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Central Plateau

Big win for campaign against Lake Malbena ‘helicopter tourism’ proposal

In big news, the campaign against the proposal for a controversial ‘helicopter tourism’ development in a remote part of lutruwita/ Tasmania received a significant boost today.

The Wilderness Society, supported by the Environment Defenders Office, has won an appeal against the proposal.

The proposal will now return to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT), who will be asked to reassess it and take into consideration its impact on wilderness world heritage values.

For background on this proposal, please check here.

IMAGE: Dan Broun.

Pack rafting the Central Plateau

Pack rafting is the sport of hiking and rafting using a portable raft carried on one’s back. Pack rafts are designed to be light enough to be carried long distances. It is a relatively obscure recreation here in Australia, although growing in popularity.

Combining pack rafting and paragliding on the Central Plateau in lutruwita/ Tasmania is probably even more obscure. But it makes for a good adventure.

Jason MacLeod reports on a recent walking/ pack rafting/ paragliding adventure intended to mark his 50thbirthday.

Continue reading “Pack rafting the Central Plateau”

A new year. The old threats continue.

Well, we’re on the other side of New Year. Phew. I hope that you’re enjoying some good mountain time over summer and getting a recharge. There’s lots to do this year.

There are a range of environmental issues that have been bubbling away over the last year, and each of them have campaigns which could use some extra support if you have the time or resources. Here’s a sample of what’s going on. 

Continue reading “A new year. The old threats continue.”

Helicopter tourism at Lake Malbena will ‘significantly and adversely impact wilderness character’ of area

The long campaign against a plan for helicopter-based tourism at Lake Malbena on the Central Plateau in Tasmania has received a welcome boost. The Commonwealth Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, has released a ‘Statement of Reasons’ explaining why she determined that the proposed helicopter-accessed luxury accommodation will be a “controlled action”, requiring a more thorough assessment under the Commonwealth environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). 

Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania said “Minister Ley’s Statement reveals why, for the first time, an Environment Minister has recognised that the Lake Malbena proposal will significantly and adversely impact threatened species, wilderness character and reduce natural and World Heritage values”. 

Continue reading “Helicopter tourism at Lake Malbena will ‘significantly and adversely impact wilderness character’ of area”

Lake Malbena ‘helicopter tourism’ proposal to undergo federal assessment

Tasmania is famed for its wild landscapes, much of which is protected in national parks and World Heritage.

In 2016, the Hodgman Liberal government changed the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) management plan, rezoning various sections of what was once Wilderness zone, into ‘Self Reliant Recreation’ zoning, which allowed developers to propose commercial developments in these zones. Perhaps the highest profile case has involved the plan to allow helicopter landings to take place at Lake Malbena on the Central Plateau. This was approved by the Federal environment minister, and has been slowly moving forward despite a strong community campaign and legal challenge.

In a significant development, it has now been announced the proposal will now require Federal assessment of its environmental impacts.

Continue reading “Lake Malbena ‘helicopter tourism’ proposal to undergo federal assessment”

Keep the Western Lakes Wild and Public

The proposal for helicopter-accessed luxury huts at Lake Malbena is the test case for more than 30 secret development plans under the current Government’s Expressions of Interest process.

This exclusive and secretive lease of $1,000/year will destroy the serenity and all that is precious about the Western Lakes in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA)

Come along to a public meeting hosted by Fishers and Walkers against helicopter access Tasmania to hear the latest & what we can do about it. Tickets are required (due to Covid) but are free!
Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 2 PM – 4 PM

Continue reading “Keep the Western Lakes Wild and Public”

Feral deer moving into World Heritage Parks in Tasmania

Australia has enormous problems with large invasive species like feral pigs, horses and deer. These species have negatively impacted huge sections of the continent. Yet self interest sometimes over rides the need to remove these populations. For instance, hunters sometimes argue that animals like deer should be left in wild places like national parks to allow continued hunting. And there is a huge campaign to see feral horse populations retained in the Australian Alps on spurious ‘cultural’ grounds.

Public debate has focused strongly on wild horse populations over the past few years. The threat poised by deer in lutruwita/ Tasmania is set to become a major public issue as the size of the feral deer population becomes clear. It is obvious that deer are moving into new habitats, and will bring enormous ecological impacts as they do so.

Continue reading “Feral deer moving into World Heritage Parks in Tasmania”

Fines for being in a National Park?

There has been a long community campaign against plans by a ‘tourism entrepreneur’ to establish a private tourism venture on a small island in a conservation area on the Central Plateau of lutruwita/ Tasmania. There have been various legal challenges and a strong community campaign against this privatisation of public space.

Now it has been reported that the development has powers of eviction and the right to install surveillance cameras. It is possible that fines and even prison terms could apply for walkers and fishers who attempt to step onto the island.

Continue reading “Fines for being in a National Park?”

The Central Plateau from the air

These images were taken from a lovely 46 minute video of ‘a flight over the Tasmanian Highlands on a mostly sunny autumn afternoon’ from Gary J McArthur (whose account is called Wandering Foxbat). This film is available here. He posts many great videos of flying over Tasmania.

He flies over Mt Roland, down along the western edge of the Central Plateau to the Ducane Range, then north to Cradle Mountain.

I couldn’t resist taking a few images from the video of some of my favourite peaks.

Continue reading “The Central Plateau from the air”

Proposed new walker infrastructure for Walls of Jerusalem

The Walls of Jerusalem are located in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, on the edge of the Central  Plateau. It is a wild and inspiring place, that has relatively easy access via walking tracks and stunning rocky peaks and alpine lakes.

It is a hugely popular hiking destination and the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service has been trying to find the right balance between building track infrastructure to reduce walker impact and keeping the wild nature of the Walls.

There are now plans for additional walker infrastructure and there is an opportunity to make a submission about these proposals.

Continue reading “Proposed new walker infrastructure for Walls of Jerusalem”

Lake Malbena appeal dismissed in the Supreme Court of Tasmania

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.

Continue reading “Lake Malbena appeal dismissed in the Supreme Court of Tasmania”

More ‘helicopter tourism’ in Tasmania?

The long running attempt by developers to establish a helicopter accessed ‘eco lodge’ on Halls Island in Lake Malbena in Tasmania’s Central Plateau is part of a larger agenda to open up areas of wilderness and World Heritage to new commercial tourism operations.

The proposal is disturbing on it’s own – it would allow the developer to have exclusive use of the island. But according to Fishers and Walkers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania, there are plans underway to allow larger areas that could be opened up to ‘helicopter tourism’. They say:

“This (map) is the world heritage zoning for the Western Lakes. All the orange and yellow is fair game for helicopter tourism. The zones were amended to suit development proposals”.

The map comes from the World Heritage Area management plan.

This is incredibly disturbing.

Please follow FAWAHAT to find out more and get involved in the campaign against private tourism developments in wild places in Tasmania.

 

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