Tasmanian Aboriginal land rights stalled on the road to reconciliation, ABC 936 Hobart 28 May 14 This week celebrates the process of reconciliation between Tasmania’s traditional owners of the land and the broader community. While significant land has been returned, and in a recent example purchased, the most recent efforts to transfer two significant sites via an amendment to the Aboriginal Lands Act has stalled with the change of state government earlier this year.
Since then, the process of returning land of special significance to the traditional owners has been a gradual one.
Currently 55,606 hectares of land has been returned to the Aboriginal community, comprising 16 separate areas.
Ten parcels of land were returned in 1995, and since then Parliament has twice approved the transfer of further lands, in 1999 and 2005.
In 2012, the former state government successfully moved to amend the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Act(1995) to include the areas of Rebecca Creek, on Tasmania’s West Coast, andlarapuna*, on the East Coast.
The amendment to the legislation has since stalled in Tasmania’s upper house, the Legislative Council…………
The two sites earmarked for return are on opposite sides of the state.
Rebecca Creek, several kilometres inland from Temma on the West Coast, is the richest Aboriginal stone working area known in Tasmania.
It is a source of spongolite which was used for the production of stone tools, and archaeological evidence shows it was traded by Aboriginals further than any other raw material in Tasmania.
larapuna is located in Tasmania’s North East near Ansons Bay, and now houses the Eddystone Point Lighthouse and lighthouse keeper cottages.
The area was a rich hunting ground for fish, kangaroo and seals while the broader area contains middens, artefact sites and burial grounds.
While there is no part of Tasmania, apart from some outer lying islands, that Tasmanian Aboriginals did not regularly inhabit, the return of especially sensitive lands by successive governments is a recognition the cultural significance of land to the Aboriginal community, and an important step in the process of reconciliation.
The most recent land that has been acquired on behalf of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community was made possible through a combined purchase, rather than a transfer from the state.
Gowan Brae, a property of more than 6,000 hectares in the Central Highlands, was collaboratively purchased by Aboriginal groups, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the Australian Government.
It is the largest parcel of land acquired for Aboriginal people on mainland Tasmania, and contains quarry sites, evidence of long term habitation, and provides an opportunity for Tasmania’s Aboriginal community to reconnect with culturally and environmentally important land.
The Chairman of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania Clyde Mansell described the purchase as a milestone for reconciliation in Tasmania.
The unique collaboration for the purchase means the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania is now the freehold owner of the land, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is the reserve manager and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy will provide ongoing support and assistance to manage the property for its conservation values.
The long legislative road
While the Legislative Council Sessional Committee concluded its public hearings into the amendments late last year, a change in government has halted the process. The Liberal party in opposition supported the amendment’s passage back in 2012, but new legislation will have to be presented before the Legislative Council can again consider it.
Any change to the amendments could mean the process of consultation may have to be taken all over again, with still no guarantee that it will pass in the final vote in the upper house.
Premier Will Hodgman has reiterated his government’s support for the legislation that will complete the handing over of the two land returns………..http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2014/05/28/4014001.htm?site=hobart
Tasmania’s successful renewable energy industry faces loss of investment if Renewable Energy Target is scrapped
Hydro Tasmania warns scrapping Renewable Energy Target will kill off investment http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/hydro-tasmania-warns-scrapping-renewable-energy-target-will-kil/5463404 By Lucy Shannon Australia’s largest renewable energy generator Hydro Tasmania has warned major projects will not go ahead if the Federal Government scraps the Renewable Energy Target Scheme.
The scheme, established by the Howard Government in 2001, aims to have 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020.
The Federal Government is reviewing the RET scheme, as required under legislation. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has faced strong internal pressure to scrap the target from both the Nationals and many Liberals who believe it has pushed up power prices.
Hydro Tasmania, a state-owned business, has made its submission to the review panel. Hydro Chief Stephen Davy says the RET has stimulated $18 billion worth of investment across the country. Mr Davy says if the scheme is scrapped the proposed $2 billion dollar wind farm for Tasmania’s King Island will not go ahead.
