing authority’s proposals.

The Committee hopes that the Australian Government, through its overall land use and natural resources management policies, would be able to encourage State government and private developers to adopt similar approaches in the planning of major resource development projects which do not come under Federal jurisdiction.

The Committee points out that the staff of State and Federal agencies responsible

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for the planning of major development projects already have considerable expertise in project planning and it is important that they be closely involved in the development and implementation of new planning procedures. To this end the Committee recommends that the Australian Government arrange

a series of national workshops on the multi-objective planning of major development projects and that the first of these be held during 1974. It is important that individual agencies be given every encouragement to develop multi-objective techniques and introduce inter-disciplinary team methods. To this

end the Australian Government has been asked to consider ways and means for assisting such agencies, which could include the making of special grants to permit some major planning projects to become case studies, the provision of funds for the secondment of staff from appropriate Federal agencies when appropriate and the

provision of funds to permit agency staff to undertake appropriate post-graduate courses.

4 Environmental Impact Studies It might be argued that if the Hydro-Electric Commission had been required in 1967 to undertake a detailed environmental impact study of the proposed Gordon Scheme, many of the adverse consequences of that scheme might have been avoided. It is

noted that the Australian Government and most State governments have recently introduced environmental impact policies which some might consider sufficient safeguard against environmental degradation with future development projects. The Committee believes, however, that an environmental impact policy by itself is

insufficient. The adoption of such a policy could even lead to an over-empahsis on environmental issues, to the detriment of other issues which might be of equal or greater importance. Futhermore, the available techniques of environmental impact analysis are far from adequate and many environmental impact studies provide a

poor basis for rational decision making. The Committee therefore emphasises that, whilst current developments in Federal and State government policy with regard to environmental impact analysis are a move in the right direction, the environmental impact statement must be looked upon as an interim device. Soundly based multi-objective planning, in which environmental factors are included amongst the planning parameters and the consideration of environmental effects is treated as an integral part of the overall multi-objective

planning process from its inception, is seen to be the most effective way of ensuring that all relevant factors, environmental and otherwise, are taken properly into account in the overall public interest.

5 The Question o f Public Involvement The Committee believes that public participation in the decision-making process is desirable whenever major resource development projects are undertaken in what is alleged to be the public interest. The Lake Pedder controversy has clearly shown how

a withholding of information and an unwillingness to give consideration to the public viewpoint can lead to bitter and unnecessary conflict over an environmental issue. It is nevertheless difficult to achieve effective public involvement in decision making and there is considerable divergence of opinion as to how this might best be

accomplished. This issue has received considerable attention in the United States over recent years and some Federal agencies, notably the Corps of Engineers, have developed methods which show considerable promise. A major benefit of these methods is the way in which feedback from an involved public assists the planner in

identifying alternatives and in streamlining the planning process.

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The Committee’s earlier recommendations have been aimed at achieving, amongst other things, effective, rational and informed public involvement in land use and resource management planning and decision making. The Committee has suggested interim measures which might be adopted pending the implementation of those recommendations to ensure that at least reasonable attention is given to the public interest.

These measures include a recommendation that all resource development agencies be encouraged to pay considerably more attention to their public information services and public relations activities. It is suggested that agencies be encouraged to experiment with public participation along the lines of the work undertaken by the

U.S. Corps of Engineers and that consideration be given to the allocation of funds to permit the conducting of one or more case studies of a similar kind. It is also suggested that forthcoming Australian Government environmental impact study guidelines give special attention to this aspect, ensuring that environmental impact reports are available for public perusal, that adequate summaries of these reports are widely published, and that there is adequate provision for the holding of public hearings where projects become controversial.

It is further recommended as an interim measure that the Australian Government give consideration to ways and means for providing financial assistance to bona fide conservationist organisations desiring to oppose a development project on environ­ mental grounds. It is noted that the Government has already allocated funds for this purpose.

6 National Park Issue The Lake Pedder controversy has raised a number of issues of national importance relating to the planning and management of Australia’s national parks. The Committee is pleased to note the Australian Government’s recent decision to establish a National Park and Wildlife Service and Commission and a Council of Nature Conservation Ministers, since these organisations can be expected to give serious consideration to the issues concerned. The Committee commends several matters to the attention of the Commission and the Council which include the need to develop an overall policy towards National Park terminology, the need to develop overall principles and guidelines for the selection, planning and development of national parks and wildlife reserves, the need to make adequate legal provision for the land tenure aspects of park reservation, and the need for financial assistance to the

States for the acquisition and management of parks and reserves which have features of national significance. Other matters the Committee brings to the attention of these bodies include the need for an overall national survey and assessment of existing and potential reserve areas, the need for research into techniques of park planning and management, and the need for an increased output of trained personnel for these purposes. 7

7 Education and Research Needs Throughout the pages of this Report many examples have occurred to illustrate the very considerable need that exists for education and research in fields relating to the environment and the management of natural resources.

Research needs exist in relation to many topics pertinent to the development of techniques and methodology for the effective implementation of multi-objective planning techniques in Australia, as well as such areas as environmental impact assessment and land classification and evaluation. Educational needs are varied and particularly urgent problems exist in three areas: the need for much more effective

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education of the public at large in conservation and environmental management concepts; the need to provide post-graduate and refresher training for professionals employed in resource planning and management agencies; and the need to produce new graduates specifically trained in the principles and techniques of natural resource

management and environmental management. The Committee considers these needs to be of primary and urgent importance and recommends that the Australian Government establish a Working Party on Education and Research Needs in Conservation and Environmental Management, to

consider and report upon needs in this area. The Committee has also recommended that the Australian Government allocate an interim sum of the order of $2 million for the purpose of meeting the most urgent of these needs on the basis of the Working Party’s report. It is envisaged that this Working Party’s function will eventually be

assumed by a Research and Education Committee of the proposed Australian Land Conservation and Natural Resources Council and that continuing funds will be available through that body to meet future education and research needs.

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APPENDIX 1

WITNESSES AT PUBLIC HEARINGS

O r g a n i s a t i o n s

Australian Conservation Foundation — Mosley, J. G., Dr Geographical Society, University of Tasmania — Skinner, A. D.

— Karpeniac, S. Hobart Walking Club — Luckman, J. — Wyatt, R. A.

Lake Pedder Action Committee (Tasmania) — Holloway, L. — Kieman, K. — Parr, G.

— Southwell, B. Lake Pedder Action Committee (Victoria) — Bard well, S. — Desailly, R. O.

— Poynton, P. South-West Committee — Bonnitcha, G. R. — Field, D. H. Tasmanian Conservation Trust

— Eldridge, S. F. — Vallance, K. United Tasmania Group — Jones, R., Dr

I n d iv id u a l s

Angus, M. Bayly, I., Dr Bolt, F. Brown, R. H.

Bryden, W., Dr Chisholm, G., M.H.A. Crossthwaite, J. R. Davis, B.

Donnelly, P. Dunn, B. Giles, P. Hodgman, W. M., M.L.C.

Hutchinson, C. F. Jackson, W., Professor Jones, B.

Keil, H. H„ Dr Kennedy, J. P. Lake, P. S., Dr Lynch, D. D.

McKenry, K. Murrell, P. Payne, H. Shoobridge, L. M.

Spry, A. H., Dr Tarrant, V. Thompson, P. X. Truchanas, M.

Vaughan, E. Walker, R„ Dr Williams, K.

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APPENDIX Π

List of those who presented written submissions to the Committee but who did not participate in the public hearings

O r g a n i s a t i o n s

Australian Mountaineering Council Australia Union of Students Canberra Bushwalking Club Colong Committee Conservation Movement (Qld) Environmental Law Reform Group, University of Tasmania Federation of Tasmanian Bushwalking Clubs Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs Melbourne University Mountaineering Club Society for Social Responsibility in Science (A.C.T.) Tourism Development Authority University of New South Wales Bushwalkers

I n d iv id u a l s

Adams, R. N. Allnutt, P. L. Baker, W. Barclay, J. Dallas, K. M. Darling, J. L. Dodson, H. L. Greeves, L. Gibson, M. Koerbin, W. J. Sansom, C. Shield, D. Smith, N. Smith, P. E. Thompson, J. Townley, M., Senator Wettenhall, R. L.

