Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Tarkine Forest Drive project to go ahead

Media release
27 March 2013

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke today approved the upgrade of existing roads in north west Tasmania for the Tarkine Forest Drive project, subject to 24 strict conditions.

Mr Burke said with the conditions in place he is satisfied the development can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on matters of national environmental significance.

“This is a significantly different pathway to earlier proposals from the Tasmanian Government which involved land clearing in areas where there was currently no road,” Mr Burke said.

Following a rigorous assessment process, key measures to mitigate against environmental impacts include:

A suite of infrastructure and traffic mitigation measures to minimise fauna deaths

Pre-construction surveys to protect breeding fauna in areas to be disturbed, and

A three stage adaptive management plan with specified trigger levels.

“The Tasmanian Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources will ensure that the upgraded road is fauna friendly and has appropriately posted speed limits. 

“Additionally, at least 21 kilometres of road will have a light coloured surface so that drivers can clearly see animals in the distance and rumble strips will sound alerts to warn animals of approaching vehicles in defined high risk areas.

“New infrastructure including table drains will minimise vegetation growth to reduce the attractiveness of road verges to fauna.

“Other measures will include limiting construction to daylight hours, imposing a 60 kilometre per hour speed limit for any construction vehicles travelling outside these hours and ensuring that all works cease within 50 metres of an identified active Tasmanian devil den.

“To deal with any uncertainties, I have required a comprehensive monitoring program, which will use clearly defined trigger points to escalate the  adaptive management plan with higher and higher level protective mechanisms put in place should environmental impacts increase.

“I have also required that the proponent donate $110,000 to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, put in place additional traffic mitigation measures in areas not impacted by the proposal and have set contingency contributions in the event of higher than anticipated traffic related fauna deaths.

“The proponent will also develop a Tarkine region rehabilitation plan to restore legacy environmental issues in the region - for example to rehabilitate quarries and gravel pits that were previously used in road construction.

“I am confident that these measures will minimise the impacts of the project on matters of national environmental significance.”

Further information is available at www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?name=current_referral_detail&proposal_id=6210 

ENDS