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Lake Malbena - Federal Court Judgment

13 November 2019

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT, PARKS and HERITAGE, Mr GUTWEIN

Your Government's corrupted and unpopular expressions of interest process for development in public protected areas has been dealt another blow. We have the Federal Court judgment here and it is damning. Will you admit you and your agency were complicit in engineering on behalf of the proponent a flawed Commonwealth approval to get around the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and deny Aboriginal Tasmanians, anglers, bushwalkers, wilderness guides, conservationists and everyday Tasmanians a say on the Lake Malbena proposal?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question and begin by first of all rejecting outright the assertions that she has made. I have read the judgment; it is obvious that you have not.

The judgment, in simple terms, sets aside the current federal decision to allow the parties to negotiate on the conditions that were brought forward voluntarily by the proponent in the first place. For the member to characterise it as anything other, quite frankly takes us to exactly where the Greens want to be. That is, they want to have a full-frontal attack on a young Tasmanian family that is doing its best to establish a world-class tourism venture that will create jobs and opportunity for Tasmanians. It is a full-frontal attack by the Greens, the Wilderness Society and those others that would join with them.

Let me put some facts on the table. First and foremost, Halls Island has had a lease on it for a long period of time. It is not pristine wilderness. It sits within pristine wilderness, but Halls Island is not. It has had human intervention for a long period of time. What the Hacketts have proposed is to ensure that the public and those who want to visit the island can visit the island under their management plan. They have allowed for more Tasmanians to see the island than have seen it previously and, importantly, not have to carry their waste out because they will be able to use the very modest facilities that the Hacketts are intending to put in place on the island.

I reject outright your assertions. You should be called for what you are attempting to do and that is to simply bully, to frustrate, to take on a young Tasmanian family that is doing their very best under very difficult circumstances to establish a world-class tourism asset that will enable more people to see the best of Tasmania under appropriate circumstances. For her to characterise it, as she has, is misleading -

Ms O'Connor - You are hurting, and you deserve it. On this issue, you deserve it.

Mr GUTWEIN - Did that sound like I was hurting?