Environment and community groups representing thousands of Tasmanians are accusing the state government of deception and dishonesty as it enables the Atlantic salmon industry to expand in public waterways.
The decision follows publication of the latest draft salmon industry plan that ignores scores of public submissions expressing concern about salmon industry expansion and its impact on waterways, marine life and coastal communities.
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust, Bob Brown Foundation, Neighbours of Fish Farming, Tasman Peninsula Marine Protection, Killora Association (Bruny Island), Marine Protection Tasmania, and Surfrider Foundation Tasmania have joined forces to announce a boycott of further engagement with fraudulent “public consultations” designed to give legitimacy to a process in which secret undertakings have already been given to the industry.
Government ministers are conspicuously absent from a round of public meetings at which bureaucrats have been forced to defend the draft expansion plans but are unable to adequately address detailed questions and concerns.
The process has proved so dishonest that the groups are no longer willing to lend it credibility by engaging in yet another round of public submissions.
The Premier, Jeremy Rockliff’s demonstrable lack of good faith in the process has also been a trigger for the boycott.
“We are calling on Jeremy Rockliff to meet with us face-to-face to discuss our concerns. We request the same audience with him that the salmon companies were afforded at a recent political fundraiser where the Premier is on record supporting them.”
Last month, Jeremy Rockliff was revealed to have given secret undertakings to multinational salmon company executives at a private Liberal Party fundraiser that he would green-light further expansion in state waters.
In a further example of lack of good faith, January 20 is the closing date for submissions despite an undertaking from Environment Minister, Roger Jaensch, that the process would not be closed off during the Christmas/New Year holiday period. This is the traditional way governments bury unpopular policies and announcements.
Hundreds of ordinary Tasmanians have spent many unpaid hours preparing submissions for the first round of consultations in the belief that their voices and concerns would be heard.
The draft plan is an insult to their efforts and their intelligence.