The changing economy of Bruny Island
The economy of Bruny Island - particularly South Bruny - is dominated by tourism, accommodation, recreation and lifestyle living. Resource based activities (agriculture, forestry and fishing) have declined in importance over the last 30 years. Even within those industries there has been significant change. In forestry, for example, there has been a dramatic shift from locally processed sawlogs to clear felling of large areas of forests for pulpwood. Today there are only a few people directly employed in forestry. At the same time, visitor numbers have increased dramatically.
According to Tourism Tasmania statistics, between 2001-2 and 2005-6 the number of interstate and overseas visitors (aged 14+) increased by 82% from 14800 to 26900. These visitors are estimatedhave spent almost $5million on goods and services.
The main reason given by visitors for coming to Bruny is to view wildlife and experience the scenery.
Tourism is the most important economic activity on Bruny Island. There are currently 23 operators on the Island who are wholly or partly dependent on income from visitors. During the tourist season (October to May), there are over 80 people employed in providing services to visitors. The major attraction for visitors is the island’s natural and scenic assets. These assets include beaches and coastlines backed by forested hills, coastal cliffs and offshore islands, its wide variety of wildlife that can be viewed in natural settings and its historical associations with Tasmania’s pre European history, and early European exploration in the South Pacific and Southern oceans. Some wildlife (Penguins, Shearwaters, endemic birds of the forests, seals, white wallabies) are attractions in their own right. Two internationally renowned, award winning ecotourism ventures are based entirely on providing visitors with the opportunity to view wildlife. How will forestry affect tourism? The planned forestry operation has the potential to adversely impact on tourism as follows:
• competition for road space - laden log trucks travelling at 80-90 kph on sub standard roads vs. visitors driving in hire cars on unfamiliar roads;
• competition for restricted ferry space at times of high visitation;
• reduction in scenic amenity in Adventure Bay;
• damage to roads used by visitors;
• noise and disturbance to residents and visitors;
• increased costs to ratepayers for the upkeep of roads;
What are the values of Bruny Island?
Scenic values A 1988 report on the National Estate values of Adventure Bay identified the scenic backdrop to the Bay as one of the key elements of its National significance. The whole of the bay was placed on the Interim Register of the National Estate in recognition of those values. They were further
recognised by the former Bruny Council and the Kingborough Council, both of whom identified the special scenic values of the place in their planning
The scenic values of the wooded hills behind the Bay were recognised as an important component of these values. Logging of these hills will compromise the scenic values of Adventure Bay.
Other Economic Values
The economic benefits of tourism are obvious. In addition to visitors many permanent and part time residents are attracted to the Island because of its peace, tranquility and high quality environment. Those residents bring significant economic benefit to the Island and provide support for a number of important local services, including shops, the Health centre, community organisations, cafes, and the Real Estate industry. Logging and lifestyle living are not compatible.
New industries have been established on the Island in recent years - a cheese factory, chocolate factory and a winery. None of these is compatible with a clear fell logging operation. There is a potential for Adventure Baylogging to indirectly impact on these industries through a reduction in customers, many of whom are visitors to the Island.
Logging is most likely to directly impact on the natural values associated with the forests. The forests behind Adventure Bay provide habitats for a
wide range of plants and animals - some of which are unique to the Island and a number of which are threatened.
The following are listed as threatened species:
• Wedge Tailed Eagle - regularly patrols the forests behind Adventure Bay and nests on Mt Cook overlooking Adventure Bay;
• White Bellied Sea Eagle - regularly seen above the estuary and forests behind the Bay;
• Grey Goshawk (white morph) - nests and feeds in forests more than 50 years old and is regularly seen in forests behind the Bay;
• Swift Parrot - nests and feeds throughout the lower slopes of the forests behind Adventure Bay including the coup to be logged;
• Mt Mangana Stag Beetle - this endemic beetle relies on old fallen logs in existing forests, clear felling represents a threat to its habitat.
In addition to the listed species, Adventure Bay is noted for the quality of its wildlife habitat and its biodiversity. Its floral diversity and separation from
Mainland Tasmania have resulted in a rich, abundant and diverse range of habitats and associated wildlife. The diversity of habitats in short distances makes it a paradise for birdwatchers and there some interesting variations of common species such as golden possums and white wallabies.
Continued forestry operations threaten this biodiversity by producing an even aged forest, with a limited species composition dominated by fast
growing Eucalypts. As biodiversity decreases so will the number and diversity of native wildlife - particularly birds.
Some species, however, particularly wallabies, possums, blackbirds and starlings will benefit from these changes and will come to dominate other species.
The forestry operation will provide no wildlife or habitat benefits.
The future of Bruny Island does not lie with resource based industries. It’s economy will increasingly depend on tourism, recreation, lifestyle
living and nature conservation. The proposed forestry operation is the beginning of a long term logging operation behind Adventure Bay which could see up to 500 hectares clear felled over the next decade. This operation will produce only minimal direct benefit to residents and the local economy. As the operation expands its impacts will become more evident and the effects more widespread. If it becomes established it will be on ongoing activity well into the future. With every passing year, the extent of adverse impacts will increase - and the Island’s economic future placed more at risk.
Adventure Bay is the key visitor destination on the Island. Adverse effects from forestry in the Bay will, however, affect the whole island.
Information in this document has been derived from Forestry Tasmania’s web site, Tourism Tasmania’s annual Visitor Survey and published reports on the Threatened Species of Bruny Island