Tasmania is blessed with beautiful and intact landscapes and excellent protection of much of the state. World Heritage Areas and national parks have long been coveted by developers and have been resisted – with varying degrees of success – over the years. The old saying ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom’ is certainly true in a place like Tasmania.
Under the current very pro ‘development’ Liberal government in Tasmania there are no end of proposals for private developments in national parks and other parts of the conservation network (check here for a current list).
Mountain Journal has covered some of these, including:
- the cable car planned for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington,
- the walking track into Lake Geeves in the south west of the state, and
- the gondola and re-development that is being proposed for the Cradle Valley in the north of the state.
There is also a new proposal being pursued which would see helicopter tourism at Lake Malbena, inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in central Tasmania.
Ellen Coulter, writing for the ABC reports that the ‘UNESCO World Heritage Committee has raised concerns about Tasmania’s wilderness areas being rezoned for tourism developments and called on the State Government to speed up a Tourism Master Plan requested in 2015.
In the document, the committee also raised concerns about the State Government’s rezoning of some wilderness areas to allow for tourism opportunities and wider aircraft access.
In November 2018, it was reported that the Morrison government ‘waved through approval for a luxury tourist development and helipad in the pristine Tasmanian wilderness despite three official expert bodies lashing the proposal or calling for it to be rejected, documents show.
The decision threatens to open the floodgate to a host of other private tourism operations proposed for the World Heritage-listed area – an encroachment the United Nations has warned may damage the internationally-renowned natural treasure. Conservationists say the government ruling proves federal environment laws must be overhauled’. Full story from the ABC available here.
Lake Malbena proposal
A company called Wild Drake’s plans to build and operate a small standing camp on Halls Island, Lake Malbena, on the eastern edge of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
The camp would support activities ‘including kayaking, hill walks, bushwalking, cultural interpretation, wildlife viewing, poetry, art, botany, bird watching, astronomy and “citizen science” trips with guest experts in science, art and culture’.
“The primary theme of the project is one of cultural immersion …,” documents lodged with the federal environment department by Wild Drake said.
“Key target markets will be discerning travellers looking for new discoveries, deep heritage and strong narratives, natural encounters and lean luxury.”
The company said it would be a small-scale operation aimed at the “very top end of the market”.
Customers would be flown to the island by helicopter from Derwent Bridge.
Background information on the proposal is available here.
Check here for a range of articles on the proposal that have been covered by Mountain Journal.
Lake Geeves proposal
A group of investors are proposing a track to a remote wilderness lake at the base of Federation Peak in Tasmania’s South-West (Check here for our previous report).
They have developed a consortium called the Geeves Effect, and are pushing for a 2.5 km track extension to ‘provide walkers with views of Lake Geeves’. They say that ‘the bushwalk could rival Cradle Mountain and Three Capes Tracks as a tourism magnet’.
It is being opposed by a range of environment groups.
Previous Mountain Journal stories are available here.