Feature Article - Tasmanian State of Environment report
Feature article published in the Tasmanian Year Book, 1996 (cat. no. 1301.6)
The Sustainable Development Advisory Council (SDAC) was created under the State Policies and Projects Act 1993. Under the Act, SDAC became Tasmania’s principal body responsible for sustainable development policies, projects of State significance, and State of Environment (SoE) reporting. It is a distinct body of the State Government, though for practical and administrative purposes SDAC shares resources from time to time with the Department of Environment and Land Management.
Preparation of the Report commenced in mid-1994. Publication is planned for the first half of 1996 and will be the first to be produced under the auspices of the Tasmanian Government. Further SoE Reports are planned at approximately five-yearly intervals.
Other Australian SoE reports have been published in the ACT (1994), NSW (1993), South Australia (1993), Western Australia (1992), and Victoria (1991).
The Tasmanian SoE Report will contain three parts. In Part 1, there will be chapters on:
- inland waters (surface waters and groundwater);
- biological diversity and habitat;
In Part 2, environmental impacts, pressures and management responses will be considered.
Finally, in Part 3, appropriate actions, based on sustainability criteria, will be recommended.
The following principles have been adopted for the Tasmanian SoE Report:
- coastal, estuarine and marine environment; and
- rigour-the best available scientific information, methods and advice will be used;
- objectivity-information is to be presented without bias or modification;
- cooperation-partnerships will be encouraged to facilitate the sharing of information, expertise and resources;
- openness-the most relevant and up-to-date information about the environment will be used;
- sustainability-the principles of sustainable development will underpin relevant parts of the SoE Report;
- precautionary principle-that if there is insufficient information to indicate that a process or development is not harmful, then the process or development ought to not to occur;
- maintenance of biological diversity; and
Reference groups, responsible for drafting specialised information on topics in Part 1, were constituted in 1994. They have been noteworthy for the diversity of the background and experience of their members. Some are from Tasmanian Government agencies (including Environment and Land Management, and Primary Industry and Fisheries); others are from the University of Tasmania, industry, and private environmental consultancies.
SDAC hopes that the Tasmanian SoE Report will become an authoritative reference tool for students, environmental practitioners, community groups, parliaments, industry, government departments, and the general community in the years ahead.
- meeting client needs-identifying and responding to the information required.