Wynyard Foreshore. Credit: Moon Cheese Studio
Sustainability strategies help to ensure that present-day economic development and resource use does not come at the expense of future generations or the depletion of natural resources.
Achieving sustainability is a shared responsibility and a comprehensive strategy with clear and measurable goals will support us to work collaboratively to address local and global sustainability challenges, including climate change.
Purpose of this Discussion Paper
The aim of this Discussion Paper is to start a conversation about the development of a sustainability vision and strategy for Tasmania, and to obtain your views.
The information you provide will assist in developing Tasmania’s sustainability vision and goals.
A brief summary of sustainability and its importance for Tasmania is provided in the Short Consultation Paper – Advancing Tasmania's natural advantage for sustainability.
How the Sustainability Strategy will be developed
The project for developing Tasmania’s Sustainability Strategy includes the following stages:
Research and focused workshops to identify existing capabilities, challenges, and opportunities. Stage 1 has been completed.
Commenced with the release of this Discussion Paper and focuses on engaging Tasmanians to establish our shared sustainability vision and aspirational goals through co-design and broad community consultation. Targeted consultation will also be undertaken so that we have a broad range of views. The consultation period will conclude on 6 October 2023.
Will be the development of a draft Tasmanian Sustainability Strategy, which will consolidate key targets and actions from existing policies and identify priorities for additional targets and actions. The draft strategy will involve further public consultation, and this will inform the development of targets, actions, and indicators for the final strategy. This process will be completed in 2024.
Will see the release of the final Tasmanian Sustainability Strategy later in 2024 and the commencement of implementation.
At this point in Stage Two, we invite you to make a submission. Your input will contribute to the development of Tasmania’s sustainability vision and goals, reflecting Tasmanians’ shared hopes for the wellbeing of future generations and how we get there.
What the Sustainability Strategy will include
The structure of Tasmania’s Sustainability Strategy will be set out in three tiers, including a vision, a set of high-level sustainability goals, and the targets and actions for achieving the goals:
The final Strategy will incorporate feedback received through multiple consultation processes. However, it is expected that the Strategy will most likely include:
- A statement of Tasmania’s vision for a sustainable future, developed by Tasmanians through a co-design approach.
- Adaptation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (the UN SDGs) into a set of around six focus areas with aspirational goals to drive sustainability action in Tasmania, reflecting the shared values, commitments, and expectations of Tasmanians.
- Concrete targets and actions to set out how we will achieve our goals.
- A credible and transparent platform for measuring and reporting progress towards Tasmania’s sustainability goals and the UN SDGs.
It is anticipated the Strategy will be supported by:
- A program of education, training and media to raise awareness of sustainability practices and issues, continuously improving our capabilities across the State through learning, collaboration and partnerships.
- An administrative and governance structure that will support the coordination of efforts by government, business, the non-government sector, and the community, stimulating investment and innovation and supporting each other to drive ambition and positive impact.
Background to sustainability for Tasmania
What does sustainability mean?
Sustainability is making the right choices today, to ensure the future health of the planet and all who live and depend on it.
Sustainability is understanding how individual and social wellbeing, the economy, and the environment are inseparable and interdependent. Social factors like poverty, food security, access to education, decent work, and safe and resilient communities, are all concerns for sustainability action.
The terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ are often used interchangeably. In the 1987 report titled “Our Common Future” by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, known as the Brundtland Commission, sustainable development is defined as –
There are two important principles embedded in the Brundtland definition:
- We can still meet our own needs today, we just do so in a way that protects and preserves environmental values as well as achieving economic prosperity and social wellbeing.
- We have an obligation to future generations, to ensure they have what they need for economic prosperity and social wellbeing, which includes a healthy environment and availability of natural resources.
The 2030 Global Agenda
For national, sub-national and regional sustainability strategies, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are increasingly becoming the focus. The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The SDGs are a set of 17 global goals for sustainable development and include 169 targets and 232 unique indicators.
Tasmania’s leadership in sustainability
Tasmania has a rich history in environmental sustainability, with more than 100 years of renewable hydro-electricity production.
