Petition to Will Hodgman, Minister for Parks & Wildlife Service

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Arm End



The golf course developer has had responsibility for managing Arm End Reserve since 2014 but has failed to stop the spread of boxthorn.

To The Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly in the Tasmanian Parliament assembled.

The petition of the under signed residents of Tasmania wishes to make the Members aware of a vicious thorny weed, boxthorn, that is taking over our beloved Gellibrand Nature Recreation Area, known locally as Arm End Reserve, and call on the state government to take urgent action to control it.
The Arm End Reserve:
- was created in 2011 after being purchased in the 1990s by the Crown;
- attracts a growing number of people, including locals, Hobart residents and tourists, to enjoy the magnificent views and to go walking, dog walking, cycling, swimming and picnicing;
- is rich in Aboriginal heritage.

Since 2013 Mary Ann Island Pty Ltd has had approval to construct a golf course and club rooms on Arm End Reserve and has held a lease since 2014. In over six years no work been done on the development and the weeds have been ignored until recently. For the first four years the proponent did no weed control in the reserve. From 2017 to 2019 the local Coastcare group removed all mature boneseed from the reserve. After lobbying by Coastcare in 2017-18 the leaseholder has sprayed localised weeds including gorse, broom and serrated tussock. But for six years only a token effort has been made to control boxthorn, the biggest weed threat. A handful of plants were cut down and left on site and some are now a hazard on the beaches. In the northern part of the reserve boxthorn now forms a near continuous thicket from Mary Ann Bay to Ralphs Bay.

Action by the state government to control boxthorn is urgently needed because:
- boxthorn is starting to be found on tracts and some areas will soon be unusable;
- there have been reports of cyclists puncturing tyres on the boxthorn;
- every year the boxthorn is left unchecked it will become more difficult and costly to control;
- the thousands of boxthorn plants are beyond the capacity of Coastcare volunteers.

Although there is a lease over the reserve the Minister for Parks and Wildlife Service Will Hodgman is ultimately responsible for managing the reserve and removing the boxthorn.

The petitioners call on Minister for Parks and Wildlife Service, Will Hodgman to take action by:
- Instructing the Parks and Wildlife Service to immediately commence boxthorn removal with the aim of having all younger plants removed by the end of June 2020;
- By June 2020 start implementing a control plan for all mature boxthorn while ensuring that removal does not negatively impact little penguin or cause erosion.

Name *
Give the spotted handfish a wave.jpg

 A WIN for the Spotted Handfish thanks to successful Tasmanian planning appeal

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust [TCT] and Re Imagine The End  [RITE] Founder and Spokesperson Robyn McNicol have had a great victory in Tasmania’s planning appeal’s tribunal that saves the spotted handfish population at Halfmoon Bay from a destructive pipeline proposed for a golf course development at Arm End, Opossum Bay. The tribunal made its decision of the Friday 26th April

The TCT represented Ms McNicol in the appeal and we negotiated numerous very important changes to how the pipeline is to be installed. Robyn McNicol, a South Arm resident, initiated the appeal on behalf of RITE to the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal after the Clarence City Council made serious flaws in pipeline approval permit in February 2019.

As approved by Council the pipeline would have seriously damaged the handfish habitat and killed handfishes directly. Given the limitations of the Clarence city Council planning rules we never had a realistic chance of stopping the pipeline or having it relocated, but we have succeeded in negotiating changes that make the handfish population protected and much safer. TCT and RITE negotiated these important permit condition changes that require the pipeline to be:

  •    installed under the sea bed for a distance of more that 500m from shore instead of 200 metres as approved by council;

  • installed at least 3.5m under the sea bed and into bed rock instead of 1.5m under the sea bed which made it likely that the drilling equipment would penetrate the sea bed and damage habitat and handfishes;

  • all works must be done outside the breeding season of the Spotted Handfish which the council did not require.

Peter McGlone said “The Council made a serious error in its decision and it has taken a courageous community group and the TCT to make changes to protect one of only ten known populations of the Spotted Handfish in the world. Most disappointing was that the Clarence City Council’s original approval would have allowed the pipeline to penetrate the seabed in the middle of the handfish population.”

