In a significant move, the Lake Malbena tourism development has been rejected by the Central Highlands Council.

The controversial ‘helicopter tourism’ development planned for Halls Island in Lake Malbena on Tasmania’s central plateau had previously been approved by state and federal governments. One of the first acts of the Morrison government was to greenlight a private tourism development with helicopter access in Tasmanian world heritage wilderness against the recommendation of an expert advisory body. The local Council was the last government authority which needed to sign off on the project.

The final vote happened at a packed meeting held on February 26, with three councillors voting for, and six against the proposal.

The developer, who spoke in support of their proposal at the meeting, said they would consider their options in coming days. (One councillor said they voted for the project because Councl cannot afford to fight a legal challenge).

Emily Baker, politics reporter for The Mercury tweeted that:

“There’s genuine fury among councillors that they’ve been left with this decision. Cr Robert Cassidy says it’s the hardest call he has ever made “because it affects Tasmania”.

Cr Jim Poole says it is unfair the Central Highlands Council has been lumped with the decision on Halls Island after a “lack of due diligence” from other levels of government.”

This is a great outcome. Well done to Council, who have clearly listened to the community. Let’s hope this is the end of this particular proposal.