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Lake Malbena Decision a Mess of the Liberals’ Making

13 Nov 2019

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson

The Federal Court’s decision to set aside the determination that the Lake Malbena proposal was not a ‘controlled action’ under national environment law sits solely with the Liberals.

This is a mess that was created by the Hodgman Government through its secretive and unpopular Expressions of Interest process for commercial development in public protected areas.

The Judge found that the reason the Federal Government decided not to examine wilderness values or the impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage values was because the sadly politicised Parks and Wildlife Service, split the development in to two stages then stitched up a Reserve Activity Assessment which told the Federal Government everything would be fine.

Everything is not fine. It was a flawed decision that ignored matters of national environmental significance.

The Liberals are approving developments through Reserve Activity Assessments, which are written in secret and largely by proponents, through Parks. The Federal Court was clear, the non-statutory RAA process has no weight in law.

The Liberals have politicised the Parks and Wildlife Service to the extent that it is bending over backwards to progress developments and enable the work of proponents.

The Federal Court found the Parks and Wildlife Service’s decision to split the Lake Malbena proposal in two was entirely to get around the federal environment laws.

This is shocking. The agency established to look after our public protected areas is helping private developers to get around national environment laws. It is a disgrace.

There are developments being approved in secret right now through a process which has been found deeply wanting by the Federal Court. Proponents who are part of EOI process should take note.

The Hodgman Government has politicised the Parks and Wildlife Service, alienated people who love Tasmania’s protected areas and been whacked down by the Federal Court.

This decision confirms it’s time for a statutory process that prioritises the protection of natural and cultural values, and gives Tasmanians a real say.