Tasmanian Regional Sustainability Planning

The Australian Government is working collaboratively with Tasmania to facilitate and support sustainable tourism, with a focus on areas reserved for their conservation and wilderness values. This includes the acquisition of research to inform planning decisions and a grant to local government to build capacity to facilitate tourism activities and protect environmental matters.

Sustainable Regional Development program

The Australian Government has invested $29.2 million into the Sustainable Regional Development program to secure a sustainable future for Australia's high growth areas. The challenge is to help regional centres achieve their economic and social potential while safeguarding their environmental assets. Tasmania is one of several areas selected for this program. Other areas already benefitting from the program are the Lower Hunter region in New South Wales, Perth and Peel regions in Western Australia, Upper Spencer Gulf region in South Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

 Binalong Bay, Tasmania

Binalong Bay, Tasmania
Photographer: Dianne Blair

About the Tasmanian Region

The tourism industry is a key driver of the Tasmanian economy. Opportunity exists to expand the capacity of the tourism industry to deliver high quality experiences within one of the country’s most beautiful natural landscapes. The sustainable regional development approach would enable this industry growth to occur in a sustainable manner, taking account of social, economic and environmental values.

Tasmania has a high density of matters of national environmental significance, including three World Heritage sites, thirteen national heritage listed places, 191 threatened species and ecological communities (of which 122 are endemic) and migratory species.

What does regional sustainability planning in Tasmania involve?

Regional sustainability planning in Tasmania will promote and inform environmental, social and economic sustainability within the region. The Tasmania regional sustainability planning is comprised of a local government grant and a targeted research project investigating community attitudes to nature-based tourism in Tasmania.

Local government grant

A grant of $400 000 has been provided to the Break O’Day Council to assist with regional sustainability planning on Tasmania’s east coast. The regional sustainability planning grant project is comprised of the municipalities of Dorset, Break O’Day and Glamorgan Spring Bay. The project area contains a variety of matters of national environmental significance (MNES), including:

  • three Ramsar wetlands, most notably Apsley Marshes and Moulting Lagoon;
  • components of the convict sites World Heritage Area; and
  • numerous threatened ecological communities and species (e.g. Lowland Native Grasslands of Tasmania, Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and New Holland Mouse).

The objective of this project was to assist Break O’Day, Dorset and Glamorgan Spring Bay councils to deliver sustainable tourism outcomes through improved heritage and biodiversity protection and economic development strategies, policies and plans. The outcomes of the project complement the current land use and development strategies and improve planning for matters of national environmental significance.

Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Photographer: Dianne Blair

The project was delivered in a number of stages (components) and the final reports commissioned by Break O’Day Council for each stage are provided below:

Component 1: Planning for Sustainable Tourism

This component reviewed previous and current tourism proposals and explored the successes and barriers to tourism development in the region. The report also identified a number of options for tourism development in the project area.

Component 2: Protecting and Enhancing Biodiversity and Heritage

This component consisted of a preliminary biodiversity and cultural heritage evaluation, focusing on matters of national environmental significance that may be impacted by proposed, anticipated or reasonably foreseeable options for tourism development in the project area. The report identified sensitive areas for further assessment in future tourism proposals.

Component 3: Facilitating Better Decision Making

This component resulted in the development of a Sustainable Tourism Plan, bringing together the two earlier components of the project to provide a clear direction for sustainable tourism along the east coast of Tasmania. Recommendations are made to improve the planning and approvals process and development of the East Coast Development Framework.

East Coast Tasmania Trail Feasibility Assessment

The east coast Tasmania trail feasibility assessment was developed alongside the Component 3 report and provides a high level analysis and rationale for proposing an 18 day walking trail along Tasmania’s east coast. The report provides an evaluation of existing and proposed walking trails, provides a preliminary alignment for the proposed east coast trail, outlines a cost benefit analysis of establishing the trail and a determination of the key next steps.

Research project

The National Environmental Research Program (NERP) has conducted research to investigate community attitudes to nature-based tourism in Tasmania, with a focus on world heritage and other protected areas. The research focused on tourism stakeholders’ understanding of and attitudes towards sustainable tourism development in sensitive areas recognised for their conservation value and the presence of matters of national environmental significance.

The project produced a series of recommendations for tourism development scenarios preferred by the community that can inform local and regional planning frameworks in Tasmania. The final report by the NERP Landscape and Policy Hub is available via the link provided below.

Next Steps

The next step for regional sustainability planning in Tasmania is to finalise the implementation of the Break O’Day Council grant by April 2015.

How to contact us

For more information contact:

Regional Sustainability Planning
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Email: rsp@environment.gov.au