“It would almost certainly terminate any further investment in large scale renewable energy projects, and put at risk the long term viability of existing renewable energy assets,” he said.
A second electricity interconnector with Victoria would also be unlikely.
Hydro ‘vital to economy’
The submission points to the “vital and ongoing economic contribution” Hydro makes to Tasmania’s economy. It says more than $60 million was spent with Tasmanian businesses to support the construction of the Musselroe wind farm and more than 200 workers will be employed over the life of the project.
Mr Davy says with the expected abolition of the carbon price the RET is the “only long-term, large scale policy that can drive the uptake of zero-emissions energy sources.”
Last year, Hydro Tasmania announced a record pre-tax profit of $238 million dollars largely on the back of the carbon price which added $70 million to its coffers.
The Greens Senator, Christine Milne says Tasmania should be very fearful of the Government’s review.
“It’s been clear from the start that this is a sham, virtually all the people they’ve got on the review are climate sceptics, they support the old fossil fuel sector and they see renewable energy as competition to the old order,” she said. A spokesman for Greg Hunt says the review’s terms of reference specifically mention sovereign risk as an issue that will be considered by the panel.
There is no fixed date yet for when the report will be delivered.
Economically depressed North Tasmania stands to lose wind farm project if Renewable Energy Target is cut.
Renewable energy fears for wind farm http://www.examiner.com.au/story/2274842/renewable-energy-fears-for-wind-farm/?cs=95 By EMILY BAKER 12 May 14, CUTS to the renewable energy target could affect a wind farm planned for the state’s economically depressed North, the project’s developer says. Low Head Wind Farm founder and director Shane Bartel yesterday said any significant cuts to the target would affect the $60 million wind farm proposed for an area east of Low Head.
Mr Bartel said the project would hire between 30 and 50 contractors in the building phase and employ five to 10 people post- construction.The project was partly driven by the federal target of 20 per cent renewable electricity production by 2020, which is under review.Low Head Wind Farm’s development application has been submitted to the government.”It’s up to the Commonwealth to approve that – we’re still working with them on that,” Mr Bartel said.
“I certainly think (a decision will be made) this month … to date, there have been no serious issues with it.”
The Australian reported on Saturday that Hydro Tasmania – which has power-purchasing agreements for its major Tasmanian wind farms Musselroe and Woolnorth – would suffer financially if there were significant cuts to the renewable energy target.
The state-owned company would not comment on the report leaked to the national newspaper but said ongoing reviews of the target had created uncertainty around wind farm revenues. “Hydro Tasmania did not confirm to The Australian the losses claimed in the story,” a statement from Hydro Tasmania said.
“It is our expectation that a positive outcome from the RET review will in fact make these figures meaningless, and our wind farm investments will be delivering the expected returns.”
Clean Energy Council deputy chief executive Kane Thornton said more than $10 billion of investment in renewable energy would be damaged if the scheme was changed. “Leaving the policy alone would create approximately 18,400 jobs by the end of the decade, additional investment of $15 billion in large-scale renewable energy and lower power bills over the medium term,” he said.
$200m wind farm on west coast passes another hurdle http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-09/24200m-wind-farm-on-west-coast-passes-another-hurdle/5441192 9 May 2014 Up to 200 jobs could be created on Tasmania’s west coast after the approval of a massive wind farm project.
The $200 million Granville Harbour project has passed another hurdle after gaining approval from West Coast Council. The proponent Westcoast Wind wants to build 33 turbines which will link to Reece Dam via an 11 kilometre transmission line. The Environment Protection Authority approved the project last month and handed it back to the council to assess.
West Coast Mayor Robyn Gerrity says it was given the green light at a special council meeting last night. “It’s a great boost for us, more job creation to saddle onto the new mining developments that are happening over the next 12 to 18 months,” she said.
The venture is still looking for investors.Last month, the proponents said they were not confident of finding investors while the Federal Government reviews the Renewable Energy Target.