172

APPENDIX III

List of those who made representations to the Committee

O r g a n i s a t i o n s

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Australia Party (Tasmanian Branch) Catholic Bushwalking Club Launceston Walking Club

Queensland Conservation Council Society for Growing Australian Plants Southern Caving Society Tasmanian Aviation Services Pty Ltd University of Queensland Bushwalking Club

Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Wimmera Bushwalking Club

I n t e r n a t i o n a l

Friends of the Earth, London Fauna Preservation Society, London Prof. Dr Grzimek, Frankfurt

Ashman, R. J. Balkau, B. Balkau, F. Barker, P.

Bembrick, C. S. Bennett, E. Berwick, E. Black, T.

Blackwell, P. Bowling, C. C. Boyle, B. D. Brinsmead, H. F.

Bryan, C. Buggy, G. L. Cameron-Smith, B. Cammeron, L. J.

Castle, E. M. Clark,D. Clark, R. Clark, V. S.

Clarke, E. G. Clarke, A. L. Clippingdale, R. N. Closs, D.

Cl oss, J.

I n d iv id u a l s

Clugston, B. Coates, M. Costen, G. Cowles, C. A.

Cowles, S. E. Darlington, D. G. Davies, K.

Dean, G. Donnelly, P. Dunnett, B. Enting, I.

Finlayson, G. Fleming, P. A. Fletcher, I. M.

Graham, C. Gray, S. Griffin, M. W. Hall, N. J. Henry, T.

Hoistmann, K. Holloway, H. Hope, L. Hutton, D.

Irving, D. Irving, V.

Johnson, P. Johnstone, C. W. Jones, E. King, C. F.

Lang, A. M. Larby, J. A. Law, R. F. Lawrie, D. C.

Layton, T. G. Lee, F. Lee, L. Lee, N.

Ludbey, A. J. Maddock, T. Marshall, B. Marshland, A. J.

Martin, C. Milne, I. R. Mitchell, S. J. Morrison, R. Nickols, W. J.

Nivison-Smith, B. Nivison-Smith, I. Nivison-Smith, N. Nivison-Smith, R.

173

Nutting, R. O’Brien, G. J. Penny, E. Richardson, R. Ridge, M. Rolley, E. R. Saltmarsh, B. Serventy, V. Sharman, C. A. Shennan, P.

Simco, Η. P. Smith, G. Smith, L. Southerwood, W. T. Stearne, C. M. Stingel, A. Stuart, M. Taylor, G. Thomas, N. Valentine, E. S.

Vanglien, E. P. Weatly, L. L. Weatly, L. L. Weatly, N. L. Weaver, J. R. Wedd, W. White, V. Wood, G. A. Woof, C.

174

APPENDIX IV

Bibliography for documentation of species endemic to Lake Pedder or rare species for which Lake Pedder provides an important habitat, see page 81.

BAYLY I. A.E. (1965). ‘The fate of Lake Pedder and its biota’. Anst. Soc. Limnol. Newsl. 4(2)26-30. BAYLY I. A. E„ LAKE P. S„ SWAIN R. and TYLER P. A. (1972). ‘Lake Pedder: Its importance to biological science’ in Pedder Papers: Anatomy o f a decision.

Australian Conservation Foundation, Melbourne, 41-69. BAYLY I. A. E., PETERSON J. A„ TYLER P. A. and WILLIAMS W. D. (1966). ‘Preliminary limnological survey of Lake Pedder, Tasmania, 1-4 March 1966.’ Aust. Soc. Limnol. Newsl. 5 (2) 30-41. BRINKHURST R. O. (1971). ‘The aquatic oligochaeta known from Australia, New

Zealand, Tasmania and the adjacent islands’. Pap. DeptZool. Univ. Qld. 3 (8) 99­ 128 (see Telmatodrilus multiprostratus and T. pectinatus both ex Lake Pedder on p. 117). FRANKENBURG R. (1968). ‘Two new species of galaxiid fishes from the Lake

Pedder region of southern Tasmania’. Aust. Zool. 14, 268-74 (description of Galaxias pedderensis and G. parvus). LUTHER H. and RZOSKA J. (1969). Project Aqua. International Biological program, Central Office, London (see L. Pedder on p. 263). LUTHER H. and RZOSKA J. (1971). Project Aqua, I.B.P. Handbook No. 21.

Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford and Edinburgh (L. Pedder on p. 218). RIEK E. F. (1967). ‘The Tasmanian freshwater crayfish genus Parastacoides (Decapods: Parastacidae)’. Aust. J. Zool. 15, 999-1006 (description of Parasta­ coides pulcher, p. 1006).

SMITH B. J. (1973). ‘A new species of snail from Lake Pedder, Tasmania, possibly belonging to the family Valvatidae’. Journal ofMalacological Society o f Australia 2(4)429. SWAIN R. (1972). ‘The fauna of south-western Tasmania’. Tasmanian Yearbook

1972, 56-64. SWAIN R., WILSON I. S., HICKMAN J. L. and ONG J. E. (1970). Allanaspides helonomus gen. et sp. nov. (Crustacea: Sync arid a) from Tasmania’. Rec. Queen Vic. Mus. 35, 1013 (descritpion based on material ‘obtained from the burrows of

Parastacoides tasmanicus Erichson and from pools on the buttongrass plain near Lake Pedder’). SWAIN R., WILSON I. S. and ONG J. E. (1971). ‘A new species of Allanaspides (Syncarida, Anaspididae) from south-western Tasmania’. Crustaceana 21 (2) 196­

202.

175

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Conservation—Selected Bibliography, no. 6, Aug. 1971. Economic Growth and Environment (by Sir Garfield Barwick), no. 7, Sept. 1971. Management o f Conservation Reserves, no. 8, March 1972. (c) Annual Report 1971-72 (d) Pedder papers: Anatomy o f a Decision, 1972 AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT.

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Aust., Sydney, 1972. BURTON, J. R. ‘Hydro Economic Planning for Australia’s Water Resources’. Water Resources Use and Management. Melbourne University Press, 1965. BURTON, J. R. Management o f Natural Ecosystems, 44th ANZAAS Congress,

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CAMERON, C. ‘Secrecy and Open Government’. Dissent, no. 29, Summer 1972. CHAPMAN, R. J. K. and JONES R. ‘Environmental Control or Environmental Protection: the need for a policy ministry designed to promote the environment principle’. Search, vol. 4, no. 1-2, Jan.-Feb. 1973, pp. 29-34.

COATS, J. ‘The Environment’. New Horizons, Spring 1972. COLONG COMMITTEE. ‘Lake Pedder’. Bulletin No. 25, August 1972. DAVIS, B. W. Selection and Authorisation of Power Projects in Tasmania. Thesis, Faculty of Commerce of the University of Tasmania.

DAVIS, B. W. Waterpower and Wilderness: Political and Administrative Aspects of the Lake Pedder Controversy. Thesis, Public Administration, University of Sydney, 1972. DWYER, P. D. and HARRIS, J. A. ‘The Ecologist as Conservationist’. Search, vol. 4,

no. 1-2, Jan.-Feb. 1973, pp. 24-28. FISH, B. J. and YAXLEY, M. L. ‘Lakes and their Origin’. Behind the Scenery, Education Department, Tasmania, 1966. FISHER, S. ‘The Bross-Florida Barge Canal: A Lesson in Ecology’. Civil

Engineering, ASCE, April 1971. GOLDMAN, C. R. ‘Environmental Impact and Water Development’. Journal A W W A , September 1972. GRANT, K. A Terrain Evaluation System fo r Engineering. CSIRO Australian Soil

Mechanics Section. HEAD, B. ‘The Tragedy of Lake Pedder’. The Tasmanian Tramp, no. 20, January 1972, Hobart Walking Club Journal. INTER-AGENCY COMMITTEE ON WATER RESOURCES. Proposed Practices

fo r Economic Analysis o f River Basin Projects (The Green Book). U.S. Government Printing Office, 1958 edition. JEFFRIES, P. J. ‘Civil Engineering Investigations and Economic Studies for the Pieman River Power Development’. J. E. Aust. Civil Eng. Transactions, CE14,

no. 2, Oct. 1972. JOHNSON, R. ‘Lake Pedder’. Wildlife in Australia, vol. 9, no. 4, December 1972. JONES, B. C. ‘Pedder Pennies’. Lake Pedder Action Committee Bulletin, no. 10. KRIEGER, Μ. H. ‘What’s Wrong with Plastic Trees?’ Science, vol. 179, 2 February

