Rockliff Liberal Government position clear: new decision on Macquarie Harbour salmon not needed

Roger Jaensch, Minister for Environment and Climate Change

The Rockliff Liberal Government has made its submission into the Albanese Government’s public consultation process relating to requests to reconsider a 2012 decision to allow marine farming expansion in Macquarie Harbour.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek is currently the decision maker on whether to allow the salmon industry to continue in the harbour.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Roger Jaensch, said the Rockliff Liberal Government’s position is absolutely clear – the requests to reconsider the 2012 decision have no sound basis, and no change to the original decision is required.

“There is no new substantial information since the original decision was made, and no change in circumstances that were not foreseen at the time of the first decision,” Minister Jaensch said.

“Our submission clearly demonstrates that current actions to manage, monitor and regulate marine farming activities in Macquarie Harbour are effective.

“Since the 2012 decision, regulation of marine farming in has been continuously evolving and a range of measures are in place and underway to protect the environmental values and the ecological character of Macquarie Harbour, including the endangered Maugean skate.”

These measures have included:

  • Restrictions on the biomass of salmon and nitrogen (in fish feed) inputs to the harbour;
  • Restrictions on recreational and commercial gillnetting in the harbour;
  • New environmental standards for marine finfish farming;
  • Industry and research investment in remediation of dissolved oxygen levels in the harbour;
  • A new Conservation Action Plan for the Maugean skate; and
  • Investing $2.1 million in to a captive breeding program in partnership with the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

Minister Jaensch called on the Federal Environment Minister to consider the evidence of the Tasmanian Government’s submission in a timely manner and provide certainty to the industry, and the West Coast community, as soon as possible.

“Our position is clear, there is now a comprehensive Conservation Action Plan being implemented to ensure the survival of the Maugean skate, and a comprehensive environmental management framework which is ensuring sustainable salmon farming operations in the harbour,” Minister Jaensch said.

“In November last year, Minister Plibersek wrote to us saying she would support a way forward for sustainable salmon industry in the harbour.

“Our submission shows how that is being achieved, right now and into the future, and we encourage Minister Plibersek to consider the evidence and support the current management approach.

“The alternative would have devastating ramifications for Tasmania’s salmon industry and flow-on effects for the broader West Coast community, including local schools and health services.

“Importantly, it would also set a chilling sovereign risk precedent for all other resource-based industries across regional and rural Australia which rely on past federal environmental decisions for their licence to operate and may now be open to retrospective reviews.”

The Rockliff Liberal Government will continue its long-term plan to deliver on the things that matter to Tasmanians and their families, like standing up for our sustainable primary industries as well as the unique natural environments in which they operate – not sacrificing either for the sake of the other.

A copy of the Tasmanian Government’s submission to can be found here:

/Public Release. View in full here.