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Update on Working Group discussing Sewage Discharge from Vessels

12 September 2013

An expert working group formed to discuss the disposal of sewage from vessels in Tasmanian waters has held their first meeting and will meet again shortly to examine potential risk-based management methods.

The group was chaired by the Director of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Alex Schaap and included representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), TasWater, Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST), the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC), yacht clubs and commercial and recreational boat owners.

The discharge of sewage from vessels is currently prohibited in all State waters under the Pollution of Waters by Oils and Noxious Substances Act 1987 and the working group met to consider the longer term sewage discharge arrangements for vessels in Tasmanian waters.

The group examined the impacts of sewage discharge, the current law as it stands and proposed law changes, as well as different approaches to the issue taken in other jurisdictions across Australian and overseas.

The working group discussed some of the issues facing Tasmanian boaters and waters and examined potential risk-based management methods.

The working group will meet again in late September and any proposal for longer term arrangements will be available for broader public comment in the future.