1973, pp. 446-455. LAKE PEDDER ACTION COMMITTEE. ‘Lake Pedder’. Wildlife in Australia, vol. 8, no. 4, December 1971. LAKE PEDDER ACTION COMMITTEE. Submission to the House of

Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation for the Case for Preserving Lake Pedder in its Natural State, 12 May 1971 (mimeo). LAKE PEDDER COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY. Interim Report— The Future of Lake Pedder. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1973. Lake Pedder— Why a National Park M ust be Saved. Australian Union of Students

and Lake Pedder Action Committee, 1972. LAUNCESTON WALKING CLUB. Skyline, November 1970. LEOPOLD, L. B., CLARKE, F. E„ HANSHAW, B. B. and BALSLEY, J. R. A Procedure fo r Evaluating Environmental Impact. Geological Survey Circular 645,

Washington, 1971. LINSLEY, R. K. ‘Some Socio-Economic Aspects of Water Development’. Water Resource Use and Management. Melbourne University Press, 1963. LOFFEL, T. S. Some Aspects o f Hydro-Electric Power Development in Tasmania.

H.E.C., August 1966. LOFFEL, T. S. The Future Development o f Tasmania’s Water Resources. ANZAAS 44th Congress, Sydney, August 1972.

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LUNDQUIST, L. Sweden’s Environmental Policy, Ambio, vol. 1, no. 3. McCOLL, G. D. Nuclear Power: Economic Considerations. ANZAAS 44th Congress, Sydney, August 1972. McCOLL, G. D. and THROSBY, C. D. Regional Effects o f Public Investment

Projects. ANZAAS 44th Congress, Sydney, August 1972. McKENRY, K. ‘A History and Critical Analysis of the Controversy Concerning the Gordon River Power Scheme’. Pedder Papers: Anatomy o f a Decision. Australian Conservation Foundation, 1972. MOSLEY, J. G. ‘Scenic Reserve and Fauna Sanctuary Systems of Tasmania’. The

Last o f Lands. Ed. Webb, L. J. et. al. Jacaranda Press, 1969. MOSLEY, J. G. Tasmania’s National Parks as an Australian Asset. Tasmanian Conservation Foundation Symposium, November 1968. MOSLEY, J. G. ‘Tasmania’s National Parks—Policy and Administrative Problems’.

Practical Problems o f National Parks, proceedings of Seminar held at University of New England, February 1966. MUNRO, C. H. ‘Methods of Investigation of Flood Damage Mitigation Proposals’. Journal Institution o f Engineers, Australia, vol. 33,1961.

NATIONAL PARK COMMITTEE. ‘History of Lake Pedder’. Newsletter, August 1967. NICHOLLS, K. D. ‘Aeolian Deposits in River Valleys in Tasmania’. Australian Journal o f Science, vol. 21, no. 1, July 1968. NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT.

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National Parks and Wildlife Act 1971, No. 77 of 1971 Scenery Preservation A ct 1915 Scenery Preservation A ct 1964, No. 39 of 1964

TASMANIAN HYDRO-ELECTRIC COMMISSION. (a) Annual reports 1960-61 1961- 62 1962- 63

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Thermal Power Station, 1 May 1967

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LAKE PEDDER COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY THE FLOODING OF LAKE PEDDER

SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT OF MR EDWARD ST JOHN, Q.C.

Subject to a few very minor exceptions, I fully agree with all that is said in our joint Report. Indeed, I take this opportunity of paying particular tribute to the work of the Chairman, Professor John R. Burton, who has played the major role in the drafting of it. I am proud to be associated with the Report, which I hope and believe will be

accepted and appreciated as a major contribution to the conservation of our natural environment, and better planning in the future. There are however a few matters which I should like to stress, or elaborate upon further, and one or two points at which I should wish to express mild disagreement.

For one thing, I believe the story of the conservation movement to save Lake Pedder deserves to be told, as a separate story, if we are to derive maximum benefit from the study of the Pedder Controversy. So I shall begin with that.

THE PEDDER CONSERVATION MOVEMENT AND THE OFFICIAL RESPONSE

The part played by various conservation groups has already been touched upon in what has been said in our joint Report, but it is worthy of some further elaboration. It will be recalled that the first initiative towards the reservation of Lake Pedder as part of a National Park had come from the Hobart Walking Club, a body which by

reason of its objects had a natural interest in the conservation of the area. That was in 1954: it was rewarded by the dedication of Lake Pedder National Park in 1955. The threat to the Lake did not materialise until about 1962, and was not disclosed

to the public until five years later, in 1967, by which time the Government and the H.E.C. had become fully committed to the inundation of the Lake. The story of conservationist opposition to the flooding of Pedder turns largely on the activities of two groups. First there was the South-West Committee, which was

formed in 1963 and carried on the struggle until the adverse decision in 1967, about which time it appears to have accepted the flooding of the lake as a fait accompli, and concentrated its main efforts thereafter on the enlargement and proper management of the South-West National Park. The next phase, from 1967 onwards, is dominated

by the activities of the Lake Pedder Action Committee, formed in March 1971, which was the successor to the Save Lake Pedder Committee, formed in 1967. If, as has been suggested, conservationists may be divided into two categories, the ‘coolmen’ and ‘visionaries’, it would not be unfair to say, without any slight to either,

that the members of the South-West Committee tended to be the coolmen, whilst the L.P.A.C. people tended to be the visionaries—carrying on the ‘lost’ cause (to this hour) when others had long since abandoned hope. (Nor is the cause lost, even now, at the moment of writing.)

The South-West Committee Mr Ronald Brown, Chairman of the South-West Committee from its formation in

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1962 until 1968, was one of the many who gained his first introduction to Pedder through the influence of that remarkable man, the late Olegas Truchanas.1 The South-West Committee comprised representatives of twelve organisations concerned with conservation and outdoor recreation in Tasmania.

As a result of its initial efforts and those of the Animals and Birds Protection Board a South-West Faunal District of some 1 600 000 acres was proclaimed in 1966, more or less as it had been proposed by the Committee in March 1963. In 1965, as rumours began to fly that Lake Pedder was threatened by the Gordon Scheme, the South-West Committee sought representation on the Inter­ Departmental Committee which the Government was setting up on the South-West. Regrettably, this request was refused. Representation was confined to representatives of the H.E.C. and the Tasmanian Departments of Mines, Forestry and (in substance) Lands.

In September 1966 the Committee prepared an important document entitled ‘Submission Covering Conservation and Development of South-West Tasmania’, in which it advocated a South-West National Park to include the area of the existing Lake Pedder National Park. It is not practicable to do it full justice here. Suffice it to say that the Submission demonstrated vision and foresight, and outlined desirable objectives for the South-West, which unfortunately proved to be far ahead of their time—certainly far ahead of Tasmanian Government thinking of that time. One

passage, however, deserves to be quoted in full, and that is its brief but eloquent plea for the preservation of Lake Pedder:

‘Lake Pedder and the Frankland Range: The South-West Committee regards the existing Lake Pedder National Park as a valuable and unique part o f Tasmania’s national park system. The situation of the lake, with its broad beach in summer, and the proximity of the Frankland Range, gives the park a very high place among Australia’s scenic phenomena.

Having regard to the fact that the Lake Pedder area was proclaimed a National Park in 1955, and to its aesthetic value and future possibilities as a recreational area, the Committee strongly opposes any proposal by the Hydro-Electric Commission to ‘modify’ the Park, as foreshadowed by the Premier in his statement to the Press o f 21 June 1965. The Committee regards any such proposal as a threat to the integrity o f the National Park system in this State— and indeed elsewhere.

In the absence o f any known mineral or forestry resources, any threat to Lake Pedder’s existence in its present form can com e from power projects alone. It is understood that a large storage area exists further down the Serpentine Valley and that the matter o f saving the lake is therefore one of incremental rather than total cost.

While appreciating that purely economic requirements may present the flooding o f the lake as a good proposition, the Committee urges the Government to have proper regard for other and more permanent values. Once Lake Pedder is destroyed, or ‘m odified’, one of Tasm ania’s most beautiful scenic assets will have been lost for ever.

