SPECIAL INTEREST MATTERS
TAMAR RIVER FLOOD PROTECTION AUTHORITY AND MILL RISK ASSESMENT
Mr FINCH (Statement) - Mr President, the member for Windermere
and I, along with you, constitute what might be termed the
Legislative Council Tamar River trio. Others might have other
names but the member for Windermere and I have noted your
recent calls for the establishment of a Tamar River flood
protection authority. I am with you, Mr President.
Mr Aird - You pay for it.
Mr FINCH - I have long advocated a single body to oversee
the work which needs to be done on the Tamar silt and flood
problems and I have long called for an overarching authority
to coordinate all the factors affecting the river. This week
the State Government rejected the idea out of hand and still
does, but that is not going to make it go away. I would like
to quote the Leader from earlier this week:
'The State Government does not believe there is a need to
legislate for the establishment of a separate statutory flood
protection authority outside of the Launceston City Council.
We do not believe another bureaucracy of that scale is warranted
and we believe the money is best spent on fixing the levee
Mr Parkinson - Precisely.
Mr Aird - That is right.
Mr Parkinson - Thank you for repeating those words of wisdom.
Mr FINCH - Of course the Leader was referring to flood protection
only, but there are numerous other factors of concern, Mr
President. For example, the Friends of the Tamar Group list
three main natural resource elements which it says should
be risk assessed urgently. Firstly, air quality including
particle and density hazards. Secondly, protection of the
river and estuary in the context of factors which could cause
damage such as a pulp mill development. Thirdly, water supplies
and their future adequacy in the context of climate change,
increasing demand and industrial use.
The Friends of the Tamar Group are particularly concerned
that any threats to these elements by the proposed pulp mill
will be risk assessed by the appropriate authorities. They
are so concerned at the lack of any risk assessment in these
fields that they have asked the Federal Environment minister
Mr Aird - You will become the Green member for Rosevears.
Mr FINCH - Decidedly grey.
I will continue. The Friends of the Tamar Group are so concerned
at the lack of any risk assessment in these fields that they
have asked the Federal Environment minister to endorse their
suggested risk-assessment process which they say must be completed
by the relevant lead authorities and the Government together.
The group has asked me to put the facts to the State Government
as a matter of urgency.
A spokesman for the group, Laurie Crerar, points out that
risk assessment is legally required as part of due diligence
and governance of all government departments, local councils
and authorities to protect, inform and control these respective
obligations on behalf of the community they serve. The Friends
of the Tamar Group, Mr President, is one of several well-meaning
and dedicated bodies looking at the future of the Tamar. I
believe they need the support of an overarching authority
to help coordinate their efforts and strengthen their pursuit
The State Government is well aware of the flood protection
urgency as the Leader demonstrated in his reply to my question
earlier in the week. The Leader mentioned $700 000 already
contributed for levee design and planning costs and the recent
offer of the $10 million, conditional on a similar Federal
contribution which, no doubt, will be confirmed as election
time approaches for the member for Bass.
The Leader also spoke of the contribution to dredging costs
over 25 years and the $150 000 a year for levee maintenance.
There is no quibble over the State Government's monetary support,
Mr President, but these problems are not solved by money alone.