The State of Tasmania's Freshwater
Action for Climate: How can lutruwita/Tasmania be a real leader?
Towards a sustainable marine management: An update on Tasmanian progress

30th September 2020

Eloise Carr and Leanne Minshull, on behalf of the Australia Institute and the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, released a report on Tasmania's marine management.

Our little island provides a home for diverse marine ecosystems, supports regional economies, holds cultural significance for First Nations communities and provides recreation for hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors.

Tasmania’s coastal waters have high biodiversity and endemism but are in a state of decline and increasing pressure from climate change, fishing and aquaculture operations, agricultural run-off, urban development, and population growth. Where problems have been identified, there is often no recovery or threat abatement plan.

Despite the environmental, economic and cultural significance of Tasmania’s coastal waters, it has been over a decade since the last integrated assessment of their health by resource managers. Legislative and regulatory frameworks that manage their use operate in isolation and need to be modernised and integrated. Only 1.1% of Tasmania’s marine waters are fully protected.

This report recommends:

  1. An integrated, ecosystem-based approach to managing our marine estate.
  2. Establishing multi-disciplinary ecosystem condition assessments and reporting.
  3. Establishing comprehensive, adequate and representative marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve the region’s high global values, consistent with integrated ocean management.
  4. An independent review of Tasmania’s marine legislation and regulatory framework.
  5. Adequate resourcing for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service to co-manage MPAs with First Nations Tasmanians, in collaboration with scientists, and stakeholders.

11th August 2021

Christine Coughanowr, on behalf of the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, has prepared a report on the state of Tasmania's rivers.

Tasmania’s freshwater resources can no longer be considered to be healthy and abundant. DPIPWE’s River Health Monitoring Program reviews in 2018 and 2020 record that over 40% of sites monitored are classified as significantly or severely impaired or impoverished. 70% of core sites had declined over the final five years of the review.

The reduction in systematic and coordinated monitoring across lutruwita/Tasmania, together with a near absence of reporting, makes the extent and severity of this decline difficult to grasp. Even the reporting that has been done may not reflect worst case scenarios, due to methods used and the sites monitored. 

The decline in river condition is made even more worrying by the poor information about existing water use, together with ambitious industry growth targets across agriculture, aquaculture, renewable energy, mining and tourism.

The report reccomends:

  1. The Tasmanian Government must maintain their commitment to modernise and undertake a long-overdue State of Environment Report for Tasmania, including a detailed Freshwater Systems technical report.
  2. A review and reassessment of the environmental flows are needed to sustain Tasmanian rivers both now and into the future.
  3. Improved protection and management of riparian zones and wetlands are necessary.
  4. An improved state-wide monitoring program which identifies and incorporates exiting programs into a comprehensive and cost-effective framework must be established.


3 November 2021

This paper, jointly released by the Tasmanian Independent Science Council and Climate Tasmania, reccomends that a Tasmanian Climate Change Act that drives rapid action on emissions reduction and demonstrates leadership on climate action should include:

● A level of ambition in emissions reduction in all sectors that genuinely sets lutruwita/Tasmania on a path to being a global leader in climate action.

● Sectoral (e.g. transport, agriculture) and fuel specific (e.g. oil products, gas, coal) interim targets with dates.

● Explicit targets and mechanisms for phasing out use of fossil fuels.

● Provision and funding for an independent body to provide ongoing specialist advice to the Tasmanian government, Parliament, and the community.

● Establishment of a capability within Tasmania to collect, report and make public information on emissions sources by both fuel type and sector.

● Explicit mechanisms to ensure public participation and parliamentary oversight in the development of climate actions.

● A requirement to produce five-yearly state-wide climate risk assessments as recommended in the Jacobs Final Report.

REPORTSThe Tasmanian Independent Science Council publishes reports which seek to inform the policy surrounding our environment. 


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