The Hodgman Liberal Government will make a number of changes to the current regulatory framework to grow Tasmania’s world class sustainable salmon farming sector to a $1 billion industry by 2030.
Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Mr Jeremy Rockliff said ensuring industry regulations keep pace with industry expansion was key to achieving that goal.
According to the Minister, the changes will see the Independent Environment Protection Agency (EPA) become responsible for all environment controls and day-to-day environmental management, further strengthening how the industry is managed. Currently, these functions are undertaken by DPIPWE.
“The move brings together the environmental management and regulation of all salmon farms and hatcheries, both in marine and inland waters, under a single, independent authority,” the Minister said.
“The changes are straightforward and will be implemented in a staged approach with legislative amendments and gradual transfers of authority starting from July 1, 2016. Under the changes, marine farm planning and development functions will still remain with DPIPWE.”
He said the Tasmanian Government will also propose amendments to the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995 for a new penalty regime.
“The Tasmanian Government will shortly introduce to Parliament proposed amendments to the Act for a new penalty regime that is a strong deterrent,” Mr Rockliff said.
“Currently the maximum possible fine for a serious breach of management controls is $30,800. The proposed new regime would include an additional penalty that is calculated proportionate to the financial advantage obtained. These amendments would also see demerit points reintroduced for Infringement Notices, which for serial breaches could ultimately see a marine farming licence revoked.”
According to the Minister, the Tasmanian Government will also consult with industry over the introduction of a new levy on salmon farming licences.
“The levy is intended to raise approximately $1.5 million over the forward estimates to help directly fund the assessment of industry proposals, tactical research and scientific projects specifically focused on expanding industry production. This is on top of the considerable economic contribution the industry already makes to the Tasmanian community each year, including over $1.1 million in annual licence and lease fees,” Mr Rockliff explained.
“The employment and wealth generated directly and indirectly by our salmon industry is substantial. The changes are further evidence of the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to support sustainable, responsible and accountable growth of the industry well into the future.”