There has been a long running attempt to develop a tourism venturein a remote World Heritage Area on Tasmania’s Central Plateau. This would set a worrying precedent for future commercial development in World Heritage and National Parks.
In December 2019, the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT) overturned the Central Highlands Council’s decision to refuse a permit for helicopter-accessed visitor accommodation at Halls Island, Lake Malbena, in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. But environmental groups have not given up on this issue.
The Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA) have joined with The Wilderness Society (TWS) to file an appeal against the Tribunal’s decision in the Supreme Court of Tasmania.
The TNPA and TWS will be arguing that RMPAT erred in relying on the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service’s reserve ‘activity assessment ‘to determine whether the Lake Malbena proposal is in accordance with the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 2016.
The Environment Defenders Office will represent TWS and TNPA in this action.
If this argument is successful, RMPAT will need to form its own opinion on compliance with the management plan, based on the substantial amount of evidence presented to them by our expert witnesses during last year’s hearings.
The TNPA say: ‘We are pursuing this matter not only for Lake Malbena but also because it has major implications for the many other intrusive tourism developments currently being considered for Tasmania’s national parks under the state government’s secretive Expressions of Interest process’.
You can donate to the TNPA to support this case here.
UPDATE – JULY 7
According to a report in The New Daily,
The environmental group and other appellants argued developer Wild Drake should not have been granted a planning permit for the project, comprising several huts to be visited by up to 240 helicopter flights a year.
They are worried about the camp’s environmental impact and had argued Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal improperly delegated assessment of the project to the state’s Parks and Wildlife Service.
But a Supreme Court of Tasmania judgment, handed down on Monday, dismissed the appeal, finding “no error” in the tribunal outcome.
“While we are disappointed with this decision, in the coming weeks we will explore our options,” Wilderness Society campaign manager Tom Allen said in a statement.
The luxury camp is awaiting approval from federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
“We call on her to decide that the proposal should be subject to a detailed and transparent environmental impact assessment that specifically considers the wilderness impacts of this proposal,” Mr Allen said.
The Wilderness Society has 21 days to decide whether to appeal the judgment.”