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Lake Malbena - Anglers Alliance Tasmania's Concerns about the TWWHA

12 June 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for PARKS, Mr HODGMAN

In your previous answer you effectively dismissed the concerns of the  Anglers Alliance Tasmania in relation to your Government's push to degrade wilderness values in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, the only world heritage property with the word 'wilderness' in its name. They were appalled to hear at recent statewide meetings that your Government's Coordinator-General had recommended approval of the Lake Malbena project in September 2015, two and half years ago, despite it being prohibited under the 1999 management plan. The Coordinator-General's advice to the then minister, Matthew Groom, was to give the then prohibited project the tick while a new development plan was finalised, as it was in 2016 after your Government's failed attempts to remove the wilderness zoning to facilitate commercial development.

Do you understand why anglers believe you are overseeing a corrupted process that prioritises exploitation over protection?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question which points to the fact that this process is a long, complicated and robust assessment for a proposal of this type. Rightly so because it does concern a precious part of our state.

As the member said, and I indicated initially, the proposal that is the subject of the question has been publicly advertised on the Office of the Coordinator-General's website since 2015. It has been in the planning and assessment phase for a number of years. It has to gain all the necessary state and Commonwealth approvals. The proposal is allowed for under the 2016 Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area management plan. The plan was approved by the Australian Government. It has been accepted by the World Heritage Committee. The proponent is also having this matter assessed through the EPBC process. It is providing additional information in relation to that when, I am advised, it may not be necessary, including a second period of allowing for public comment. The Parks and Wildlife Service is awaiting advice from the Australian Government on any further assessment or conditions that may need to be considered before the RAA can be finalised.

That is a snapshot and some of the elements of the process that is being undertaken by the proponents. We have ensured the TWHA plan is contemporary and that it protects, appropriately conserves the outstanding universal value of the area while providing opportunities for tourism developments. The zone boundaries within the TWWHA plan were developed following extensive consultation and public input to say they have been approved. Wilderness values are managed primarily through the wilderness zone, which applies to the vast majority of the TWWHA, equating to around 82 per cent, and within this zone built infrastructure and mechanised access is of course prohibited.

Ms O'Connor - It is not.

Mr HODGMAN - I want to ask rhetorically the member who asked the question, because she has asked me whether I have an interest in the concerns of anglers and others who attended the public morning. I would hope that if they are apprised of all the facts they would be comforted by the level of scrutiny and assessment that is being required.

Ms O'Connor - The anglers are not.

Mr HODGMAN - I note the Labor member for Braddon nodding in agreement with the Greens here, clearly not supporting the proponent, not supporting sensitive development in our World Heritage and wilderness areas.

If the member who asked the question is so concerned about people flying in and out of this area by helicopter and if she is so worried about those who have expressed concerns at this public forum, what does she say to the fact that earlier this month Bob Brown, no less, sought approval for a helicopter ride across the Tarkine to showcase the coast to an international visitor? It is all right for Bob Brown to take an international mate and fly across the Tarkine and then complain about everyone else who might like to do so. I ask the member who raised this matter, what does Bob Brown say, or what do you say about Bob Brown degrading the environmental values? Can you please explain? This is classic Greens hypocrisy.

Ms O'Connor - I am very happy to explain if the Premier would like to give me an opportunity. That was a single flight by Mr Brown and he sought approval from Parks -

Mr HODGMAN - Just one flight.

Ms O'Connor - and you are opening this area up to helicopter flights aplenty, every day.

Madam SPEAKER - Member for Denison, it is not appropriate for you to be giving information at the moment. Please resume your seat.

Mr HODGMAN - That is the hypocrisy of them. They ask me a question but not ask that same question of the Greens' spiritual leader, Bob Brown. It is fine for him to fly across the Tarkine but not allowed for anyone else. It is classic Greens hypocrisy.

Ms O'Connor - What a load of crap!

Madam SPEAKER - I ask the member for Denison to please use more temperate language.