Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps



Community protests start on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington

Developers continue to push their controversial plan to build a cable car up the main face of kunanyi (also known as Mt Wellington), above Hobart. But community opposition to the plan also continues to grow.

The developer may start test drilling soon. As a result, the community is mobilising and held the first ‘on ground’ protests (there have previously been rallies, meetings, etc). Recently the residents group Respect the Mountain hosted a picnic at the site of the proposed base station for the cable car.

They report:

We had a ‘great picnic in the peoples park today. We marked out the exact size of the MWCC’s planned ‘cable car (bus)’, this is 78 people inside that area on the slope / fire break where they plan to build their ‘base station’. Great spot for a picnic. Dumb spot for a car park and massive ‘base station’.

There’s plenty more to come – check the Respect the Mountain page for updates and to get involved.


TAS fire update – and vegetation impact assessment

Bushfires have burnt more than 90,000 hectares of land in Tasmania this summer. The Gell River fire in the south west is still burning. There have been fears expressed that large areas of fire sensitive vegetation have been impacted. An initial desk top assessment carried out by researchers at the University of Tasmania suggested that the areas of these vegetation types affected was very small.

Now the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service has provided an update on what types of vegetation was involved in the fires and the likely impacts on what they define as ‘Extreme fire sensitive communities’. Their assessment is that very small areas of

Continue reading “TAS fire update – and vegetation impact assessment”

Your mountain needs you

The campaign against the controversial proposal to build a cable car up the east face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, in Hobart, continues. It’s highly likely that this week the premier of Tasmania, Peter Gutwein, will sign off on the permit to allow Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) to begin drilling at 32 sites on the mountain. This means that work on the mountain could commence this month.

Local group Respect the Mountain – no cable car has issued a call for help at this pivotal moment in the campaign.

Continue reading “Your mountain needs you”

What part of ‘No’ don’t they understand?

The public debate about the plan to build a cable car up the east face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington in Hobart continues to rage. The developer intends to do test drilling soon, and local residents group Respect the Mountain – No Cable Car – is planning to protest against this.

A discussion has now flared about indigenous attitudes to the proposal.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has stated that a cable car will create a “deep wound across our hearts”. In what can only be seen as an insensitive move, cable car proponent Adrian Bold has said that the Mt Wellington Cable Car (MWCC) company are “investing heavily in an architectural layout to tell their story when they are ready to engage”. He’s been trying to ring and says they won’t return his calls, and describes this as a “sad situation”. The whole colonisation process in Australia has seen colonisers refuse to listen to indigenous people. You would hope that in the 21st century, corporations and governments have learnt to listen. ‘No’ clearly means ‘no’. To refuse to accept this position, on the assumption that Aboriginal groups will eventually ‘come around’ is an approach that should have been left behind centuries ago.

Residents step up campaign against the cable car

As previously reported, the residents group Respect the Mountain – No Cable Car has announced it will protest any attempt to drill test sites on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington as part of the plan to build a cable car up the mountain. They say “when the drilling rigs come we will be there. The Government and the investors have got this one wrong”.

They have asked people to sign up for non violent protests (you can do so here) and offered training for interested community members (the first session is happening on Sunday March 3). There has been a ‘dress rehearsal on the organ pipes’ to demonstrate the group’s intent to oppose this unpopular development proposal (see the header image).

The location of the drill sites is available here.

The Respect the Mountain – No Cable Car facebook age is available here.


Central Highlands Council rejects tourism development in World Heritage Area

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.

Continue reading “Central Highlands Council rejects tourism development in World Heritage Area”

Remote area firefighters call for more resources

Firefighters at the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife service are calling for more specialised local staff to fight remote fires.

During the 2016 fires that devastated fire sensitive vegetation in Tasmania, there were a number of suggestions made by concerned observers that the Parks and Wildlife Services’ firefighting efforts appeared ‘poorly prioritised’ in terms of early response to the fires in remote areas. According to the Tasmanian National Parks Association, fire response prescriptions prioritising rare and threatened fire sensitive species were not ‘effectively implemented’. Lack of early intervention may have resulted in these fires becoming larger than they otherwise would have been. Similar claims have emerged with the 2019 fires.

Continue reading “Remote area firefighters call for more resources”

‘Respect the Mountain’ calls for peaceful protest to defend kunanyi/ Mt Welligton

The community campaign to stop a cable car from being built up the eastern face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington has reached a new phase.

With the state government intervening to over ride local council concerns, there is the risk that exploratory drilling could start on the mountain at any time.

In response, residents group ‘Respect the Mountain – No Cable Car’ have announced that they will oppose any drilling through organising peaceful protests. They say ‘when the drilling rigs come, we will be there. The Government and the investors have got this one wrong’.

You can sign up to express your interest in being involved in peaceful direct action through this link. Respect the Mountain reports that several hundred people have already signed up.

There will be a training day for people who may be interested in joining peaceful actions on Sunday March 3. Details here. You can register for the session here.

Further details on the campaign are available here.

Fire risk a grave threat to cable car proposal

As the long debate continues about whether a developer should be allowed to build a cable car up the face of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, Bernard Lloyd reminds us about the primary threat to the mountain, which is posed by wildfire. Regular fires on the mountain have huge implications for the proposal to build a cable car.

In terms of combustibility, the forest on the mountain’s eastern face carries the greatest fuel load. The cable car is planned to be built up the eastern face.

  Continue reading “Fire risk a grave threat to cable car proposal”

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