Thursday 15 November 2012


Hansard of the Legislative Council



[11.44 a.m.]

Mr FARRELL (Derwent - Leader of Government Business in the Legislative Council - Motion) - Madam President, I move -

That the Council approve a draft proclamation under section 21(1) of the Nature Conservation Act 2002 which revokes the reservation status of an unnamed conservation area at Badger Head.

This is so that it can be prepared for sale. The conservation area at Badger Head is at the western end of Badger Beach. The reserved land is relatively small, being only 2 160 square metres in size, and is located at the end of a residential cul-de-sac. It was bought by the crown in 1978 so that it and a number of other blocks that were intended to be bought at the same time could be added to the then Asbestos Range National Park. The larger blocks that were not part of this proposal were not purchased so the plan to add the smaller blocks to the national park, including the Badger Head block, did not go ahead. The land is surrounded on three sides by private residential properties and on the fourth side by a large block owned by West Tamar Council. The close proximity of a number of private landholders, the small size of the block, and the lack of connectivity to other reserve land have reduced the value of the block to the Tasmanian Reserve Estate.

The vegetation on the crown block is regrowth dry forest. Much of the original vegetation on the block is likely to have been cleared to construct low and high voltage power lines that run up through the middle of the block. Native vegetation on it would provide some habitat for native fauna, however given its small size, disturbance history and context in the landscape, it is not considered significant.

No threatened flora and fauna have been identified on the property and it contains no other significant natural values. Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania has advised that there are no Aboriginal heritage sites in or close to the property and accordingly AHT has no objection to the sale of the parcel of land.

Prior to any sale of the land the reservation status of the land needs to be revoked. This will require the Governor to make a proclamation under section 21 of the Nature Conservation Act 2002. Prior to the Governor making such a proclamation a draft of the proclamation needs to be approved by both Houses of parliament. The director of Parks and Wildlife supports the proposal for revocation and sale of this land. I commend this motion to the House.


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Being the representative for this area, it behoves me to speak and inform members about the property that is for revocation. Badger Head is an interesting area because it is part of what used to be the Asbestos Range National Park, but of course with asbestos being politically incorrect, the name was changed to Narawntapu. It is a firm part of the Narawntapu National Park. That is why some of that area is under the Nature Conservation Act.

I first became aware of this area when I was with the ABC. A lady by the name of Joan Lyons, one of the very few residents at Badger Head, wrote a small history of Badger Head and its place on Bass Strait as a location for explorers, travellers and people who wanted to explore Tasmania. Joan wrote a lovely book, sent it to me, and I had contact with her. She passed away a couple of years ago and her husband quite some time before. He was known as the mayor of Badger Head and his nickname was Tiger. I never did find out his real name but the mayor, or Tiger, and Joan lived there. They developed a lovely home there. Badger Head has been used over many years by the residents of the West Tamar as a holiday area. In fact there were seven to 10 families who used it regularly for camping. When it became part of the Parks and Wildlife area they were forbidden. That opportunity was not available to them anymore. In people's minds it was certainly a wonderful getaway, a coastline holiday spot such as we Tasmanians use for our breaks and recreation.

The Beaconsfield Football Club had a big shack with a lot of bunks in it. I know that the children and families of the community did not go there when the footballers were there but they were happy to share the hut with the community. I think it has been dismantled now. You can imagine a lot of people of the community have a spiritual link to this area.

As described by the leader, it is on the western end of Badger Beach, which goes about 5 kilometres round to Greens Beach so it is a significant beach area; a very wide and wonderful beach. I had some issues there in the past because I know that Parks and Wildlife wanted people who were camping there or going there fishing, particularly, to desist because of the birds and the wildlife in the national park and the damage that their activities might cause. That caused some consternation with the local community, but things have settled down. I believe there has been an acceptance of what the Parks and Wildlife Service was trying to achieve. That situation has not arisen of recent times.

In locating and describing the area, Narawntapu National Park was visited when Harry Butler was doing his wildlife series on ABC television. He covered that area and said, on television, and I quote: 'This has the most wildlife I have ever seen in any location in Australia.'

Ms Forrest - You were there at the time?

Members laughing.

Mr FINCH - Yes, 'wildlife' needs some definition.

Members laughing.

Badger Head is named after what our early settlers called wombats. If you know the area as I do, wombats are all over Narawntapu National Park and certainly down parts of the West Tamar, particularly around Greens Beach. I am sure that the name of Badger Head came from the wombats which are prolific in that area.

Mr Gaffney - A couple of things on that. I appreciate the way you describe the area. It has been referred to as the 'Serengeti' of Tasmania or Australia, and Narawntapu was the first national park in Australia that has had its name changed to an Aboriginal name. It was previously called the Asbestos Range National Park.

Mr FINCH - I was going to make notes but I will get that from Hansard. Thank you for that extra bit of history. I have checked, though not extensively, because of the short notice that we had with this. I would have liked to talk to the Pisconeri family who are of longstanding in the area and know the district very well. I have checked with the council. They do not have an issue with this. In fact, it could be that because of the proximity of that being adjacent to some council land, the council might look to acquire it if they feel that it is of any purpose or leave it as it is, as this wonderful block of 2 160 square metres which would be a fabulous getaway and opportunity for people if they want to develop a site in the vicinity of the fantastic Narawntapu National Park and the beach area. It is not that far away from it.

With those few words about the history and the area, I will leave the lectern with my approval of this being revoked.

[11.54 a.m.]

Ms RATTRAY (Apsley) - While I was enthralled with the previous speaker about the area - I almost want to buy the area now; I think most others might also want to buy it - talking about purchasing crown land, which effectively is what you will be able to do, I wonder what the time frame will be of the availability for purchase, should this pass as it obviously ……………..