Robyn McNicol said “This win for the handfish has required a local community and conservation group’s efforts to ensure the best protection for a critically endangered species, which was otherwise ignored by council. The Spotted Handfish is now a lot safer with numerous additional conditions being place on the development as a result of a mediated outcome.”


Picnic + Walk Sunday March 17

Meet at entry gate 11am Arm End Reserve for maps and guide.
3 walks offered, short, medium and long. Picnic at 12.30

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Appeal lodged against the
effluent pipeline for Arm End

2 March 2019
South Arm resident and Coordinator of Re-Imagine The End Robyn McNicol this week commenced an appeal against Clarence City Council's approval of the Arm End effluent pipeline. The appeal application was made on Wednesday 27 February to the Resource Management and Planning Approvals Tribunal. A first hearing is scheduled for 12 March 2019. The water pipeline aims to provide water for the long delayed Arm End golf course. The grounds for the planning appeal relate to the impacts of constructing the pipeline under the endangered spotted handfish population at Half Moon Bay using horizontal drilling technology and the risk of the pipeline breaking during operation.
My appeal grounds are that the proposed pipeline will adversely impact habitat of the spotted handfish through direct disturbance e.g. the drilling of the pipeline and associated works. The proponent has failed to address the requirements of the Planning Scheme in relation to the spotted handfish and the conditions proposed by the Clarence City Council are inadequate.

Robyn McNicol
RITE Founde


What is the legacy of the pipeline


What is the legacy of this pipeline proposed to bring waste water 6 km’s across the Derwent and 6.8 km’s through the south arm peninsula just to irrigate a golf course. Its legacy brings devastating consequences to the indigenous cultural landscape and the natural environment.

The cultural landscape is rare/precious/intact and unique.  There are visible and hidden cultural sites, for 10s of 1000’s of years arm end was a meeting place for our traditional peoples, this place tells a story about people, land, river and water – it signifies the entry to the Derwent visible from many places including Kingborough, Hobart and Clarence. Arm End was reserved as a recreational place of state significance.  It is a place of value to many. People visit to view the bioluminescence, scuba dive, walk with family and friends, a destination for  international or interstate visitor.  It has potential to unite and reconcile white settlement with traditional owners. It is a place we can build a positive cultural history.

For the last 6 years the reserve has been embargoed and mothballed by the developer.  No progress has been made, no significant rehabilitation, only failed plantings, there has been no serious consistent weed control or planting apart from coastcare work. The developer continues only to roll over permits, increase their scope and introduce new proposals.  The community is prevented form enhancing the reserve. Now the community is being prevented to enter the Reserve. I have spoken with people in the aboriginal community and they are deeply hurt and offended, they did not endorse the golf course and they do not indorse the pipeline, the legacy of this pipeline is damage to Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage.

The pipeline represents a risk to the natural coastal environment there is great potential for damage, and if this water spills into the river;
there are no mitigation plans for the  survival of the endangered spotted Handfish, and
there  are no management plans to stop existing vegetation being destroyed .

Access into the reserve will be restricted. The extensive golf course design does not allow for walking and neither does irrigation. No where in Tasmania is a public reserve subjected to artificial irrigation – no reserve is irrigated with nutrient rich environmentally risky water.  The council should refer the biodiversity and the coastal protection codes in the Clarence City Council interim planning scheme and refuse this development.

The economic and social return from Arm End Reserve becoming a coastal cultural walk of significance far outweighs the damage this pipeline will do to our cultural and natural heritage.