In its natural form the lake is unique. The beach, o f pure quartzite sand, is nearly two miles in length. The wind-formed cusps on the beach are a particular feature. It is the only extensive example o f its type in Australia, and serves as a natural airstrip. The argument that increasing the size o f the lake would add to the beauty o f the area is erroneous and easily refuted.’

Copies of this Submission were circulated to all Parliamentarians, and it was widely publicised in the news media. But as we know the plea for the preservation of Lake Pedder fell on deaf ears. The Inter-Departmental Committee did recommend an extended South-West National Park, but not nearly as extensive as that which the

South-West Committee had recommended.

1 See quote from Truchanas and brief biographical note in the reasons of Mr St John, Annexure to the Interim Report, at p. 38. A book of Truchanas’ photographs, containing a short biography, is to be published shortly.

182

The South-West Committee’s next important contribution was the instigation of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council, to which we refer in the joint Report, which was set up in 1967 to consider the Gordon River Scheme, and the proposed flooding of Redder.

The South-West Committee also gave evidence before that Committee. And there (according to its representative, in evidence before us) the Committee believes it erred, in failing to maintain strongly its plea for the preservation of Redder.1 Instead, it made what it now regards as the tactical mistake of accepting the flooding of Redder

as a fa it accompli, and therefore concentrating its efforts, at that stage, on the enlargement of the boundaries of the proposed South-West National Park. This melancholy admission of error should not obscure the .great contribution made by the South-West Committee, both before and since the fateful decision in

1967. We can all be wise after the event. In the context of Tasmania, and indeed Australia as a whole, as they were in 1967, the decision was understandable, if (in hindsight) regrettable. Although the Select committee failed to save the lake its work was by no means

wasted. Many of its important recommendations were later implemented, and the very institution and conduct of a Parliamentary Committee in Tasmania to consider an issue of this kind was at the time quite unprecedented. Important consequences continue to flow from that Committee and its work to this day.

Since 1967 the South-West Comittee has continued to work actively for greater public awareness, and the proper administration of the South-West National Park and the enlargement of its boundaries to include, in particular, Precipitous Bluff and the South Coast areas. In 1971 the Committee released a further Submission, entitled

‘Proposal: Extensions to South-West National Park’. The South-West Committee also presented a submission to this Enquiry. In this document, with becoming humility, it admitted its previous error before the Select Committee, and made handsome amends in a short but moving plea for Pedder’s restoration, even at this stage:

‘W hile the Comm ittee is not competent to com m ent on whether restoration of Lake Redder (with its unique beach) could be achieved satisfactorily and on what the costs involved m ight be, it would support fully any recommendation for the restoration of the lake made by your Committee.

The long-term national value of Lake Redder, in its natural state, was inestimable. As a scenic gem in a superb m ountains-plains setting it was outstanding, almost to the point of defyingdescription. Also, the m oods and the atmosphere o f the lake, beach and environs evoked in many people feelings o f a quasi-religious nature. There was a sanctity about the lake that put m an at peace with him self and with the world.

That som ething as precious and indeed necessary as Lake Redder should be destroyed as part of a project with an estimated econom ic life of around 40 years is all but

incomprehensible. If it is humanly possible, this situation should and must be put right. It is known that submissions will be made to your Committee which deal with the restoration of Lake Redder in great detail, including alternative uses for certain hydro constructions. Accordingly, the South-W est Committee wishes, at this time, only to

indicate its unqualified support for any measures to achieve restoration of the lake.’

1 Passage from transcript evidence of Mr Field: ‘This is again sort of, in a way, a confession. I think that the South-West Committee went badly astray about 1965 when it became perhaps over-cautious about the effect on the whole of the South-West in the loss of Lake Pedder. We were worried that a defeat over the Pedder issue could open the way to rapid exploitation of other areas of the South­

West. So we concentrated largely on what has been accurately called a salvage operation before the ship was sunk. And th at’s a candid account of what happened. It was a poor decision, its affected the committee ever since and well, we’ve now I think, been well and truly superseded in many activities by these more sophisticated, better organised, organisa­ tions you’ve been hearing from the past couple of days.’

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The Lake Pedder Action Committee With the virtual capitulation of the South-West Committee before the Select Committee the ‘coolmen’ had almost done their dash for Pedder.1 It was time for the visionaries to take over.

Minutes of certain meetings of the South-West Committee2 are prophetic of what was to follow:

1. It was further agreed that the retention of Lake Pedder in its natural state was a major plank in the South-West Committee platform on preservation of the South-West and that member organisations also felt very strongly on this point (that its scenic aspect and character would change with Hydro Electric Power Development). The principle at stake was a very real one. Don Field pointed out that the South-West Committee need not ‘back down’ on its stand taken to date on Lake Pedder and we should make every reasonable effort to save it though to make fanatical bids would make us

appear foolish.

(Minutes 16/5/66)

Mr Field (South-West Committee) reported on a meeting he had had with representatives of the Save Lake Pedder Committee during the previous weekend. Copies of their ‘aims and objects’ were circulated to South-West Committee members. Mr Field said it appeared that some people thought the South-West Committee had not been active enough over Lake Pedder and the new Save Lake Pedder Committee proposed to make a stand on Lake Pedder

only. He had explained what the South-West Committee had been doing and how an immediate campaign on their part could seriously jeopardise progress. (Minutes 11/4/67)

The Save Lake Pedder National Park Committee, which was later succeeded by the Lake Pedder Action Committee, was founded on 29 March 1967, and immediately organised a vigorous public campaign. Davis gives this account of it:3 ‘Apart from enlisting the aid o f Tasmanian enthusiasts, the committee sought the advice

and assistance o f mainland and overseas conservation bodies and individuals and embarked on an active program o f meetings, slideshows, and publications aimed at preserving Lake Pedder.’

He tells us that following the publication of the H.E.C. Report ‘a storm of public protest arose. Argument centred not on whether the Gordon River project should be . constructed, but whether Lake Pedder should be flooded to provide additional storage. This issue became blurred as debate progressed. Soon the whole role and operations of the Commission were under attack. Ultimately two issues emerged: conservation of national parks and the role of “hydro-industrialation” in the development of the State. Undoubtedly it was the unbending attitude of the

Commission as much as its secrecy which had aroused public ire, and now this legacy was to rebound in no uncertain terms. Soon there was an acrimonious debate ensuing between the government, its opposition, the Hydro-Electric Commission, various conservation groups, and the public who had splintered into “development” and

“anti-development” factions. A veritable avalanche of letters, suggestions, and

1 Assistance has been given to the Save Lake Pedder Committee and the Lake Pedder Action Committee, on a personal basis, by members of the South-West Committee during the period since 1967. 2 Copies supplied as part of South-West Committee submission. 3 B. W. Davis, WaterPower and Wilderness, published in Public Administration XXXI (1) March 1972, p. 21 at pp. 26,

27.

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complaints reached the desks of local news media; public protest meetings, exhibitions and pamphlets soon followed, and a petition with over 10 000 signatures was presented when debate continued in the House of Assembly.’ Mr Davis adds in a note that ‘letters to local newspapers are a popular means for Tasmanians to vent their grievances. The Pedder case is unique, however, in terms of the volume,

persistence, and number of interested groups engaged in such correspondence. The spate of letters has continued but now somewhat diminished to this day.’ The story is continued by the L.P. A.C. submission to this Enquiry1 in these words: The public were not satisfied that the lake should drown and the cam paign continued, with

several further petitions presented to State Parliament amid great public concern. In March 1971 the L.P.A.C. was formed after a memorable weekend when over 1000 people visited Lake Pedder. The capacity crowd in the Hobart Town Hall resolved to support the Hon. Louis Shoobridge, M .L.C., in his endeavours to secure a referendum on the matter in

response to a petition presented previously. Mr Shoobridge was defeated in his bid before the largest crowd ever seen in State Parliament.

The cam paign continued at a high pace, L.P.A.C. members participating in a special edition o f the national TV program ‘Four Corners’ describing the Pedder issue, and later giving evidence to the House o f Representatives Select Committee, on Wildlife Conservation. In subsequent months efforts were made to involve the Federal Government

and petitions containing thousands o f signatures were presented to the House of Representatives, provoking the W ildlife Committee to urge Federal investigation. This was som e months prior to the date upon which the Committee was due to report.

