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Undermining Assessment of Developments within Reserves

13 June 2019

Dr WOODRUFF question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

Your Government is facilitating the exploitation of wilderness and other natural reserves across the state. You are bending every rule and writing new ones to enable private profit making of lands owned by the Tasmanian people. From the 52 secret developments in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to the commercialisation of Rosny Hill and a cable car on kunanyi/Mt Wellington, our natural places are under siege. The Central Highlands Council voted against a private development being built at Halls Island on Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. The developers who lost are appealing to the Resource Management Appeal Tribunal, to be held on 24 June.

Is it not true your Government has joined this appeal to remove the right of local councils, on behalf of their communities, to have a say about developments within reserves within their jurisdiction? How do you justify yourself to Tasmanians who love our protected areas and will be again footing the bill for your politicised pro-development agenda?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for what is a re-run of similar questions asked, including in Estimates. I have outlined at length the processes of how the Lake Malbena project is to be assessed, including the additional elements that have been applied, not only through government processes but by the proponents themselves self-referring to the Commonwealth under the EPBC Act. That was not required of them but they did, which allowed that project to be further assessed.

In relation to the others, and this is where it does sound like the Greens are suggesting that we should intervene in matters that are appropriately assessed by local government authorities. We will not do that. We respect the right of our local councils to undertake their responsibilities and exercise their functions and to serve as the approvals process and decision-making bodies where it is required of them. We have added additional layers of assessment to processes which are facilitated, projects where the expressions of interest in the tourism space are low impact but high quality, high grade tourism operations.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order 45, relevance, Madam Speaker, the Premier has talked about additional layers and there aren't any. If he has additional layers could he please tell the House?

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order.

Mr HODGMAN - Madam Speaker, I have outlined at length and am happy to do so again, all that is expected of those who not only progress through the EOI process. Yes, we respect their intellectual property. We believe they should be able to bring forward what are world-class ventures and operations in our wilderness areas and have for many years been possible under Tasmanian laws. We have wanted to facilitate and bring forward ideas to help us be the eco-tourism capital of the world, to support jobs in our regional communities. But we will not do, as the Greens suggest in their question, in any way interfere with local government authorities that have these responsibilities. We have every confidence in them discharging those functions.