Media Releases - 31 October 2018

New Glamorgan Spring Bay Council should withdraw destructive Tassal dam proposal

With polling closed and early counting confirming a new Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor and revamped council, the Wilderness Society today called on the new Council to reconsider its proposal to build an antiquated in-stream dam that would permanently destroy known foraging and nesting habitat of the critically-endangered swift parrot.  

The dam would supply fresh water to treat gill disease in fish at Tassal’s controversial Okehampton Bay fish farm and irrigate fairways at a second Orford golf course. 

The dam proposal has been referred by the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council (GSBC) to the Federal Government for assessment under federal environment laws.  

“The Council itself acknowledges the damage this dam will do to swift parrot habitat and expert advice accompanying the proposal recommends against approval because the parrot cannot afford any further habitat loss,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. 

“A new broom has swept through the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council creating an opportunity to rethink this destructive proposal and for a local Council to lead the way on habitat protection for an iconic species like the swift parrot. 

"Earlier this month, the GSBC submitted its final documentation for assessment under federal law, following community consultation. Despite widespread concerns over a range of issues, especially the impact on swift parrot habitat, only one minor technical change was made to the proposal documentation. Advice from a number of experts, including Bird Life Tasmania, accompanying the referral, states that "all remaining habitat must be seen as critical habitat of the species (and) must be protected for future use".    

"The survival of the swift parrot should be the priority of all governments and this dam proposal is a real test of a new Council’s priorities and integrity. The Glamorgan Spring Bay Council should withdraw this proposal, to protect parrot habitat and focus on the real role of a local council. It is absurd that a local council should borrow millions of dollars to be the proponent of a destructive infrastructure project for private companies’ benefit."