In November 1971, a symposium was conducted at the Hobart Town Hall to investigate the effect o f the H.E.C. upon the environment and government in Tasmania. Around the same tim e conservationists in mainland States becam e more organised in their approach and branches o f the L.P.A.C. were formed. Later that m onth the gates were closed on the

Serpentine River dam. The campaign gained m omentum through the early months of 1972 and in March, at a public meeting on Lake Pedder beach a statue of Truganini2 was erected as a symbol of Tasm ania’s continuing disregard for natural values. A vigil was established on the sand-dunes which continues to the present day being manned by individuals ranging from students to enraged housewives and scientists.

During the sam e month, collapse o f the Liberal State Government provoked

conservationists to form the United Tasmania Group whereby conservation candidates stood in various electorates, one com ing within a hundred votes of gaining a seat after a cam paign lasting only three weeks.

The national cam paign continued with demonstrations and overnight vigils in several State capitals. A steady stream o f petitions continued to reach government. In Tasmania doubts arose in regard to construction techniques utilised at the Scotts Peak Dam, but a move in the Upper House for an investigation failed. Water was soon lapping the feet of Truganini.

Three cam paign centres existed in Hobart in 1972, one next door to the G.P.O. from where a team o f supporters left for Canberra where they established a strong body o f Labor opinion supporting the L.P.A.C. Meanwhile a petition by nearly 200 life scientists was presented to the Legislative Council. A subsequent motion based on the petition was defeated. Soon afterwards a petition o f 17 000 Tasmanian signatures was presented to Mr

Reece.

Later in the year the Lake Pedder Action Committee engaged senior legal counsel, who found that the flooding o f Lake Pedder was illegal, and tried to contest the issue through a relator court action. The Government denied this right and passed validating legislation. During the debate Mr Reece smeared the Lake Pedder Action Committee by claiming

supporters were behind alleged bomb threats against him.

Shortly afterwards two Lake Pedder Action Committee campaigners left Hobart en route

1 App. pp. 11 and following. 2 The last Tasmanian aboriginal.

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to Canberra in a Tiger Moth aircraft to lobby parliamentarians. The plane vanished. Suspicious circumstances surround the flight as one o f the passengers had received anonymous telephone threats during the previous week, and the door o f the hangar in which the plane was stored was broken open the night before the flight. A full investigation

was sought but refused.

Prior to the Federal election of December 1972 A.L.P. environment spokesman, Mr Tom Uren, promised an enquiry into the Pedder flooding. The Victorian branch o f the Lake Pedder Action Committee campaigned in the electorate of Casey against the Federal Environment Minister, Mr Howson, who subsequently lost his seat.

The campaign for Lake Pedder has been long and has involved people from throughout Australia and even other parts o f the world. Such organisations as the International Union for the Conservation o f Nature and Natural Resources, UNESCO and the World Wildlife Fund have been involved. ’

Allowing for a little hyperbole here and there, the Committee is satisfied that the above represents a substantially accurate picture of the conservation campaign since 1967. One event not recorded in the L.P.A.C. submission to this Enquiry is worthy of special mention, and that is the publication of the book, Lake Pedder, subtitled Why a National Park Must be Saved, by the Lake Pedder Action Committees of Victoria

and Tasmania and the Australian Union of Students, in July 1972. This beautifully produced volume marked a new era of artistry and expertise in Australian conservation campaigning. The Table of Contents will give some idea of its scope:

5 SUMMARY 9 INTRODUCTION Prologue Description

Early History Fauna and Flora

20 THE CASE FOR CONSERVATION Biology Landforms Recreation National Park Status 45 ENGINEERING ASPECTS

Current Hydro-Electric Commission Scheme Preferred Pump-Storage Alternative Power Scheme Timing Economics of the Pump-Storage Alternative 56 POLITICS AND ADMINISTRATION

Politics and History Land Use and the H.E.C. How the Law Destroys the National Park 70 POWER AND TASMANIAN DEVELOPMENT Power Economics Employment State Development Alternative Fuels 83 THE FUTURE OF LAKE PEDDER If Inundation?

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Lake Redder Action Committee The United Tasmania Group The Part of the Citizen Sample Letter to Members of Parliament 92 CONCLUSIONS

The Case to Save Lake Pedder 95 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Illustrated with excellent maps, diagrams and black and white photographs, the book presented a convincing and definitive case for saving the lake—five years after it had been decided by Parliament, and with the work nearing completion! If this is a criticism it is also a tribute—to the crusading zeal of men and women who refused to

give in. A considerable literature has grown up around Pedder. In addition to the book, Lake Pedder, there were of course the sources upon which we have drawn heavily in writing the history which appears in the joint Report (that is the article by B. W.

Davis, and the Pedder Papers, published by the Australian Conservation Foundation, in which appears also the article by K, McKenry, from which we have quoted freely). To these we might add Damania1, edited by Richard Jones, and innumerable articles published in various journals and newspapers over the period from 1967 onwards.

These publications and many radio and television features and discussion, coupled with many other circumstances, are proof positive that the Pedder issue has attracted more interest and aroused stronger feelings that any previous or subsequent conservation issues which has ever arisen in Australia.

With the publication of our Interim Report, in June 1973, the activity entered a new phase, concentrated on political lobbying of Parliamentarians, first at the Federal, and later at the Tasmanian level.

The conservationists undoubtedly played a major part in persuading the Federal Labor Caucus to overrule the Cabinet decision not to accept this Committee’s recommendation for a moratorium on the flooding of the Lake (and procuring the Caucus decision that an offer should be made to the Tasmanian Government to meet the cost of restoration if that should prove feasible, and even to compensate Tasmania

for any economic loss involved). But the cause foundered, as one feared it might, on the rock of Tasmanian Government intransigence; even that generous offer was refused. Stubbornness and pride had transcended even materialism as the dominant factor now involved.

The activity of the L:P. A.C. continues, at the moment of writing, now centred on a bid for trade union support. The ripples spread wider and wider; the campaign will never end until Pedder is restored.

Other Persons and Bodies If it were ever compiled, the honour roll of persons and organisations who fought for Pedder would be a very long one. Around the top would be clustered the names of the martyrs to the cause: Brenda Hean and Max Price, the pilot of the plane in which she

was a passenger, who were lost while flying to Canberra to press the case for Pedder; and the late Olegas Truchanas. If not a martyr in the cause of Pedder (for he died in a canoeing accident on the Gordon) Truchanas can certainly be regarded as a true hero of Tasmania conservation, dying in the cause the kind of death he did not shun.

Many, many others could be added. Of Parliamentarians, one could not fail to be

1 Report of Symposium to Enquire into the H.E.C., Environment and the Government in Tasmania in November 1971.

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impressed by the simple dignity of Mr Louis Shoobridge, a former member of the Legislative Council. Part of his evidence reads as follows:

‘Then a truly wonderful person in this State who’s no longer with us prevailed on me. He worked on me in such a way that I slowly began to feel that I had done something terribly wrong. As a member o f Parliament I had accepted the advice of the technical or statutory authorities and the Parliament supporting that statutory authority, the terrible thing I’d done was that I had blindly turned away from what should have been a total and complete responsibility to every member o f Parliament that we were going to destroy one o f the most wonderful and most unique features in the world and he talked to me and he persuaded me, he said go down, he said will you go down and look at it and I said all right I will and it was from a heigh o f about 2000 feet I suppose in the aircraft that I caught sight o f it and I think it was then that I realised the enormity o f what the State was going to do. I felt much of what I felt on another occasion that like the man who comes face to face with Jesus Christ for the first time. He realises that he has to make a decision, and I realised that I had to make a decision and it was no use landing on the lake floor and Lake Pedder and going home and saying I’ve seen it and it’s still expendable it wasn’t to me any more expendable and I had to think quickly of what on earth could I do that would be original. The only thing I could think o f was to move in the Legislative Council for a referendum to be held.’

