South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister

letter to bryan green

Dr Frances Daily
October 20, 2005

Hon. Bryan Green
Minister of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources
Hobart, TAS. 7000

Dear Bryan,

As you are undoubtedly aware, Applicants representing Save our Sisters reluctantly withdrew from proceedings before the RMPAT a couple of weeks ago. You may not however be aware of the reason for withdrawal.

The Applicants had the benefit of scientific advice from two internationally reputed landslide experts regarding the likely impacts of harvesting on stability:

Both experts initially considered, on the basis of evidence available to them, that proposed harvesting activities on Coupe NI 114A were 'likely' to cause landslides on and adjacent to the Coupe. They urged Forestry Tasmania to undertake detailed survey work to adequately identify and manage landslide risks within the Coupe.

New evidence was submitted by Forestry Tasmania on 28 September 2005, including survey work and an examination of a 'graben feature' on the site. Despite inaccuracies in the new report, there was sufficient evidence to satisfy Mr Stapledon that drainage on the eastern slope presented a lower risk of instability than he had originally believed. While he maintains that landslide activity in the area is possible (given past instability), he was not able to say that it was 'likely' to occur. He also remains concerned about stability in the southern steep lands, particularly in the area of the mine portal.

Ralph Rallings maintains his initial opinion that there is a real risk of an identified landslide in the eastern part of the coupe being reactivated by the proposed harvesting activities. He also remains concerned about the adequacy of investigations carried out by Forestry Tasmania to assess the risk of landslide activity. I have attached to this letter the reports of Ralph Rallings to illustrate his concerns regarding the impact of harvesting on landslide risk. Mr Rallings would be pleased to discuss the matter with you in more detail if you have any queries.

Therefore, both the experts believe that proposed harvesting on Coupe NI 114A presents a risk of land sliding. However, given David Stapledon's revised assessment of the level of risk, we were ultimately unable to meet the threshold required by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 and withdrew from the appeal.

The applicants remain concerned about damage to groundwater if harvesting proceeds. The Forest Practices Code fails to specifically address groundwater protection or require any detailed surveys of groundwater resources. As we are not in a position to obtain the degree of evidence necessary to show that groundwater will be affected, we were unable to pursue this matter as part of the application.

As you know, this coupe is important to many local residents for various reasons and the value of the South Sister far exceeds the amount Forestry Tasmania or their partners will receive from harvesting the coupe. Given the potential impact to local properties, roads and water supplies in the event that the identified risks eventuate, it is paramount that harvesting does not go ahead as planned. I trust you will take heed of the information provided and I implore you to ask Forestry Tasmania to immediately withdraw the current Forest Practices Plan for Coupe NI 114A.

I look forward to your prompt reply.

Kind regards,


Dr Frances Daily

cc:
Premier Paul Lennon
Ms Judy Jackson Minister of Environment
Mr Rene Hidding Leader Liberal Party, Tasmania and Member Lyons
Ms Peg Putt Leader Greens Tasmania
Mr David Llewellyn, Member Lyons
Mr Michael Polley, Member Lyons
Mr Tim Morris, Member Lyons
Mr Graeme Wilkinson, Chief Forest Practices Officer, Forest Practices Authority
Ms Isobel Stanley, Chair Forest Practices Authority

- We have received a response from the Minister with the perfunctory

'I have recently been in touch with Forestry Tasmania concerning this matter and it has assured me that it has done everything practicable to ensure that there will be no environmental harm caused when harvesting takes place.'

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