Letters to the editor | April 16, 2017

Peter McGlone shares his views on water and sewerage in Tasmania.
Peter McGlone shares his views on water and sewerage in Tasmania.

Water and Sewerage

GOVERNMENT’S claims regarding water and sewerage are exaggerated. On March 7, 2017 the state government announced it would take over Taswater, claiming that there was a crisis in water and sewerage that justified its action.

The government is being misleading with its claim that Tasmania has third world standards of water and sewerage. 

The only analysis that I can find, that might justify the government's claims regarding low standards, is a 7 page fact sheet released on February 18, 2017, 'Tasmania's Water and Sewerage: the facts'. Curiously, I can only find this document on The Examiner's web site.

In regard to sewer overflows, to cite just one example, the documents says the we have a record seven times worse than the mainland. But the document refers to sewer overflows only up until end of June 2015. What happened since? Overflows are expressed as a rate per 100 kilometres. 

Tasmania has a much more decentralised system with a greater length of sewer pipes in relation to population than the mainland states. You would expect a higher rate of spills. There was no statement about the quantity of spills or the impact of them. Smaller systems in Tasmania could be expected to result in smaller spills than on the mainland.

Peter McGlone, Director, Tasmanian Conservation Trust Inc.

Dune retreat

I NOTICE residents at Lewisham expressing their concerns about dune retreat. I acknowledge anecdotes and individual observations are not the same as good science but my observation on Hope Beach, South Arm Beach, Howrah Beach and Seven Mile Beach in recent times left me with an impression that compared to my childhood memories, the dunes on all these beaches were receding too.

Perhaps that explains where all the sand that apparently turned up on the isthmus at Bruny Island, came from. But seriously, a study (University of Tasmania) in 2014 revealed that the overall trend was for shoreline recession except where hard geology prevented erosion and interestingly, where steps had been taken to reduce erosion.

The very significant shoreline growth on two beaches on Bruny Island, quoted by climate change skeptics, appears to be associated with the introduction of Marram grass. The scientific experiment to stabilise dunes with an introduced plant species seems to have provided dividends. So, science again reveals more than do possibly ideologically biased reports, like mine and others.

M. Fyfe, Riverside.

Aboriginal relics art

THE proposed changes to the Aboriginal Relics Act to increase penalties for damage to Aboriginal heritage is welcome. There are a few suggestions that we would make that could also assist in this process. Firstly that Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania, which is the government agency responsible for protection of Aboriginal heritage, requires a serious overhaul.

One of Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania's functions is to advise developers and councils of the probability of Aboriginal relics/heritage being present as part of the development application process.

On a number of times in recent years in the Break O’ Day municipality Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania has given advice that there was a low probability of Aboriginal heritage being present when there was clearly a high likelihood (that is coastal areas close to marine resources and freshwater).

In addition we would also recommend that an audit of Aboriginal heritage officers and consultants carrying out surveys for Aboriginal heritage values be implemented to ensure that the community can be assured that all Aboriginal heritage values are being identified and properly protected.

Todd Dudley, president North-East Bioregional Netywork Inc.