Another Parliamentarian who presented a written submission and evidence before us, and played a notable part, was Mr Michael Hodgman, a member of the Legislative Council since May 1966. Mr Hodgman sat as a member of the Select Committee which considered the matter in 1967. Of this he says:

‘Speaking for myself I had a distinct impression at that time that all possible alternatives had not been placed before our Committee but at the end of the evidence I was unable to advance any reasonable alternative to the proposed Scheme and consequently the enabling legislation was passed on 24 August 1967.’

Later Mr Hodgman was persuaded to the opposite view and took many initiatives in the endeavour to save the lake in the years that followed. He concluded his written submission to us with the following words:

T have stated publicly that had I known in 1967 what I now know I would never have supported the Gordon River Development Stage I, for I am now completely convinced that this Scheme, which will destroy forever a magnificent lake set in a unique National Park, will be obsolete within 40 years and future generations will no doubt be justifiably entitled to condemn us for our lack o f appreciation o f the real issues involved.

It would be better to spend 20 million dollars now recitfying the wrong than simply bury it because o f political expediency.’

Outside Parliament—their name is legion—and it would be unfair, perhaps, to endeavour to name any lest others, equally worthy, be overlooked. Amongst organisations other than the L.P.A.C., the Australian Conservation Foundation should be singled out for special mention. As Australia’s wealthiest and most prestigious conservation body one would have expected the Foundation to play a leading part in the battle for Pedder. And so, in a sense, it did, but not without a great deal of difficulty and soul-searching at various points on the road. There can be no doubt, reading in Pedder Papers the correspondence that had passed between the A.C.F. and the Government of Tasmania between September 1970 and October 1972, that Sir Garfield Barwick (who wrote first as President, and later as Vice-President, of the Foundation) was strongly committed (at the end if not at the beginning of the correspondence) to the saving of the Lake. Yet there are many significant features to indicate something of the internal struggles which preceded that very belated publication, in 1972. The correspondence is headed ‘Correspondence . . . on Land

Use Determination’; the Foreword, by Prince Philip, as President, is studiously

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neutral; by contrast, the Conclusion, by Sir Garfield Barwick, is imbued with real feeling for the loss of Pedder. The ‘coolmen’ were in the ascendancy, one feels, and the Foundation has continued on its rather half-hearted, equivocal course, in relation to Pedder, until the

recent A.C.F. election (late 1973) brought the activists into the ascendancy at last. First the Foundation was not to have presented a submission to this Enquiry; then it decided to do so; but when it came it was confined to a single page. But at least from Dr J. G. Mosley, then of the Foundation’s staff, and now its

Executive Director, we received every possible assistance. Australia is fortunate in possessing such a man, to contribute in such a dedicated way from his great store of knowledge and experience to the conservation cause. It is unnecessary here to provide detail of the innumerable other persons and

organisations, in Australian and indeed throughout the world, who have contributed in their various ways to the campaign to save Lake Pedder. The effort is, for all of them, its own reward.

The Official Response The official response of the H.E.C. and the Government of Tasmania to the conservationist campaign was unfortunate. In 1961, when the matter was already undergoing close examination (as we know)

the Chief Commissioner of the H.E.C. stated that ‘the possibility of power development in this (South-West) area in the foreseeable future is remote’. Davis1 tells us that the South-West) Committee, formed in 1962, was ‘assailed by the Premier for its interference in public affairs’. The clearest droplet of information, before 1967,

was that which came from the Premier in 1965 when he stated that ‘there would be some modification of the Lake Pedder National Park’ (our emphasis). So much for ‘open government’. The excellent Submission of the South-West Committee had a tepid reception from the Government. The letter from Mr Reece, in reply, dated 21 December 1966,

was based on the premise that the Committee represented a small minority interest. ‘While engaged in developing the resources of the State for the benefit of the majority, the Government is aware of its responsibility for the interests of minorities . . . Tasmania has a pressing need to develop to the best advantage the natural resources

of the State in the interests of the people as a whole, and in pursuit of this aim the Government will make every effort to safeguard the natural heritage and to cater for minority interests so far as it is possible to do so’. All very well: except that, in the writer’s view, the ‘development’ was to prejudice

the interests of the majority to a quite unacceptable degree; and as it will turn out, the ‘minority’ of 1966 was speaking for the ‘majority’ of the years to come. Another excellent indication of official attitudes under both Labor and Liberal regimes in Tasmania, during the period 1970-72, is to be found in the correspondence between the successive Tasmanian Premiers, Mr Reece and Mr Bethune, and the

Australian Conservation Foundation, which was published in Pedder Papers.2 The writer in his Annexure to the Interim Report quoted from these letters some passages to indicate the absolute predominance of economic considerations in the endeavour to justify the inundation; it is unnecessary to pursue this further at this stage.

In March and April 1972, with a State election in the offing, (precipitated by the resignation of Mr Kevin Lyons) feeling about Pedder reached new peaks of intensity. Here possibly for the first time in Australian history a conservation issue became a

1 Earlier reference, p. 2 Published by the Australian Conservation Foundation, 1972. See p. 55 & following.

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matter of major importance in a State general election, We have already adverted to the formation of the United Tasmania Group and the part it played in this election. What we have not yet dealt with was the H.E.C. participation in the campaign. It is one thing for a statutory body to answer publicly what it conceives to be false charges, but the H.E.C. did far more than that, as the record shows. What is charged against it is a deliberate intervention in the political campaign, and that many of its published statements were false.

It scarcely seems appropriate that this Committee should attempt to sit in judgment on the matter now. A Royal Commission was called for by the L.P.A.C. after the elections, but this was not granted. The story is told, with full copies of the relevant advertisements, in Lake Pedder1 and in McKenry’s paper.2 Neither of these publications minced their words in stating the facts and their conclusions. In a solicitor’s letter to McKenry prior to publication of his article in Pedder Papers, McKenry was informed that ‘if you are honest you will warn any person or firm printing or distributing this paper that they run the very real risk of being joined in an action for libel’. For all that, McKenry and the Australian Conservation Foundation proceeded to publish; the solicitor’s letter was subtended as an appendix to McKenry’s published paper. No libel action resulted.

In June 1972 the H.E.C. house publication Cross Currents carried a photograph of a meeting at the H.E.C. building between L.P.A.C. members and H.E.C. staff. ‘Whereas this meeting’ (the caption said) ‘permitted a free exchange of information, a later public meeting in the Hobart Town Hall became so disorderly that Mr Ashton’ (H.E.C. engineer) ‘was not allowed to speak. Such behaviour made it clear that there is a certain section of the Lake Pedder protest movement whose perversity defies the most comprehensive and careful information programs.’

Obviously relations were deteriorating badly. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the public meeting to which the caption refers, it could scarcely be said that the H.E.C. had not brought most of the trouble on itself by failing signally, in earlier years, to provide a ‘comprehensive and careful information program’, or indeed any

information at all, about its plans for Pedder. (As previously mentioned, its lack of frankness, even at the Select Committee stage, in 1967, attracted unfavourable comment from the Select Committee, which it expressed in its Report.) In August 1972 the L.P.A.C. advised the H.E.C. that ‘this Committee is in the process of embarking upon a program of campaign intensification. In association with our sub-committees in Victoria and South Australia, and affiliated groups elsewhere, we will continue lawful, and what we believe to be responsible means aimed at bringing about the retention of Lake Pedder in its natural state. While you doubtless do not agree with our stand, we feel you will appreciate our right to continue this fight and our reasons for so doing.’

But the H.E.C. was not to be cozened into appreciation of any such right. The reply was only ‘regret to learn that it is proposed to intensify your campaign. In view of the firmly demonstrated intention of the Parliament of this State that the work shall proceed as approved and as the matter is not within Federal jurisdiction in any way, we can only regard your Committee’s policy as one of deliberately attempting to thwart the wishes of Parliament and as such it is mischievous and irresponsible. It is a pity that your energies could not be turned to a more constructive purpose.’

In response to one of the Select Committee recommendations in 1967 the H.E.C. had appointed a Public Relations Officer. In October 1972, replying to an L.P.A.C.

1 Lake Pedder was published by the Lake Pedder Action Committees of Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Union of Students, 1972. See pp. 61 and following. 2 K. McKenry’s paper, A History and Critical Analysis o f the Controversy Concerning the Gordon River Power Scheme, was published in Pedder Papers (referred to earlier). See at pp. 23 and following.

