WRAP - No prison in Westbury

Drilling at prison site putting rare eagles at risk: Greens

By James Kitto
The Mercury
16 October 2020

Concerns raised over assessment process for prison site's drilling and the impact it will have on eagles

Drilling that was set to commence this week on the proposed northern prison site should never have been signed off by the state government because of the impact it will have on an endangered species, the Greens say.

Greens Environment spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff said the State Government was forced to halt the planned drilling at the Westbury Crown land site following advice that federal environmental protections could apply.

She said it was critical "we do everything possible" to help maintain the survival rate of Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles.

When asked in state parliament yesterday what assessments were undertaken before drilling works were approved, Parks and Environment Minister Roger Jaensch said "the authority was granted based on advice provided by the independent environmental consultant and included the consideration of potential impacts to threatened species".

"It will be up to the Department of Justice, as the proponent, to ensure they comply with any requirements relating to threatened species at the site," he said.

"They will be required to obtain any threatened species and other permits in accordance with state legislation and approvals under the EPBC act, if so required."

Westbury Residents Against the Prison president Linda Poulton said greater assessments on the impacts of drilling on eagles "should have been done before the drilling was even contemplated".

"We have repeatedly warned the state government that they need to be 100 per cent certain that there is zero impact on wedge-tailed eagles when undertaking any activity on this site," she said.

"Unfortunately, it has taken Commonwealth intervention to ensure a more robust process."


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