Tuesday was report card day for the Tamar and there were mixed marks.
The not-at-all good news was the release of the Tamar and Esk Rivers program 2022 Tamar Estuary report card, in which the Launceston to Legana Zone (Zone 1) was still rated as “D” for poor ecosystem, after 14 years. The 2022 Report card has been produced using 12 months of kanamaluka/Tamar estuary ambient monitoring data, collected between December 2020 and November 2021, at 16 sites along the length of the estuary. The poor ecosystem rating is mostly driven by high levels of nutrients and elevated turbidity (cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by large number of individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye).
In good news, it was announced that Nick Duigan MLC has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary for the Tamar Estuary. As passionate advocates for the Tamar, we welcome the announcement of a parliamentary secretary to report directly to the Minister for State Development, Construction and Housing and hope that the establishment of this position sees a number of areas addressed to improve the environmental, social and economic aspects of the estuary. The Chamber is in support of the TEMT vision for the Tamar and we hope that with Nick Duigan’s appointment we will see the plan implemented at a much faster pace than that of the Launceston Sewerage Improvement Program (LSIP), which was announced in 2016, yet we understand work is not planned to commence until 2025.
We strongly believe that if the health of the Tamar, particularly at Zone 1 is to improve, we need to see actions out of LSIP and overall better management of the Tamar. Our preference is for strong collaboration with river users, all levels of government, industry, agricultural producers and TasWater. We believe it’s time for integrated catchment management through a statutory authority.
We need to ensure the health of the river is improved, we need to make the river accessible to the public, we need to see the businesses that sit along the shore are thriving and most of all we need to see this now, not in another decade.