Four Wheel-Drive Tracks remain closed
See: APPEAL DETAILS
March 1st 2016.
Federal Court decision prevents 4WD access to three tracks south of Sandy Cape, in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area, and in the coastal strip declared as National Heritage, under the name ‘Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape (WTACL).
Full Judgement Here (Word doc in top left of webpage):
and Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) Summary:
7AD – Tasmania Talks
1 March 2016
Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area
The Liberal Government respects the legal process in relation to re-opening tracks closed by the previous Labor-Green government in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area.
The Government notes the decision issued today by the Federal Court is very detailed and the Government will therefore give it careful consideration.
The Government remains committed to striking the right balance that provides access for traditional recreational activities such as four-wheel driving whilst at the same time ensuring we protect its significant Aboriginal heritage values.
The Mercury, 8 March 2016:
Mercury, 9 March 2016:
Talking Point, Heather Sculthorpe TAC CEO: Protecting ancient heritage
Government appeals decision.
On the last day possible, the State government declared their intention to appeal.
On 22 March 2016, the Tasmanian Government filed an appeal against the Federal Court’s decision. The appeal claims that Justice Mortimer erred in:
- Finding that the series of activities required to open the tracks was a ‘controlled action’
- Finding that the declaration of the tracks was not a ‘governmental authorisation’ (and, therefore, not an ‘action’);
- Her interpretation of the scope of values protected by the National Heritage listing
The appeal is expected to take 9-12 months to be resolved.
Adam Brooks: Government to appeal 4WD tracks decision
22 March 2016:
23 March 2016:
29 April 2016.
The Federal Court has granted leave to the federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, to intervene in the appeal against the judgement.
This allows the federal Minister to make submissions, and in doing so technically ‘assisting the court’. They are not likely to duplicate the arguments made by the state government, nor argue the details of what damage the use of tracks would cause or what heritage values are present. Their input will more likely focus on the potential consequences that would flow from Judge Mortimer’s interpretation of:
- National Heritage values,
- ‘indigenous values’ and
- the government authorisation exemption from declaring a ‘controlled action’
under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC).
Submissions will be made and the TAC will be able to review them before a hearing, which has not yet been set, nor have the three judges been named.