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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

19 September 2003

Approval of Meander Dam with Conditions

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced the environmental approval of the Meander Dam, on the condition that the Tasmanian Government takes full legal responsibility for carrying out strict environmental conditions that have been imposed.

"The proposal to build Meander Dam required my approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 due to potentially significant impacts on two nationally threatened species - the endangered plant, Epacris exserta and the vulnerable Spotted-tail Quoll," Dr Kemp said.

"I have taken this decision after a full open and transparent public review process and commissioned independent analysis of the economic viability of the proposal. I have also given consideration to the submission brought forward by the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. I am confident I have based my decision on the best possible scientific and professional advice in relation to the environmental sustainability and the economic viability of the Meander Dam proposal.

"My approval is given subject to stringent requirements that will protect the threatened species. I have insisted that the Tasmanian Government take legal responsibility for these requirements, to ensure the compliance of the dam operator, private landholders and state agencies such as the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, and Forestry Tasmania.

"In relation to the endangered plant, Epacris, the Tasmanian Government will be required to actively protect its habitat not only along the Meander river but also the Mersey river and Lobster rivulet. I am requiring the Government to take action to control disease and livestock, to minimise disturbance in forests and private lands, to embark on fencing and weed control programs, and to collect seed and propagate plants to conserve the plant's genetic diversity.

"In relation to the quoll, the Tasmanian Government will be required to set aside as much land as is flooded to maintain quoll habitat and provide a corridor to link populations. For example, they must reserve 152 hectares as a wildlife habitat strip around the dam, set aside 115 hectares of State Forest in a special management zone adjacent to the dam, and rehabilitate 137 hectares of farmland. The Tasmanian Government must also implement their commitment to a community education program to mitigate the destruction of quolls.

"The Tasmanian Government will be required to undertake regular monitoring of the impacts of the proposal on the listed threatened species, and also submit independent audits to verify compliance with the approval conditions and effectiveness of the mitigation measures. If the results show that an enhanced level of protection is needed, then the Tasmanian Government must revise the plans.

"I am confident my decision will provide a healthier and more secure future for the Spotted-tail Quoll and the Epacris exserta than at the present time by providing long term protection for the populations across their range."

A copy of the approval and conditions can be viewed on the Department of the Environment and Heritage website at

Media Backgrounder

Meander Dam: the Environmental Impact Assessment Process

Commonwealth of Australia