Tasmania wins from pollution price http://christine-milne.greensmps.org.au/campaigns/tasmania-wins-pollution-price 21 March 14, Since the government made big businesses pay for their greenhouse pollution, Tasmanians have come out ahead because the money raised is used to help low-income earners, and invest in clean energy.
Tasmanians who earned $80,000 or less got a permanent tax cut, and the amount you earn before you pay tax was increased from $6,900 to $18,200.
More than 295,000 Tasmanians had permanent rises in their Age Pension, Disability Pension, Carer Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy payments, special benefits and Family Tax Benefit A and B.
Tasmanian businesses received $13 million in grants to help their energy efficiency, and $14.9 million went to farmers and landcare groups to protect our soil, wildlife and bush from the effects of climate change.
Part of the funding raised by the price on pollution is also being used to fund investment in more clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, including projects in Tasmania. Tasmania produces more renewable energy than any other Australian state. Selling our renewable energy to other states earns about $70 million for Tasmania every year.
This money is used to pay for our hospitals, schools and other important services. Producing renewable energy fits with Tasmania’s clean, green and creative brand which so many businesses rely on.
Invasion, Theft, Rape, Murder: The Aboriginal Holocaust in Tasmania Atlanta Black Star, March 19, 2014 by Runoko Rashid DEDICATED TO TRUGANINI “……..The first people of Tasmania, known as Palawa, were marked by tightly curled hair, with skin complexions ranging from black to reddish-brown. They had broad noses, wide mouths, and deep-set brown eyes. They were relatively short in stature with little body fat. They were the indigenous people of Tasmania and their arrival there began at least 35,000 years ago. With the passage of time, the gradual rising of the sea level submerged the Australian-Tasmanian land bridge and the Black aborigines of Tasmania experienced more than 10,000 years of solitude and physical isolation from the rest of the world……..
As early as 1804 the British began to slaughter, kidnap and enslave the Black people of Tasmania. Continue reading
As Rare as Tassie Tiger: Coalition leader advocates renewable energy REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 5 March 2014 Last weekend was an exciting one for the Australian renewable energy industry: a sighting as rare as the Tasmanian Tiger, an Australian conservative political leader willing to talk out in support of renewables. They were thought to be extinct.
Tasmania’s Liberal leader Will Hodgman, seeking to get elected in a state poll on March 15, told The Australian on the weekend that he would fight Tony Abbott’s attempts to dilute or remove the renewable energy target.
He planned a “strong” push to ensure RET changes did not stymie the state’s key wind and hydro energy sectors.
Naturally, his position was welcomed by the Clean Energy Council, which pointed out that renewables will be a useful hedge against surging gas prices, and the current review is causing uncertainty for investors that want to back major solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro and other projects.
“Mr Hodgman clearly recognises the benefits renewable energy has brought to Tasmania,” CEC CEO David Green said in a statement. “The Apple Isle sources the majority of its power from renewables such as hydro, wind and solar.”
That Hodgman’s position is at odds with his colleagues on the mainland could be explained by the fact that, unlike other states such as Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and Western Australia, Tasmania is not beholden to a powerful domestic fossil fuel industry. It is no accident that the areas with the most progressive renewables policy, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT, are those where the fossil fuel industry is non existent or not powerful………. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/rare-tassie-tiger-coalition-leader-advocates-renewable-energy-28150
the jobs and investment in Tasmania would not have been possible without the Renewable Energy Target, which is supporting the development of new clean energy projects right across Australia.
This year sees yet another review of the RET, with initial signals from Prime Minister Abbott being less than encouraging – a situation that is negatively affecting investment in new major renewable energy projects in Australia.
Tasmania’s Musselroe Wind Farm Opens, Renewable Energy News, 20 Jan 14 Tasmania’s largest wind farm was officially opened on Wednesday by Premier Lara Giddings. The 168-megawatt Musselroe Wind Farm consists of 56 Vestas wind turbines and is joint venture operated by Shenhua Clean Energy and Hydro Tasmania.
