Feedback sought on fire management planning for the TWWHA

Minister for Parks

Feedback sought on fire management planning for the TWWHA

9 September 2021

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) is releasing the draft Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) Fire Management Plan for public comment.

A comprehensive Fire Management Plan is vitally important for the TWWHA in order to protect its Outstanding Universal Values as well as critical State infrastructure.

We recognise that the TWWHA covers nearly a quarter of the Tasmanian land mass and has many areas of fire-sensitive, high value, natural and cultural assets which are irreplaceable if impacted by bushfire.

The TWWHA Fire Management Plan seeks to minimise the risk of destructive bushfires as well as providing a contemporary planned burning program to maintain fire-dependent ecosystems.

The Plan also recognises the role of past Aboriginal burning practices in shaping the cultural landscape of the TWWHA, and the contemporary role of planned fire regimes in maintaining these practices.

One of the objectives of the fire management program for the TWWHA focuses on the suppression of bushfires that pose a threat to public safety and other values located inside the TWWHA or on adjoining lands.

The draft Fire Management Plan for the TWWHA is shaped by community consultation following the release of an issues paper last year.

The 44th World Heritage Committee report, handed down in June 2021, welcomed the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to developing a comprehensive Fire Management Plan.

This consultation phase that begins today is the next key step in delivering on that commitment.

To view the draft Plan visit the PWS website at www.parks.tas.gov.au

Protecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the TWWHA

Minister for Parks

Protecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the TWWHA

9 September 2021

The Tasmanian Liberal Government remains committed to the effective management and protection of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), which is recognised through the World Heritage Convention as having both cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). 

It is my pleasure to announce two important initiatives that the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment will be releasing to assist in delivering protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the TWWHA.

The initiatives are:

  • TWWHA Natural Values Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: 2021 – 2031; and
  • TWWHA Biosecurity Strategy: 2021- 2031

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has finalised the Natural Values Climate Change Adaptation Strategy which aims to manage risk by planning for the potential impact of heatwaves, seasonality of weather variables, coastal erosion and extreme weather events.

In addition to the Natural Values Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, I am also pleased to announce the Government’s delivery of a biosecurity strategy to protect the TWWHA by reducing the risk of invasive organisms.

The PWS TWWHA Biosecurity Strategy 2021-2031 identifies seven goals to address biosecurity risks within the TWWHA. This Strategy aims to minimise these risks through effective leadership, planning, communication, documentation, training, education, research, compliance, co-ordination, and emergency response.

These initiatives are designed to accompany the TWWHA Management Plan to support and guide the management of the TWWHA.

These two strategies are now available to view on the DPIPWE website, and I would like to thank all those who have provided expertise and insights during the stakeholder engagement and public consultation processes.

Securing the future of our parks

Minister for Parks

Securing the future of our parks

9 September 2021

I am pleased to announce that the Tasmanian Liberal Government will draft amendments to the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 to reform the Reserve Activity Assessment (RAA) system, formalising the process and providing greater transparency.
 
The RAA process was implemented in 2005 and is used to assess the potential environmental impacts of a proposed use or development, and to identify necessary actions to manage the impacts on land managed by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS).
 
The RAA process is underpinned by an extensive policy-based framework, has provided for the appropriate management of activities and their impacts on reserved land since its inception, and has been validated by the Auditor General.
 
The PWS recently undertook a review of the RAA system, with the review recommendations being implemented and already making significant improvements to the RAA process.

While the RAA is underpinned by an extensive policy-based framework, it is not however a legislative requirement of the National Parks and Reserves Management Act.

As the Government wants to ensure greater transparency and continuous improvement across our programs and services,  the Government will commence the process of drafting amendments to the RAA which will include the following amendments:

  • Mandating elements of the RAA process for major uses and developments;
  • Establishment of an independent assessment panel to assess and review significant proposals against the relevant Management Plan;
  • Provision for third party appeals and cost recovery for RAA assessments; and
  • Publication of leases and licences over Reserved land.

The aim of these reforms will be to deliver a dedicated statutory environmental impact and planning assessment process within the framework of the National Parks and Reserves Management Act and to remove duplication in LUPAA.

These reforms will be robust and give the community full confidence in the decision making around reserved land once implemented.

In the interim, the recruitment of six new assessment officers is underway – two in each region, to enable RAA applications to be assessed within reasonable timeframes. Five of these six positions have already been filled and will ensure that use and developments are undertaken sustainably and in consideration of mitigating impacts to natural and cultural values.

The Government is dedicated to continuing this journey of improvement through increased transparency and a more robust process, and these important reforms will deliver on that commitment.

Aboriginal Fire Rangers commence new burning program

Minister for Parks

Aboriginal Fire Rangers commence new burning program

6 September 2021

In a significant step toward joint land management between the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and Tasmanian Aboriginal people, PWS Aboriginal Fire Rangers employees have completed their first cultural burn at Dempster Plains on the West Coast.

Aboriginal cultural burning has taken place on the Tasmanian landscape for more 40,000 years, and this program provides Aboriginal people with the opportunity to connect to country, share knowledge, and reduce the impact of bushfires in our community.

We know that planned burns, like the cultural burn on Dempster Plains, are an important method to protect the landscape and vegetation values, along with enhancing the survival of sensitive plant communities.

It comes as part of the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to support Aboriginal cultural land management and burning practices, which also includes the awarding of 10 grants to 5 Tasmanian Aboriginal community organisations as part of a $100,000 pilot Aboriginal Cultural Burning Program to help engage and build capacity in cultural burning practices.

