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Liberals' Development-at-any-Cost Stance Threatens Coles Bay

28 April 2016

Thursday 28 April 2016

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

[4.21 p.m.]

Last year the proposed changes to the Freycinet National Park were explained as necessary for the Freycinet Lodge to expand, as per the proposal submitted to your Office of the Coordinator-General.  The Freycinet Lodge sits in one very specific section of the much larger Coles Bay Visitor Services Zone.  It has since emerged that the proposed changes in this distorted development-at-any-cost-process will do much more than that.  The proposed changes open up the entire Coles Bay Visitor Services Zone to development.  Is this deliberate or a drafting mistake?  If it is deliberate why have you not been more open with the Tasmanian people about your true intentions for Freycinet?  If it is a mistake will you fix it?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I absolutely assure you that the Government is committed to doing everything to make sure that we get an outcome at Freycinet that is genuinely respectful of the natural and cultural values of the area.  It is a special place for people who enjoy that part of Tasmania on a regular basis.  I have to put myself in that category.  I have been to Freycinet every summer of my life and it is a very special place.  I understand why people have that connection.  We are going through a process in relation to the management plan.  That has been a public process and we have received feedback from the community -

It is clear from feedback that people want to make sure there is a good outcome that is sensitive and appropriate.  We will go through the process in accordance with the statute and make sure we take that on board.  It is not the intent of the Government in undertaking that review of the management plan for wide scale development in that area.  I know there have been people who have been concerned about, for example, the potential for development along Richardsons Beach and that is not going to happen.

We are going to take it on board, as has been consistent with all of these processes.  I have made it very clear that we are genuinely open to consultation and feedback to make sure that we get the right outcome for the people of Tasmania.  I will say that the potential for re-investment in that area is much needed.  It can help ensure that we can present that extraordinary place to the greatest extent possible in a way we can be proud of and in a way that can be genuinely sustainable into the future.  We will ensure we do it in a way that is genuinely sensitive to the natural and cultural values.