According to Hydro Tasmania, the wind farm is generating enough energy to supply the needs of up to 50,000 homes; equivalent to the residential power needs of Burnie and Devonport combined…..Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green -
“The $394 million Musselroe Wind Farm has employed Tasmanians in construction jobs since 2011, and the steel towers for the project were manufactured locally in Launceston,” he said. Continue reading
Cabinet Papers 1986-87: The struggle for indigenous land rights, SMH, Damien Murphy, 28 Dec 13, The Hawke Government continued to grapple with the sensitive issue of indigenous land rights. In March 1986 Aboriginal Affairs Minister Clyde Holding told Cabinet that NSW, Queensland and South Australia had enacted legislation and Victoria was preparing to do so, but that Tasmania and Western Australia rejected the concept of land rights legislation in principle…….
Cabinet again endorsed its 1985 Preferred National Land Rights Model, but agreed to negotiate with Western Australia on non-legislative measures such as community funding and the granting of long leases to Aboriginal reserves.
The Tasmanian and Victorian governments presented the Commonwealth with conflicting challenges. In December 1986 Mr Holding told Cabinet that Tasmania refused to recognise that Aboriginal people had any legitimate claim to land.
……….The government was concerned that the parlous state of the Aboriginal community might become an issue of moral and political embarrassment during the 1988 bicentennial celebrations……….http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cabinet-papers-198687-the-struggle-for-indigenous-land-rights-20131228-3017r.html
Tasmania aims for 100 pc renewable energy use in seven years http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/20024300/tasmania-aims-for-100-pc-renewable-energy-use-in-seven-years/ BY LUCY SHANNON -November 26, 2013 The Tasmanian Government has released a climate change strategy aimed at 100 percent renewable power usage by 2020.
The Climate Smart Tasmania plan includes energy reduction targets across government, land use, infrastructure, transport and waste systems. The Climate Change Minister, Cassy O’Connor, says its the most comprehensive plan by any Australian Government to reduce carbon emissions as well as adapt to a changing climate.
The strategy sets a new interim 2020 target to reduce carbon emissions to 35 percent below 1990 levels. Ms O’Connor says its about showing leadership on climate change. “We now have in Australia a climate denialist Government that is taking us backwards on climate change” she said.
“Tasmania here has extraordinary advantages with our Hydro power, with the carbon in our forests and we do need to show leadership; it’s also the economically sensible thing to do.”
Renewables completely supply Tasmania’s electricity https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/news/renewables-completely-supplies-tasmania-s-electricity According to the latest Carbon Emissions Index (Cedex) released by pitt&sherry, Tasmania’s electricity is now virtually 100% provided from renewable sources.
Prior to July, hydro was already producing the majority of the state’s electricity at about 11TWh, followed by gas and wind, both around 1TWh. However, the state’s major gas fired generator – the Tamar Valley Power Station – was shut down for an indefinite period in July. Hydro output is now at its highest ever annual level and wind is growing, while gas output has fallen essentially to zero.
Dr Hugh Saddler, principal consultant, energy strategies at pitt&sherry said: “There are striking changes in Tasmanian generation. Prior to the commissioning of BassLink in 2005, hydro output was constrained to the level of demand within the state. While energy regularly flows in both directions across BassLink, the net flow is now strongly from Tasmania to Victoria.”
In addition, there is evidence the impact of higher wholesale gas prices, triggered by the linkage of eastern Australia gas markets to international prices through the LNG export projects in Queensland, is beginning to be felt in the national electricity market. The decline in gas fired generation appears to be accelerating throughout Australia, Saddler added, and is particularly marked in South Australia and Tasmania.
As has been the case for some months, all growth in the national energy market generation came from hydro, wind and other renewables; their combined share of total energy send out generation was over 17% in October, and for the year to October was approaching 14%.
The report is a monthly benchmark for Australia’s carbon emissions from the energy sectors based on electricity, petroleum and natural gas data. The report is available here.
Anti wind farm group’s ‘sprawling and inarticulate’ tactics to try to delay King Island wind project
Judge labels King Island wind farm legal challenge ‘sprawling and inarticulate’ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-01/king-island-wind-farm-legal-challenge-too-27sprawling27/5063722 1 Nov 2013 A legal challenge against Hydro Tasmania’s King Island wind farm proposal has been described as “sprawling” and liable to create additional costs.