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request for permission to reproduce H.E.C. photographs which had already appeared in the Hobart Mercury, this gentleman, noting that the request had already twice been refused by telephone, concluded with the words, ‘It is regretted that telephone communications are not satisfactory to your mainland masters. Please accept our

commiserations.’ Not perhaps the better public relations for which the Select Committee had hoped!

Conclusion

The above is not, nor can it be, the full story of the Lake Redder conservation campaign (which still continues) nor of the official response, but enough has been said to give a picture of the trend of events and feelings. One cannot but feel that the H.E.C. and the Tasmanian Government had failed to

adapt quickly enough to changing times and changing values. Faced with a persistent campaign which effectively challenged, for the first time, their hegemony, the paucity of public information, and their scale of values, they reacted with hostility and attempted denigration, not realising that what they were attempting to stifle was the

authentic voice of the future, which they would eventually have to heed. The Government and the H.E.C. had the power, and the personnel, information, expertise and resources to back it up. the L.P.A.C. had nothing except their own dedication and idealism, and the voluntary assistance of those few who were prepared to help them. Yet the marvel is that it was the L.P.A.C., and not the Government or the H.E.C., which produced by far and away the most effective campaign, and

publicity material. The maintenance of secrecy, and a refusal to answer back or to give information, were perhaps good tactics for the short term. But in the longer term, if the critics have a good case, and are prepared to keep on hammering it, the tactic can prove

disastrous. So it was with Redder. Short term, the tactic of silence enabled the Government and the H.E.C. to escape practically unscathed until 1967. In 1967 it enabled them to scrape their scheme through the Select Committee and the Parliament. But it was in the years that followed that the price began to be paid.

Seven years later it is still exacting its toll; and the end is not yet. Looking back, it is quite remarkable what the conservationists, small as their numbers are, managed to achieve. Without them there would have been no Select Committee and, quite probably, no South-West National Park; Lake Pedder would have sunk with scarcely a trace—whereas now the flooding of Pedder is an indelible

part of the history of our time. And certainly the conservationists were directly responsible for the setting up of this Committee of Enquiry, and played the major part in providing us with first-class material covering every aspect of our enquiry. And it was they, clearly enough, who persuaded Caucus to reverse the Cabinet decision not to

accept the recommendations in our Interim Report. Perhpas most importantly of all, they have helped to compel a re-appraisal of attitudes, not only in Tasmania but throughout Australia. The Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service is a direct

result of the Select Committee which they procured. And the unquestioned authority and prestige of the Hydro-Electric Commission, which had assumed dangerous proportions, is gone forever. In these various ways the Pedder conservationists have undoubtedly left their mark on the pages of Australian history. We of this Committee, and the Australian

community generally, owe them a great debt. They have not failed, nor did they fight in vain.

Suggested Inconsistency and Emotionalism in Conservationists There was an element of paradox in the conservation campaign which deserves

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mention—that the H.E.C. could claim, with truth, that hydro-power is pollution-free and fuel-saving; yet here (they might say) were conservationists opposing one aspect of a hydro scheme. And indeed, if it had really been a choice, let us say, between the Gordon Scheme

and the development of further oil-burning thermal stations, the fact that hydro­ power is pollution-free and fuel-saving would have been a valid argument to throw in the balance to justify the drowning of Redder; and conservationists could have been accused, with some justice, of inconsistency in arguing otherwise. But it cannot be too frequently or strongly emphasised that the choice was never really as stark as that. It was never shown or even seriously suggested that the saving of Redder would require the development of oil-burning thermal stations.

The fact is that the drowning of Redder resulted from the H.E.C.’s desire to further improve the economics of the Gordon Scheme by diverting the waters of the Huon into the Serpentine impoundment. The Huon waters were not necessary to the Scheme; they contributed only 12% of the average annual water flow; but they would tend to make cheap electric power a little cheaper still.

It is clear from the documents in the case that the true value of Redder was never properly weighed in the balance against this merely incremental benefit to the Gordon Scheme. The H.E.C. Report, the Inter-Departmental Committee Report, the correspondence between the Premier and Sir Garfield Barwick; these and many other facts, circumstances and documents referred to in our Interim and Final Reports show quite clearly that the decision to flood Redder was made by men who knew but one criterion of value—least cost; they saw an economic benefit in the flooding of

Redder, and no adverse consequence but the loss of an ‘airstrip for light aircraft’; nothing more. It is fashionable in some quarters to refer to the ‘emotionalism’ of

conservationists. For myself, I must say that I found the Redder conservationist material perfectly rational and most helpful in attempting to arrive at an understanding of the problem in its manifold aspects. Both in substance and form it was a credit to its authors. The book, Lake Pedder, published in July 1972 by the Lake Redder Action Committees of Victoria and Tasmania and the Australian Union of Students, is a good illustration of what I have in mind. It exhibits, in high degree, the results of careful research, scientific and engineering expertise, clarity and sensitivity in text, figures and photographic reproductions, and for the most part, objectivity in the statement of historic facts. One should mention also the Pedder Papers, published in 1972, by the Australian Conservation Foundation, to which earlier reference was made.

Emotion there is, in both these publications, certainly, but it is the emotion of men who love their country, and loved Lake Pedder, and wanted to save it. Some personal bitterness there is too, I agree, in the historical sections, but who, having studied the history, could really deny that the H.E.C., by its obfuscation, its arrogance, its insensitivity, and the way it attempted to silence its critics, had not done much to bring about this result?

In due course these notable books were to be supplemented and filled out by the excellent written submissions and evidence of the L.P.A.C. and other conservationists who gave evidence. There were a few occasions when a particular witness might appear to have been more concerned with pursuing an attack on the H.E.C. than furthering the objects of our enquiry; but this was the exception, not the rule; on the whole, the evidence of conservationists was most helpful and constructive; whatever of excellence is to be found in our two Reports (insofar as they deal with Pedder itself, and the flooding) is due, in my personal view, almost solely to the labours and publications, and the evidence, of the conservationists.

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I pass on to several other matters.

The Moratorium Proposals

In Sections 7.1 and 7.2 of our joint Report the Committee restates and endeavours to explain the proposal for a moratorium which appears in our Interim Report, on the ground, as given, that our proposal had been ‘widely misinterpreted’. For myself, I should have thought it unnecessary to venture on this explanation.

Even if our proposals were misinterpreted or misrepresented, to a degree (and I agree they were), they speak for themselves, and I thought it undesirable to go to such pains to explain them further now. For myself, I am quite certain that the decision to flood Redder was a great

mistake, and as I read the Interim Report, and indeed the final Report, I believe my colleagues agree. (Cf. the final words of Section 5.6 of our joint Report: ‘It is the view of this Committee that the Lake Pedder National Park met the spirit of these definitions’ (of national parks) ‘and should have been “protected from all interference other than essential management practices” to preserve its natural

attributes’; or again in Section 8.3 ‘The Committee considers that the Lake Pedder controversy provides an object lesson to illustrate how an inadequate appreciation of these principles’ (that is, for land use planning) ‘had led to the unwise alienation of

land and the loss of scientific, recreational and aesthetic values having regional and national significance.’ It is, of course, true that the question whether Government should have attempted, at that stage, to put the matter right, was something else again. My own

answer was quite clear, namely, that the attempt should be made: see my Reasons which appear as an annexure to the Interim Report. And I believed, and still do, that we had quite sufficient information, as to costs and otherwise, to justify us in recommending accordingly.

Nonetheless I was quite prepared to put my name also to the lower-key Report of myself and my colleagues, in which we expressed ourselves as we did—demonstrating, I believe, quite clearly, a sentiment in favour of saving the lake, but pointing out that ‘the final judgment . . . must be made at the political level, that is by those whom

Australians have elected to decide on national and State priorities and needs’, and recommending the moratorium ‘with a view to assessing the feasibility of restoring Lake Pedder’.