In many respects we are already at the leading edge of global action, with our net-zero emissions by 2030 and 200 per cent renewable electricity by 2040 targets. In November 2020 we achieved renewable electricity generation capacity to meet 100 per cent of our electricity needs. Other advances in sustainability practices by Tasmanians are as follows:
- Many of our farmers are adopting regenerative agriculture practices to ensure that our land remains fertile and highly productive for our next generation of farmers.
- Our tourism sector is also leading the way by developing positive impact tourism as part of the T21 Tasmanian Visitor Economy Strategy, and piloting regenerative tourism on Flinders Island with the Islander Way project.
- The management of our forests and lands is a major contributor to achieving below zero net greenhouse gas emissions for the last nine reported years, while also producing economic returns for Tasmania through exports, agricultural products, local jobs, and business for Tasmanian contractors and suppliers.
- Our education sector is developing the skills and the leaders needed to drive Tasmania’s future economy through jobs, businesses, services, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and innovation.
- Tasmania’s healthcare sector continues to work tirelessly to improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians and contributes to future advancements in healthcare with world class research including through the Menzies Institute.
- Tasmania’s human services sector provides invaluable supports for those who need it the most, building on the culture of working together and looking after each other.
Sustainable development has been the primary objective of Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning System and has been enshrined in legislation since 1993. Today we have in place policies, programs, strategies, and services that contribute to improvement across all the areas covered by the 17 UN SDGs, even if they are not currently expressed that way.
Some examples of current sustainability initiatives include:
- Establishment of Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania (ReCFIT) in recognition of the alignment between a rapidly transitioning energy sector and the impacts and opportunities of a changing climate.
- Introduction of a container refund scheme and a levy on waste being disposed to landfill.
- Establishment of the Tasmanian Waste and Resource Recovery Board to advise the Government on waste management, resource recovery, developing the Circular Economy, and how the use of waste levy funds can be invested back into waste management and resource recovery to ensure more sustainable environmental and resource management outcomes.
- Development of the Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2022-2027, to improve gender equality and support Tasmanian women and girls to reach their full potential.
- Adoption of the Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty process to reduce the inequality and disadvantage experienced by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
- Implementation of Our HealthCare Future: Advancing Tasmania’s Health, which aims to build a sustainable health system in Tasmania.
- The Tasmania Statement, originally signed in 2019 with the Premier’s Health and Wellbeing Advisory Council and updated in 2021, which is a commitment to collaboration on long-term solutions to address the social and economic factors that influence health.
- Tasmania’s Population Strategy is being refreshed to look at how future population trends can be better managed through whole-of-government planning, and achieving growth in a sustainable way that respects what is uniquely Tasmanian and ensure everyone benefits.
A snapshot of how some existing key policies align with the UN SDGs is provided in Appendix A. This is not a comprehensive list of all relevant policies. A more detailed mapping will be undertaken in the development of the Draft Sustainability Strategy.
The case for a Tasmanian Sustainability Strategy
While Tasmania is leading the way in many areas, we could further enhance these efforts by coordinating resources through a joined-up strategy that integrates our social, economic, and environmental values in a way that ensures we maximise benefits across all areas, and we account for the impacts of today’s decisions on the wellbeing of future generations.
Some of the benefits from a Tasmanian Sustainability Strategy include:
- better outcomes for future generations through a holistic and coordinated approach to sustainability targets and actions;
- alignment of efforts with the 2030 Global Agenda and the SDGs to gain national and international recognition for our achievements;
- coordination of resources to drive change across public and private sectors;
- stimulating innovation, investment, and collaboration between sectors; and
- brand advantage in national and international markets to attract trade, investment, tourism and migration to Tasmania.
What we have heard so far
To date we have heard from Tasmanians through several sources, including the Tasmanian Project Wellbeing Survey and the broad consultation program of the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) in 2020.
These two processes provided evidence that Tasmanians recognise the need and desire for a strategic, whole-of-state approach to sustainability.
In April 2022, we hosted six workshops including one in Launceston and another in Burnie, facilitated by KPMG. The focus-group workshops were attended by representatives from all Tasmanian Government departments, Government businesses and State Authorities, the University of Tasmania, and the peak bodies of most major sectors and industries.
The purpose of these workshops was to:
- gain an understanding of the current levels of awareness and motivations for sustainability across all sectors of the Tasmanian community;
- explore the Sustainable Development Goals; and
- identify stakeholder perceptions on the opportunities, barriers and expectations, and existing sustainability efforts.