 At the entrance to the incredible Arm End reserve is a sign: “Welcome to The Arm End Public Recreation Reserve” and “Extensive walking and cycling tracks, cycling, bird-watching, open play spaces, fishing and nature interpretation, a world-class 18 hole golf course” Yes, this precious public asset, this incredibly beautifully peninsula - arguably the jewel in the crown of the Derwent, this site of state significance is going to be turned into a “golf course” and it needs water. I read in the Mercury, Sunday 16th December, that developers have submitted a DA to pipe water from Blackman’s Bay to the site. They describe it as “quality water”, the Mercury correctly points out that it is Class B water.
The use of recycled water comes with strict caveats. There are many, but to mention two. Taswater states in its document, “Using Recycled Water Safely”:“In areas where there is public access, including golf courses, access to irrigation areas must be restricted for a minimum of four hours after irrigation or until irrigation area is dry”.  And, “Recycled water irrigation must not occur if there is a risk that the public will sustain skin or aerosol contact”. So good people of the public, forget about taking the dog for a walk around Arm End before work. And, if you’re from South Arm and the developers have ‘dangled the carrot at you’ and told you you can access the “quality water”, don’t use it on your veggie garden or for the chooks, and make sure, if you use your sprinkler, it’s not within 100 metres of your home.  

57 Representations were sent from individuals opposing the re-use pipeline via RITE


16 December 2018


Stop the Arm End effluent pipeline

Currently the Clarence City Council is assessing the Development Application Pipeline D-2018/455 lodged by the developer.

Read why we believe this application should be refused.

The Arm End golf course proponent wants to construct an effluent pipeline under the Derwent River and along South Arm Road to Arm End Reserve. The effluent pipeline will irrigate the long delayed golf course with treated water from the Blackman's Bay sewage treatment plant. Using effluent will exclude the public from Arm End reserve for lengthy periods and its use will turn many locals and visitors off ever visiting the reserve. The high nutrient effluent will damage regenerating native vegetation around the reserve's coast. The endangered spotted handfish will be at risk from drilling and spillage of effluent.

The only concession the community has from the golf course proponent was guaranteed public access at all times but they are now going back on that promise. This is the fourth alteration to the Arm End golf course proposal and this development by stealth must be stopped.

You can help us protect Arm End Reserve and the Spotted Handfish by making a representation to Clarence City Council. Fill out the form with your message to council.

The Clarence City Council (CCC) should refuse the pipeline because:

1. Severe impact on recreational access and enjoyment:

Irrigating the proposed golf course using treated effluent will prohibit the public from entering the reserve while irrigation is occurring and for a lengthy period afterwards. Excluding the public and spraying effluent on Arm End Reserve contravenes the CCC Planning Scheme by:

  • impacting "adversely on the recreational use of the land" ( Zone Purpose, Recreation Zone).

  • failing to "complement and enhance the use of the land for recreational purposes"
    (18.3.5. Discretionary Use Performance Criteria, Recreation Zone). 

2. Effluent impact on Natural Values of Arm End and adjacent areas

The use of high nutrient effluent to irrigate 40 hectares of the Arm End Reserve (greens and fairways) and the potential for effluent to go beyond the target area (spray drift and flow) will have:

  • unacceptable impacts on the reserves native vegetation including threatened plants, contrary to the CCC Planning Scheme (27.1 Purpose, Natural Values Code); and

  • unacceptable impacts on the natural values outside the reserve e.g. local beaches and bays including the Spotted Handfish population at Mary Ann Bay, contrary to the CCC Planning Scheme
    (2.1. Purpose and 3.0. Objectives (see note). 

 3. Impact of treated effluent on native species not assessed

The use of treated effluent will have negative impacts on nutrient intolerant native species and benefit many weed species, which has not been assessed and is contrary to CCC Planning Scheme assessment requirements (E.27.5 Application Requirements, Natural Assets Code).

 4. Installation and operation of pipeline could destroy Spotted Handfish population at Halfmoon Bay

The drilling and installation of the pipeline underneath Halfmoon Bay could go dangerously wrong and damage the habitat of the endangered handfish. Contrary to the CCC Planning Scheme, no provisions are in place for preventing drilling accidents or mitigating impacts if they occur. (2.1. Purpose and 3.0. Objectives - see note).

 During its operation the pipeline could be damaged and effluent damage the Halfmoon Bay Spotted Handfish adults and their eggs during the breeding season. Contrary to the CCC Planning Scheme, no provisions are in place for preventing pipe damage or mitigating impacts if it occurs (2.1. Purpose and 3.0. Objectives - see note). 

NOTE: While the municipal boundary only extends to the high tide mark, the proponent must have regard to the Planning Scheme purpose and objectives that require a development to be sustainable and threatened species protected