Stop new tourism infrastructure in World Heritage

Lk-Malbena-LEvans.jpgTasmania is blessed with beautiful and intact landscapes and an impressive network of national parks. However, World Heritage Areas and national parks have long been targeted by developers who want to establish commercial tourist operations in a number of places (check here for a current list of proposed developments). One of these proposals would see helicopter tourism inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in central Tasmania at Halls Island in Lake Malbena.

You have a chance to say NO to this development.

At a number of points in Australian history, when state governments have failed to protect local environments, the federal government has stepped in. The campaign to stop a dam being built on the lower Franklin River is a classic example of this - where the Tasmanian government was supporting environmental vandalism and the Prime Minister moved to stop the dam. The federal government is presented with another chance to act, in the case of the current proposal for the Walls of Jerusalem.

Under federal law, wilderness should be protected and the first of many wilderness development proposals for Tasmania have been ‘referred’ to Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg for assessment. This one is the thin end of the wedge!

What’s proposed?

There is a proposal for the development of a ‘very top-end of the market’ luxury hut, accommodation buildings and helipad at Lake Malbena in the World Heritage listed Walls of Jerusalem National Park. It is being proposed by a company called Wild Drake. This proposal has only got to this point because of changes to management rules, weak state government policies, and the deliberate exclusion of the public from assessment processes.

But the federal referral provides the community with a chance to have a say on whether the project should proceed. Every approval of private development in a national park sets a further precedent that makes future proposals more likely to be approved.

Please take action

Cut and paste the following letter (making whatever changes you wish to) and email to: epbc.referrals@environment.gov.au

With a heading like: Comment on WILD DRAKE PTY LTD proposal (2018/8177)

Submissions close on 19 July 2018.

This letter is courtesy of The Wilderness Society (TWS).

For background information, please check the TWS website or the Tasmanian National Parks Association website.

You can also sign on to the TWS submission here.

You can find out more about the referral here.

DRAFT LETTER

Referrals Gateway

Environment Assessment Branch

Department of the Environment

GPO Box 787 Canberra ACT 2601

I write regarding the referral regarding the proposal from WILD DRAKE PTY LTD/Tourism and Recreation/Halls Island/Tasmania/Halls Island Standing Camp, Lake Malbena, Tas.

Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park is recognised as being of high wilderness character. Wilderness is an important World Heritage value ‘which underpins the success in meeting all four criteria for a natural property and is the basis for the maintenance of its integrity’. (TWWHA Management Plan, p. 43)

The World Heritage Committee sought strong provisions to protect wilderness from tourism development. In response, the Turnbull Government has given unconditional assurances wilderness will be protected via management planning and other mechanisms, such as federal environment law.

The construction of new buildings, such as the hut and accommodation buildings proposed by Wild Drake Pty Ltd would have a demonstrable negative impact on the ‘naturalness’ and ‘remoteness from settlement’ components of wilderness. Similarly, the establishment of a private, commercial helipad will impact ‘time remoteness’ and degrade wilderness.

Given the significance of wilderness to this World Heritage property and the negative impact this proposal would have on wilderness, the Minister should be satisfied that the action to construct and operate private, commercial accommodation at Halls Island in Lake Malbena is clearly unacceptable. The proposal will have a significant impact on an attribute of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area that ‘embodies, manifests, shows, or contributes to the Outstanding Universal Value and/or integrity of the property’. (TWWHA Management Plan, p. 28)

I do not believe any proposed management actions can mitigate these impacts on wilderness, making the project clearly unacceptable.

Yours sincerely,

 

[HEADER IMAGE: Lake Malbena, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, via Tasmanian National Parks Association. Photo: Lyndsey Evan]