Workshop participants were asked to identify what they perceived as Tasmania’s current capability, opportunities, and challenges. These results will help shape our sustainability goals and targets.
We heard from participants in the workshops that Tasmanians look to the Government for leadership in sustainability, but that ambition and success will be driven by all Tasmanians working together towards our shared aspirations. For this reason, we are adopting a co-design approach for developing Tasmania’s sustainability vision and strategy, to ensure that all Tasmanians can shape these aspirations and set the direction for how we will ensure the wellbeing of future generations.
We have built on the evidence developed through these consultations by partnering with the University of Tasmania to undertake research on sustainability approaches adopted nationally and internationally,
and the opportunities for Tasmania.
This project also draws on knowledge and evidence obtained through other consultation processes where relevant.
A review of national and international approaches to sustainability frameworks and strategies reveals that there is no single agreed approach or ‘best practice’ when it comes to committing to environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
Based on this research, a comprehensive and best-practice sustainability strategy should:
- build on established sustainability assets and initiatives;
- commit to collaboration and fostering collective responsibility to promote sustainability;
- strive for consensus, establish clear targets, and commit to transparent reporting;
- build community awareness via education and support community-led action;
- drive innovation and leverage private investment and community programs; and
- aim for sustainability objectives that increase the wellbeing of present and future generations of Tasmanians.
Most national, sub-national, and regional sustainability frameworks around the world are based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a call to action for all countries to work together in partnership for a global sustainable future. The 17 SDGs recognise that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
A place-based approach for Tasmania
Tasmania could simply adopt the 17 SDGs as our framework for a sustainability strategy, which many places have done, such as Canada – www.fsds-sfdd.ca/en/goals. This approach makes sense for reporting how government policy contributes to the 2030 Global Agenda.
Another approach is to streamline the SDG framework into a localised set of focused sustainability priority areas. A review of several sustainability frameworks around the world indicates that a simpler, focused approach to setting sustainability goals that are more relevant to the context and circumstances of the local population may be more effective at motivating commitment and actions across the community and business sectors. A good example is the Aloha+ Challenge from Hawai’i, which supplements the Hawai’i state government’s Hawai’i 2050 Sustainability Plan.
The Aloha+ Challenge identifies six priority goals and local metrics that are delivering against the global United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To find out more about the Hawai’i Green Growth approach, visit www.hawaiigreengrowth.org.
The Aloha+ Challenge six priority goals
1. Clean Energy Transformation
Goal: 70% renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for the electricity sector by 2030 (40% from renewable generation and 30% from energy efficiency measures), with a goal of 100% RPS for the electricity sector by 2045.
2. Solid Waste Reduction
Goal: Reduce the solid waste stream prior to disposal by 70% through source reduction, recycling, bioconversion, and landfill diversion methods.
3. Local Food Production & Consumption
Goal: At least double local food production, where 20-30% of food consumed is grown locally by 2030.
4. Smart Sustainable Communities
Goal: Increase liveability and resilience in the built environment through planning and implementation at the state and country levels. Tracks progress on economic, social, and environmental factors necessary to build strong communities through eight main targets: affordable housing; economic prosperity; resilience and disaster management; mobility and accessibility; open, public, green spaces; land use impacts; connection to place; and greenhouse gas mitigation.
5. Natural Resource Management
Goal: Reverse the trend of natural resource loss mauka to makai by 2030 through protecting 30% of native watershed forests; establishing 30% of near-shore waters as marine-managed areas; increasing freshwater security to meet the projected demand of 100 million gallons per day; and increasing invasive species control and native species restoration.
6. Green Workforce & Education
Goal: Increase local green jobs and education to implement the Aloha+ Challenge and UN Sustainable Development Goals. Tracks progress on seven main targets: ‘āina-based education and community engagement; educational attainment and transformational learning; equitable access to education; workforce and professional development; innovation and entrepreneurship; sustainable tourism; and economic diversity.
Developing Tasmania’s Sustainability Vision & Strategy
What should we aspire to?
Action towards sustainability is about shifting the way we think about our current needs. We all have a responsibility to consider the sustainability of the choices we make, as well as to work together to address the bigger challenges.
What is your Vision for a Sustainable Tasmania?
