The new federal environment minister, Melissa Price, has approved a controversial proposal to allow ‘helicopter tourism’ and a small commercial operation inside the Walls of Jerusalem national park in Central Tasmania.
Having a new federal environment minister is an opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button on particular issues that come under the minister’s jurisdiction. The decision to approve this application can only be seen as a disappointing early move from the new government under PM Scott Morrison.
The minister’s department considered ‘that the proposal is not likely to have significant impacts on any nationally protected environmental matters’. However the proposal includes plans for 120 helicopter flights a year on to Halls Island inside the park.
The final stage in the approvals process rests with the Central Highlands Council.