Media Releases - 13 August 2018

Swift parrot the loser with Tassal’s east coast gill disease dam

  • Over 21 ha of swift parrot habitat destroyed to build Tassal’s east coast dam
  • Offsets demonstrate federal laws won’t actually save swift parrot habitat
  • Public comment closes Wednesday 15 August

A proposed dam that would supply fresh water to treat gill disease in Tassal’s controversial Okehamption Bay fish farm will destroy critical habitat for the swift parrot, acknowledged by the proponent and experts as a "significant impact" under federal law.

In a response that is currently acceptable under those laws, the proponent (Glamorgan Spring Bay Council) proposes to ‘offset’ the loss, ‘protecting’ similar habitat elsewhere. This would leave a net loss of actual habitat available to the parrot of 21+ hectares at a time when expert advice to the Council is that "all remaining habitat must be seen as critical habitat of the species (and) must be protected for future use".

“This assessment confirms that a new dam proposed to supply water to numerous controversial east coast developments, including Tassal, would permanently destroy a significant patch of habitat for the embattled and critically endangered swift parrot,” said Vica Bayley.

“To somehow account for this and make it right, another patch of habitat would be identified and ‘offset’, leaving the parrot worse off and sliding ever closer to extinction.

“Swift parrots need standing habitat of specific flowering gums and hollow-bearing nest trees, and this proposal would rob them at a time they can least afford it.

“Protecting another patch of habitat that is not threatened and should already be protected, in lieu of destroying habitat confirmed as critically important, is a deeply flawed strategy that is enshrined in federal environment laws. This is an excuse to develop, not a sound conservation strategy and highlights another flaw in Australia’s approach to environmental protection."

The ‘Prosser Plains Raw Sewage Scheme’ is being assessed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, after being designated a ‘controlled action’, because of its impact on the swift parrot and other species. Documentation prepared by the proponent is available for public comment until Wed 15 August.

“The survival of the swift parrot should be the priority of all governments and it seems this assessment will be a real test of their priorities.

“The swifty can’t afford the loss of important habitat; excuses and offsets won’t help its survival and this dam proposal should be withdrawn or rejected by the Federal Minister.”