We are interested in hearing your views about the scope and aspiration of a Tasmanian Sustainability Strategy.
A vision for the future
Articulating a vision for Tasmania’s sustainable future is an opportunity for you to express your thoughts about the future state of Tasmania, which incorporates social, economic, and environmental factors.
Example sustainability vision statements from other places:
Flanders (Belgium) has Vision 2050, which sees Flanders as an inclusive, open, resilient and internationally connected region that creates propsperity and wellbeing for its citizens in a smart, innovative and sustainable manner.
The ACT has a vision to create a world-class, competitive city that sets new standards in city living for liveability, urban design, mental and physical wellbeing, sustainability and resilience.
The Hawai'i Green Growth Aloha+ Challenge aims for 'A culture of sustainability'.
Sustainability goals for Tasmania
Developing a set of sustainability goals (or priorities) for Tasmania will enable a key focus on those areas Tasmanians have identified as important to them. The ACT and Hawai’i frameworks are provided as examples of how SDGs and place-based priority areas can be related.
ACT Sustainability Strategy 2021-2025: four sustainability pillars
|City Renewal Sustainability Pillars||UN Sustainable Development Goals|
|Nature in the city and climate wise design|
|Social and economic vibrancy|
|Sustainable use of resources|
|Enable healthy active living and travel|
Aloha+ Challenge: six priority goals
|Priority Goals||UN Sustainable Development Goals|
Smart Sustainable Communities
Natural Resource Management
Green Workforce and Education
As these examples illustrate, a streamlined set of local priorities can benefit from aligning with the SDGs. A reporting framework will then be developed against those priority areas. Hawai’i Green Growth publishes a dashboard that demonstrates this, providing both a scorecard against the Aloha+ Goals as well as Hawai’i’s contribution to the SDGs – https://alohachallenge.hawaii.gov/
Drawing on the examples of the ACT Sustainability Strategy and Hawai’i’s Aloha+ Challenge, the following table suggests some examples of what could be developed as Tasmania’s sustainability priorities and goals, with reference to the SDGs. This is not intended to be a proposal for a framework, rather a starting point for discussion. We want you to be actively involved in deciding our priorities and goals.
We invite you to consider how the 17 SDGs could be streamlined into a set of key sustainability priority areas that are most relevant to Tasmania’s situation, challenges, opportunities, and aspirations. The priority areas might encapsulate all 17 of the SDGs like the Aloha+ Challenge, or they might focus on a smaller number of SDGs like the ACT example.
Possible sustainability priority areas for Tasmania:
|Possible priority goals for Tasmania||Relevant SDGs|
|Climate and Renewable Energy|
GOAL: All Tasmanians have access to
affordable clean energy, transition to fossil
fuel alternatives, reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and build resilience to the impacts
of climate change.
|Health and Wellbeing|
GOAL: All Tasmanians have the opportunity
to live healthy, active lives in communities that
support connections to people, place and culture.
|Education and Skills|
GOAL: Full functional literacy and numeracy
through quality education at all ages to ensure
everyone can succeed, and ensure we are ready
for future industries and technology.
|Circular Economy and Waste|
GOAL: Eliminate the disposal of waste to the
environment through better consumption choices,
production design and developing circular
|Housing and Liveability|
GOAL: Access to affordable, energy efficient and
climate resilient housing and urban communities,
built sustainably with infrastructure to support
safety and resilience.
GOAL: Strong natural resources and
environmental management through protection
and regenerative practices across all sectors to
preserve the quality of air, land and water, and
|Fair, Equitable and Inclusive Society|
GOAL: Eradicate all forms of discrimination
including gender, age, sexuality, disability, race,
and ethnicity, for an inclusive and equitable society.
Promote the voice, culture, heritage, and
empowerment of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
Research and expert input acknowledgements
This Discussion Paper was prepared by the Department of Premier and Cabinet with research input provided by the Tasmanian Policy Exchange at the University of Tasmania and the Hobart office of KPMG Australia.
The Department acknowledges the contributions of others through collaboration and discussions that informed the development of this discussion paper, especially all those who gave their time and thoughts to the focus-group workshops in April 2022. Special mention to Jessica Robbins of The Tasmanian Way, and Adam Mostogl of the van Diemen Project for sharing their experience and expertise.