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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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World Heritage

What’s happening with the Tyndall Range walk proposal?

Mountain Journal has previously reported on the planned walking track through the Tyndall Range in western Tasmania. The TAS government wants to see it developed as the next ‘iconic walk’ in the state. This will mean considerable walking track development in what is currently a remote and undeveloped area, and could bring up to 10,000 people a year into a delicate alpine environment. As stated by the Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA), ‘construction of any hardened track on the Tyndall Range and Plateau would mar the landscape and destroy its wild and natural character’.

This is an update on the status of this proposal.

Continue reading “What’s happening with the Tyndall Range walk proposal?”

No Fast Track for dodgy developers in Tasmania

The community continues to oppose plans by the Tasmanian government to radically increase private commercial development in the state’s national parks and World Heritage Areas.

However, the government continues to push ahead with it’s anti environment agenda. Now it’s proposed Major Project Legislation is back for a third time and this version should ring alarm bells for everyone concerned about protecting wild places.

Main concerns about the legislation when it comes to wild places like World Heritage Areas include:

  • The Major Projects Bill gives the minister total power to declare a major project which removes it from the normal local council planning process, and virtually any development that would normally go to a local council could be declared a major project.
  • All controversial projects around Tasmania such as the cable car on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington or the Lake Malbena Helicopter proposal could be fast tracked.
  • The community will have no right to appeal against the approval of a major project and will have limited right to have input.

Please make a submission – we have until May 15 2020.

Continue reading “No Fast Track for dodgy developers in Tasmania”

Parks closed during COVID-19 shutdown

WED April 8: As part of the shutdown to help ‘flatten the curve’ and reduce the numbers of C-19 infections, a large number of areas in the High Country are being closed over Easter and beyond.

Government advice continues to be ‘If you can stay home, you must stay home’, meaning no travel for holidays, camping, etc.

VICTORIA

In Eastern Victoria
• Alpine National Park
• Baw Baw National Park
• Howqua Hills Historic Area
• Mount Buffalo National Park

Are all closed from midnight on April 8 ‘until further notice’. Further details here.

NSW

NPWS has closed all campgrounds, camping, on-park accommodation venues and visitor centres in Kosciuszko National Park until further notice.

This includes ‘wild and backcountry camping’ in all national parks.

In line with government restrictions on non-essential travel, the following iconic attractions in Kosciuszko National Park are closed for Easter:

  • The summit of Mount Kosciuszko
  • Thredbo Valley track
  • Kosciuszko Lookout
  • Cootapatamba Lookout

Further information here.

ACT

All visitor facilities within the ACT Parks and Conservation Service managed estate have been closed until further notice in response to a temporary shut-down of non-essential services across the ACT.

To stop the spread of COVID-19, the following facilities are closed to maintain social distancing measures:

  • Tidbinbilla Visitor Information Centre
  • Namadgi Visitor Information Centre
  • Woods Reserve
  • All ACT public campgrounds
  • All playgrounds managed by ACT Parks and Conservation Service

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve will also be closed, along with Namadgi National Park, which remains closed due to safety reasons following the Orroral Valley bushfire

All other parks and reserves across the ACT will remain open providing the community access to nature for recreation, health and wellbeing. Park visitors must observe social distancing whilst visiting parks and reserves. This means keeping 1.5 metres from others, avoiding large groups of people, avoiding peak usage periods and practicing good hygiene always.

Further details here.

TASMANIA

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has closed all national parks and reserves to public recreational use.

The closure of parks and reserves was in line with Tasmanian and Federal government measures to discourage the community from undertaking non-essential travel during this time. These closures include Wellington Park.

This includes:

  • National Parks
  • State Reserves
  • Nature Reserves
  • Game Reserves
  • Conservation Areas
  • Nature Recreation Areas
  • Regional Reserves
  • Historic sites.

All activities including day or overnight walks, mountain biking, hunting, other recreational activities and camping are now closed to the public until further notice.

Further information.

 

 

Fast tracking development in Tasmania’s wilderness

The ongoing attempts by the Tasmanian government to encourage commercial developments in the state’s national parks and wilderness areas continues. While the high profile ‘helicopter tourism’ proposal planned for Lake Malbena on the Central Plateau has dominated the conversation in the last few months, a broader threat to the integrity of the reserve system is becoming apparent.

This relates to the draft Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Major Projects) Bill 2020, which could facilitate these type of developments by ‘fast tracking’ such proposals.

The Wilderness Society condemned the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s ‘plan to strip away Tasmania’s already questionable planning safeguards, to further reduce the public’s role in planning and fast-track development proposals in national parks’.

They say there are ‘30 or so national park privatisation proposals’ (commercial tourism) in the pipeline for the World Heritage Area’. If this legislation gets through parliament, there is a fear that many of these proposals could be fast-tracked and with very little opportunity for the public to have input to the decision making process.

Continue reading “Fast tracking development in Tasmania’s wilderness”

Malbena Rally: Rewild Launceston!

The long campaign against commercial tourist developments in national parks and World Heritage Areas continues.

A flash point  in this campaign is the ‘eco tourism’ development planned for Lake Malbena will introduce ‘helicopter tourism’ to the central plateau of Tasmania. Approvals have been ‘waved through’ by the federal government, and then been bogged down in legal processes.

To highlight opposition to ‘helicopter tourism’, The Wilderness Society and Walkers and Fishers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania have organised a rally in Launceston on Sunday April 5.

Continue reading “Malbena Rally: Rewild Launceston!”

Does Victoria need a new remote area volunteer firefighting force?

On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2019, a front brought a smattering of rain across the Victorian mountains, barely enough to damp down the dust. But the associated lightning storm started dozens of new fires in a long belt from Mt Buller to the NSW border.

Forest Fire Management crews swung into action and many of these were quickly put out. Aerial bombing dealt with others. But there were simply too many, and some grew into massive blazes, including the fires that went on to devastate the forests and landscapes of East Gippsland in coming weeks.

This raises the question: Do we need a new remote area volunteer firefighting force in Victoria who could help suppress lightning strike fires before they take off?

Continue reading “Does Victoria need a new remote area volunteer firefighting force?”

Reclaim Malbena Hobart update

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.

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. There was then a challenge in the Supreme Court, followed by an appeal.

There is still a long way to go before the proposal can proceed, and the community campaign against the proposal keeps growing.

Hobart people are encouraged to attend a public meeting to hear about what’s happening and how to get involved in the campaign against this development. Wednesday February 12.

Continue reading “Reclaim Malbena Hobart update”

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”

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