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Meander Dam Environmental Management - Plum target for litigation.



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Guy Barnett Liberal Senator for Tasmania

Meander Dam Environmental Management Plan - A Plum Target For Litigation

Thursday, July 08, 2004

KONS SETS LEGAL PRECEDENT - ALLOWS DEVELOPERS TO NEGOTIATE PROVISIONS OF MANAGEMENT PLAN

Senator Guy Barnett today accused the Tasmanian Government of compromising its Meander Dam environmental management plan by allowing private developers to negotiate the terms of the plan.

“This unprecedented action is extraordinary, and I warn that it will expose the project to more litigation. The State Government has admitted it will not forward the Spotted Tail Quoll management plan for Australian Government environmental approval until the potential tenderers of the construction have agreed on the terms.

“This management plan is required by the Australian Government to ensure protection of spotted tail quoll populations at the dam site.

“It is a stand-alone environmental management plan.

“It is not a document for negotiation with prospective private developers,” Senator Barnett said.

“It should be forwarded to Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Dr David Kemp for approval immediately - before any private sector developer even sets eyes on it. The Spotted Tail Quoll is not a negotiable commodity,” he said.

On June 25, Primary Industries and Water Minister Steve Kons said:

“…It would be highly desirable if the final management plan submitted for Commonwealth approval was supported by the dam developer….the management plan will be formally submitted to Environment Minister David Kemp once the developer has agreed to meet its terms.”

In the Hobart Mercury today (8/7/04) Mr Kons is reported as saying the - “the final draft of the management plan would be best submitted to the Commonwealth with the successful tender application.”

Senator Barnett said Mr Kons is also being misleading by saying the draft management plan has already received in-principle approval by Dr Kemp.

“Federal officials told Mr Kons’s department in writing at the end last month that its management plan was still deficient and had to be improved. His officers were told this verbally by Federal officials again earlier this week.

“The plan should have been officially submitted for approval a year ago; it is still not up to scratch a year later; and now Mr Kons wants to negotiate the provisions of the management plan with prospective developers- this is outrageous.

“I fear for the flora and fauna of this State if this is way the current State Government conducts its environmental affairs,” Senator Barnett said.