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World Heritage Area - Tourism Master Plan - Alleged Conflict of Interest
Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for TOURISM, HOSPITALITY and EVENTS, Mr HODGMAN
You failed to answer the question about your private consultant's conflict of interest with drafting the Tourism Master Plan. We know they have a conflict of interest because they openly advertised it on their website. They worked for the Tasmanian Walking Company on the Three Capes Track and the Cradle Mountain Gateway. The public have had no say on the corrupted EOI process. It has all been done by the Office of the Coordinator-General behind closed doors. Do you really intend to hand a tourism master plan to UNESCO that has been drafted by a party with such a direct conflict of interest?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Without wanting to restate the point I made at length in the previous answer, there are robust processes around the framework that considers EOIs. That is well established so I reject the assertions made by the member.
Dr Woodruff - It is totally corrupted. The public has had no say whatsoever in it.
Mr HODGMAN - That is entirely untrue.
Dr Woodruff - Are you kidding? That is true.
Mr HODGMAN - In relation to conflicts of interest that the member has asked me about, I want to place on record again that conflicts of interest, actual or perceived, can occur in the course of business. It is often commonplace, particularly in Tasmania where some work in specialist fields, that this can occur.
ERA Planning was awarded the contract for the development of the TWWHA Tourism Master Plan following an open and competitive tender process. ERA Planning was successful on the strength of their local Tasmanian context and knowledge, their proposed extensive consultation program, which included comprehensive engagement with Aboriginal communities, and also value for money. ERA Planning was the only local Tasmanian company to submit for the tender. Prior to being successful for the tender after the development of the TWWHA Tourism Master Plan, ERA Planning was engaged by a proponent who has been approved to progress to the next stage of approvals with their proposal within the TWWHA to provide planning services. These long-standing contractual arrangements with ERA were initially made in 2016.
Any relevant conflicts of interest have been declared and managed appropriately. ERA Planning has reallocated project management of the proponent's portfolio to ensure that it is independent of the project management for the TWWHA Tourism Master Plan. ERA has committed to not being engaged on any new project during the contract period for the TWWHA Tourism Master Plan.
I am satisfied from the advice I have received that all reasonable measures have been undertaken and any real or perceived conflicts of interest managed or mitigated appropriately.