The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) is the leading representative body for Tasmanian primary producers. TFGA members are responsible for generating approximately 80% of the value created by the Tasmanian agricultural sector.

The total Tasmanian gross state product (GSP) was $23.9 billion for the 2012 year. The GVP of agriculture, forestry and fishing collectively amounted to almost 9% of this total – before input supply services and value-adding, which is well above that for the nation as a whole.

The TFGA is grateful for the opportunity to make comment to the Tasmanian Government review of the gas regulatory framework to ensure contemporary regulation across gas infrastructure, gas installations and gas appliances.

The draft Gas Safety Act has the potential to impact on many farmers, as the pipeline runs from Brighton through the Southern and Northern Midlands and then along the Bass Highway to Port Latta.

The key areas that we would like to comment within the draft Gas Safety Act, include:

  • Powers of entry / Enter land for certain purposes
  • Appealing against a decision
  • Undertaking work near a pipeline
  • Service of notices

Sections 62. Gas safety officers may enter land for certain purposes related to gas infrastructure; and Section 72. Powers of entry; are of similar ilk, whereby an appointed authorised officer may enter at any reasonable time. The TFGA would like the following to occur before authorised officers enter private land:

  • i.Farmers to be contacted before entering private land. Farmers have many visitors on a daily basis entering their farm, which means they need to know who may be entering when and on what basis. Put simply, good communication between the farmer and authorised officer is paramount.
  • ii.Biosecurity issues with vehicles entering private land. Authorised officers need to be aware their vehicles can pose a biosecurity risk. Vehicles may be carrying weed and diseases. Communication with the farmer is again important to minimise the risk of spreading weeds and diseases across private land.

Section 87. Appeal against decision made in respect of administrative review; under this section there is no timeframe stated for the Minister to get back to the appellant. The TFGA needs further clarification on what the timeframe will be.

Section 109. Undertaking work near pipelines subject to an easement (2); it states this section does not apply to hand excavation, ploughing or cultivation down to a prescribed depth. The TFGA request clarity on the definition of ‘prescribed depth’.

Section 113. Service of notices;

  • (a)(i) given to the person – need to clarify that this is a written notice, as the TFGA has had past experiences from its members regarding government notices that verbal notices can be misinterpreted.
  • (a)(iv) emailed to the person’s email address – email addresses change regularly and we would question if this is an appropriate communication tool for an official document.

Finally, the TFGA would like to be notified when the Regulations are available to make comment to.

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