The successful applications included projects to plan and undertake cultural burns, purchase firefighting and personal protective equipment (PPE) and to undertake cultural burning training.

The Tasmanian Government recognises that Aboriginal cultural burning practices have helped shape the Tasmanian landscape we know today, and our Government will ensure appropriate collaboration and continuing engagement with Tasmanian Aboriginal people to deliver cultural land management practices.

Tasmania’s Next Iconic Walk Feasibility Study proves Tyndall Range concept

Minister for Parks

Tasmania’s Next Iconic Walk Feasibility Study proves Tyndall Range concept

6 September 2021

The findings of a Feasibility Study into a new overnight experience in the Tyndall Range on Tasmania’s West Coast proves the proposal is feasible and will deliver a new and iconic multi-day walking experience.

I am pleased to announce that the Tasmanian Government will double the funding already committed for the next iconic walk to take it to $40 million, to make this exciting proposal a reality.

The Tyndall Range was selected for its extraordinary, spectacular and dramatic landscape from 35 public submissions in 2019, with significant public consultation, market testing and assessments indicating that it will be a success.

The feasibility study was conducted by an independent team of economists and market demand specialists, and involved surveys of seasoned walkers, visitors and local business.

Multiple route options were explored with the recommended option being a three day, two night, hut based experience.

Bushwalking is a treasured pastime of many Tasmanians, who will also have the opportunity to enjoy this new experience and the rich natural, geological and heritage experiences that it offers.

With a long history of hydro-power development and geological exploration in the area, the proposed route features a rich mix of heritage, mining endeavour, spectacular landscapes and waterfalls including the Lake Margaret Power Station and its wooden pipelines.

The feasibility study indicates that this walk has the potential to generate 139 jobs during construction and a further 40 jobs ongoing once operational in fields such as tourism and hospitality, support services and transport operations, providing significant economic benefits for the West Coast region.

This project will build on the success of the Overland Track and the Three Capes Track, and enhance our reputation as one of the great walking destinations in Australia, if not the world.

Detailed design work will now commence on planning, hut concept designs and approvals before the project will be assessed through the Reserve Activity Assessment process, and the public given the opportunity to provide feedback.

To view the Feasibility Study and the current proposed route, visit the PWS website at www.parks.tas.gov.au

Supporting the mental health of our first responders

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Supporting the mental health of our first responders

3 September 2021

The Department of Police Fire and Emergency Management’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy has been launched to guide the way we support the mental health and wellbeing of our emergency services workers, volunteers and their families.

We know that emergency services personnel are exposed to challenging incidents including being confronted by situations most of us are never likely to experience and this can impact their mental and physical health.

That’s why it is so important that we support those who keep Tasmanians safe by providing access to both proactive and responsive services to support their wellbeing.

The Strategy will guide the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management for the next five years, and includes supporting our personnel and their families as we know families too are affected by their loved ones wellbeing.

The Strategy’s vision is for positive mental health and wellbeing within the organisation so that people are mentally and physically fit, ready and capable to deliver high quality policing and emergency services for the community.

The latest Tasmanian Budget 2021-22 includes an additional $1.5 million for the Health and Wellbeing of emergency service personnel and volunteers, taking the total funding to $3 million per annum.

This additional funding will allow for additional services, such as psychologists and counselling, and ensure that all our emergency service personnel and volunteers are able to receive the support that they require from the Health and Wellbeing Program.

Continuing to keep Tasmanians safe

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Continuing to keep Tasmanians Safe

1 September 2021

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is investing $348 million over the Forward Estimates to Tasmania Police as part of our strong plan to keep Tasmanians safe.

In responding to the 2021-2022 Tasmanian Budget, Colin Riley, the President of the Police Association of Tasmania stated…“The Budget provides funding for all of the Government’s 2021 election commitments to our members and more.”

“We are very grateful for the care shown for our members which will result in increased service delivery and the safety of the Tasmanian community.”

This Government recognises that our Police do an incredible job in protecting our communities, and undertaking challenging and often confronting situations daily as part of their role.

The 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget includes $9.4 million to commence the recruitment of an additional 50 police officers over the next five years, bringing the total to 308 under this Liberal Government.

The Budget also delivers on our other election commitments, including:

  • $3 million towards the $6.5 million State Control Centre, to assist our police officers and State Servants who are working hard to protect our State from COVID-19;
  • $2.5 million over four years to employ eight additional State Service employees who will support police in roles such as prosecution, cybercrime and digital evidence analysis;
  • $20 million towards a new police station in St Helens and significant upgrades at the Bridgewater Police Station;
  • $3.6 million to construct a southern based SOG facility;
  • $2.4 million over 2 years to extend Tasmania’s electronic monitoring of family violence perpetrators, after the successful trial showed a 76 per cent decrease in high-risk family violence incidents, and a 100 per cent decrease in stalking; and
  • $9.6 million towards completing our $21.7 million program of police housing upgrades, delivering 49 new and renovated houses for police officers and their families stationed in remote and regional areas of Tasmania.

The Budget also invests $5.1 million for an Emergency Mental Health Co-Response Team that will improve the way that our services respond to critical mental health cases, while also investing:

  • $2.8 million to bolster our Large Vessel Replacement Program to deliver a world class replacement for the PV Van Diemen;
  • $13.1 million to get police out of courts in the North West of the State;
  • $100,000 over the next four years to Crime Stoppers to assist in delivering its programs; and a
  • $4 million grants program to allow local communities to purchase and install CCTV cameras.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government will continue to invest in Tasmania Police to ensure it can continue to keep all Tasmanians safe and secure Tasmania’s future.