The No TasWind Farm group has appeared in the Federal Court in a bid to stop Hydro proceeding with its $2 billion project. Lawyers representing the group say Hydro did not have broad community support for the wind farm and it should not proceed.
Justice Duncan Kerr described the application as massively sprawling, inarticulate and likely to result in significant costs to Hydro Tasmania, without concluding anything. He has ordered the two parties to meet and narrow down the claim before returning to court later this month. Hydro wants to build 200-turbines on the island, creating the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.
It said the project would not proceed to the feasibility study without the backing of most of the residents. The survey in June found just under 59 per cent support, which Hydro described as sufficient. The close vote prompted the opponents to launch a legal challenge to stop the project. In a statement,
Hydro says a decision on the project’s future will only be made after a feasibility study. Several studies are underway looking at whether the TasWind project is commercially and technically feasible. Hydro says the court challenge will not affect the timing of this phase.
Greens lose vote to introduce a moratorium on fracking MATT SMITH MERCURY AUGUST 29, 2013THE Tasmanian Greens’ push for a moratorium on the mining practice of fracking has been voted down by Labor and the Liberals. Greens MP Tim Morris said his party would continue to work with concerned landowners, businesses and communities to protect the best interests of Tasmania’s environmental and economic future…… HTTP://WWW.THEMERCURY.COM.AU/NEWS/TASMANIA/GREENS-LOSE-VOTE-TO-INTRODUCE-A-MORATORIUM-ON-FRACKING/STORY-FNJ4F7K1-1226706169520
New Building Codes Threaten Tasmania’s Solar Industry http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3883 12 Aug 13 Additional and pointless red tape threatens the solar industry in Tasmania say the Greens. The Tasmanian Greens have called for the Minister for Workplace Standards to review proposed new building codes for solar installations that it says would increase the cost of installing solar – and ultimately lead to job losses in the industry.
Greens Energy Spokesperson Kim Booth MP says the proposed new regulations will see Councils requiring planning fees and an accredited builder to install a solar panel system – even though solar installations are already required to be engineered, installed and inspected according to Australian Standards.
The additional costs could add 25% – 100% on to the contracted value of solar installation.
Mr. Booth says the industry is concerned only accredited builders will be legally permitted to perform installs, while suitably accredited solar installation experts are “driven off the site.”
“Ultimately, pointless red tape drives the price up for consumers and potentially drives companies out of business, something that the Property Council and the HIA should reflect on given their role in wrapping the building industry up in worthless over regulation.” The solar industry in Tasmania is facing a number challenges; including an uncertain future for the state’s feed in tariff. However, for households that install solar power systems before January 1, 2014, Tasmania’s government has proposed to keep the state’s 1:1 feed in tariff in place until 2017 – making the best time to go solar in Tasmania likely right now.
According to solar solutions provider Energy Matters, a good quality 3kW solar panel system installed in the Apple Isle can return a financial benefit of approximately $890 a year.
More than 12,500 households in Tasmania have already installed solar PV systems. In doing so, these households have not only slashed their own power bills, but have also generated employment, diversified electricity generation and allowed increased export of the state’s hydropower to mainland states; providing additional revenue for Tasmania.
Federal funds secure Tasmanian Aboriginal rangers to care for land http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-09/federal-funds-secure-tasmanian-aboriginal-rangers/4875112?section=tas Aug 9, 2013 The Federal Government has allocated almost one million dollars funding for Tasmanian indigenous rangers.
The $980,000 would be provided over three years to the Environment Department to help traditional custodians care for their land.
The money comes from an existing program. The Federal Environment Minister, Mark Butler, says the new Aboriginal Cultural Landscape Rangers would hit the ground next year.
“To ensure that there are indigenous employment opportunities connected to those values but also that there is the maximum opportunity possible to have those values explained to the broader Australian opportunity,” he said.