Dam plan to let approvals flow free
Tasmania’s Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff has unveiled new measures aimed at simplifying and streamlining approval processes for farm dams.
The Minister has tabled the Water Management Amendment Bill 2015 in Parliament, saying farmers need a more efficient way of obtaining a works permit for dams to improve certainty and cost.
He says the Water Management Amendment Bill 2015 will let farmers seeking permits for low risk dams save around $800 in application fees from the 25 per cent reduction in red tape.
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association have welcomed the proposed changes, but the Greens do not.
Greens spokesperson Nick McKim said the changes were an "outrageous" overreach by the State Government, which he says has no mandate for such deregulation.
“This is an absolute attack on Tasmania's ecology and it will be to the detriment of not only threatened species, but also of farmers who are downstream in catchments,” Mr McKim said.
But the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief Peter Skillern said the Greens “should read the new amendments”.
“The main thing with deregulation is to maintain the safety and environmental standards that exist now and we're reassured by the Government that will happen,” he said.
“This is about the Government deregulating and making the environment that much easier to actually go through the process than what's previously been the case.”
The new amendments include measures to:
- Provide a simpler pathway for obtaining permits for low risk dams.
- Better define the nature and scope of dam works permits.
- Specify criteria under which dam works permit applications must be approved and the matters to be considered.
- Simplify the timeframes for decisions on the permit applications.
- Provide for conditional approval of permit applications in some circumstances.
- Add the requirement for an annual review and report on the dam works approval process.