The Australian Government and the Committee It would be hypocritical to deal as we do with the acts and omissions of the H.E.C., and the Tasmanian Parliament and Government, in relation to Lake Pedder, and to make no mention of the fact that the Australian Government is, at least in the writer’s view, deserving of criticism also for the way in which it dealt with this Committee and

hence (in a sense), with the Pedder issue. One could start further back, of course, and comment adversely on the Australian Government’s failure to examine environmental consequences when first it was asked to make a grant for the building of the Gordon Road, or when the Tasmanian

Government came back for loan funds for the financing of the Gordon Power Scheme. But such action, though certainly to be expected as of now, would then have been so much in advance of its time that one could scarcely be justified in expressing adverse criticism of the omission. (This matter is of course dealt with in our joint

Report.) And one certainly applauds, and rejoices in, the action of the Australian Government in setting up this Enquiry. What one must deprecate, however, is some of

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the conduct that followed, in relation to the work of this Committee, which demonstrated, I believe, remarkable half-heartedness, or divided opinions, at least, on the part of the new Government, on this issue. This is perhaps not the appropriate time or place for me to spell out that criticism

in detail. It is sufficient, perhaps, in the circumstances, to make this mention of it, lest it be thought that one is prepared to apply double standards to the conduct of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments in relation to the Pedder issue. They were both at fault, to a degree. But most of all, it must be emphasised, it is we, the Australian people, who are at fault, and must accept the blame for the loss of Pedder. If we had cared enough, we could have saved it.

The Tasmanian Community In the writer’s view it is necessary, for a more complete understanding of the Pedder controversy, to state quite frankly the view which forms in one’s mind, as one contemplates the whole series of events in the Pedder controversy, that this was, and indeed still is, a small island community in which Government and the H.E.C. loomed too large, and lesser people had become afraid to express their views, for fear of

hostile reactions. We see this, for example, in the Premier’s rather naive complaint, to which I referred above, that the South-West Committee was ‘interfering in public affairs’—as if ‘public affairs’ were not a matter for the public! Or again, we see it exemplified in the way the Scenery Preservation Board, which was charged with the management of national parks, was pushed aside with no ceremony to enable a little coterie of public servants, headed by the H.E.C. Commissioner, to set their imprimatur (as an Inter­ Departmental Committee) on the Middle Gordon Scheme and the flooding of Lake Pedder and the National Park of which it was the centrepiece; and again in the failure of that Board, or of any member of it, to utter a single word or line of public protest at the flooding itself, or the way in which they had been by-passed.

But indeed examples are quite unnecessary, for they are part of the warp and woof of the whole history of the matter as we have recounted it.

Public Awareness and Public Debate It follows (in the writer’s personal view at least) that little will be achieved by way of reform, in Tasmania or elsewhere, unless the measures we have suggested in our joint Report are accompanied by a growing public awareness of environmental and

conservation issues, and a willingness to speak up. This new awareness and the willingness to speak up is already growing, and we must hope it continues to do so. In due course this will surely lead to more tolerance for dissent, more open government, and a greater disposition to consider competing opinions; but in the shorter term we shall need men and women with sufficient courage to express their views, risking the adverse social or economic consequences which now keep so many silent. In this process students may well lead the way, for their parents to follow.

I am fond of saying, and I repeat: we need a lot more ‘stirrers’ in this society, till the day when ‘stirrer’ becomes, as it should, a term of praise, rather than opprobrium, in the Australian community. And I should like to add, from my own experience in the conservation movement, that of all the pieces of ‘machinery’ we can devise, none is of greater value and importance than the public enquiry. Without it, all the devices and exhortations we can deliver will be rendered quite valueless and meaningless. But with a public enquiry, and the resultant publicity, there is always a good chance that truth will overflow the boundaries within which development agencies would have wished to

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confine it. People will be encouraged to come forward, and information and suggestions of great value will emerge which will direct or influence, quite ineluctably, the course of future events and future planning, not only in relation to the particular matter under consideration, but more generally in relation to all similar matters

subsequently arising. Another matter of the greatest moment to which I personally should wish to advert is the intervention of the trade unions. In an ideal world, or under an ideal system of government, their intervention in conservation and environmental issues could be said

to be unnecessary or undesirable. But in a world such as this, where so often the public interest is ignored, while big business, or big government, or big unions have their way, some trade unions have moved in to fill the vacuum. Deplore it as some will, this development will have far-reaching consequences. Politicians of all parties should

take it as a warning: if they will not take these issues seriously, others will; and their prestige and authority will suffer accordingly. It behoves them to look to it. Governments and statutory authorities need to learn an important lesson in relation to ‘development’ projects. Time was when they could serve out to the public what they thought was good for them. In future they shall need to discover, at an early

stage, by a deliberate approach to the public, what the public wants, and to modify their plans accordingly.

Costs and Delays There are many who complain that the new procedures we have recommended— multi-objective planning, review procedures, public disclosure, public debate and public enquiry, and the rest—will involve inordinate delay and often, great cost.

And this is true, up to a point.

But what is the alternative? With modern earth-moving equipment and the use of explosives and other devises we can raze a forest, drown a lake or river valley, strip the earth of its soil, tear down a sand-dune, make great holes in the earth and ugly wounds on cliffs and

mountainsides, all in very short order and even, in some cases, at relatively small cost; with oil and poisons and insecticides we can kill off the fish, the animals and bird life efficiently and expeditiously; with one or two atomic bombs we can kill, and destroy, and pollute the atmosphere for thousands of miles around; in a few short days, or

months or years, we can destroy, or deface, or damage beyond repair, for our short­ term profit, some of the masterpieces of nature’s handiwork (the cedar forests of the North Coast, Lake Redder, Bunngonia Gorge, and so on) which it took millions of years of slow time to create in just that form.

All these things we can do, I say, most efficiently and expeditiously, and even cheaply; but all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can seldom put them together again. What we have lost, generally speaking, we have lost for ever. Each conservation battle lost is a permanent and irretrievable loss of a precious part of the ever-dimin­

ishing heritage which was ours, and should have been passed on to our children. Have we not made sad and grave and irreparable mistakes? So is it not time, now, to take care? Why should we be in such a hurry to destroy or ‘develop’ what it took so long to create? Have we not made enough ghastly mistakes to persuade us that it is time to go slower—to think, and think, and think again before we proceed to destroy what is left?

And if it costs time and money, as it does, to think these things out carefully before rushing into action, is not this the price we must pay for the preservation of so much that is or should be precious to us? The cost will be small, very small, compared with

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the price we are paying for the mistakes of the past, or the mistakes of the future, if we allow our power to kill, and change, and destroy to outstrip our power to preserve, or conserve, our resources and our environment, and to maintain the conditions essential to the health and happiness of the human race.

Mankind needs to learn a new reverence for life, and mother earth, and a new humility in the face of our mad urge for speed, and change, and material wealth, and so-called development. This is the great task for our educationists.

Conclusion So we return, finally, to Lake Redder. I have attempted to describe, in an Annexure to the Interim Report, my personal impressions of Redder, as they were built up in the mind from the evidence, the photographs and the slide shows which we saw, and our visit to the area whilst the waters were still rising. And in our joint Reports we have dealt at length with the many cogent reasons why Redder should have been spared.

We expressed the view in our joint Report, at Section 7.3.4, that even though we shall probably have lost for ever some of the endemic species of terrestrial and aquatic life, it should be possible, over a period of years, to see Lake Redder restored, at least in the aesthetic sense, to what it once was, even if the plug were to be pulled out years hence. The sooner the better, of course, but better late than never.

There is very fortunately, in this case, what lawyers call a locus poenitentiae—an opportunity to repent. For myself, I believe in this impossible dream. Redder folk will not give up hope. If not we ourselves, the day will come when our children will undo what we so foolishly have done.

They will not blame, I hope, those men who in name, and by virtue of their office, take the responsibility for this act of appalling vandalism, the inundation of Lake Redder. For in the truest sense those men were merely hands and instruments of our generation, and our age. They are not wicked men. They are men who could not even understand the enormity of the act they were committing; they were the blind leading us the blind.

Still, it will be easier, probably, to put matters right when they are no longer in office; their strong personal commitment to the flooding of Redder is an obstacle, whilst they remain. Their successors will be readier to admit the mistake, and will find it easier to submit to the growing tide of feeling, particularly among the younger generation, that Redder must be restored.

When the day of restoration comes, due honour will be paid to those to whom honour is due, people like the late Olegas Truchanas, Brenda Mean and Max Price, and all those many others, living or dead, who by their words and actions have shown their love for Lake Redder and their native land.

In the hearts of those who love her, Pedder lives; yea and will rise again from the waters which now cover her.

S y d n e y , February 1974 Edward St John