You are here

Auditor General Confirms Corrupted EOI Process for Development in Protected Areas

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Tags: Parks, National Parks, Parks EOIs, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

The Auditor-General’s Report into the Expressions of Interest process for Tourism Investment Opportunities is a damning assessment of the EOI and Parks’ Reserve Activity Assessment (RAA) process. 

The Report confirms the EOI process is developer-driven. It also found the EOI panel is lacking in independence and skills, and the assessment process is designed in a way that allows for projects to be recommended for approval, despite failing two out of three assessment criteria.

The Auditor General found that potential conflicts of interest are not being managed, exposing flaws in the EOI assessment panel’s probity processes.

Disturbingly, while the Solicitor General advised that all individual proposals should be brought before him for review, this has not happened.  It begs the question.  Why?

The Auditor General’s report also pointed out, Tasmania is the only State to allow developments that are not compliant with Management Plans for protected areas.

The report also finds significant problems in the internal Parks’ Reserve Activity Assessment process, which is developer-driven. 

Of 22 Reserve Activity Assessments the Auditor General examined, only two had full documentation. 

A number of EOI proposals with incomplete documents and financial details were given high scores by the assessment panel.

This would not be acceptable in a proper planning process.

In the case of other assessments that go through a normal planning process, this would not be acceptable and would result in an application stalling until the documentation was made available. Not, however, when there is a flawed RAA being presented to a planning authority as part of the secretive EOI process. 

It’s even more concerning that an RAA process is not appealable, no matter how many flaws and deficiencies it contains.

The whole EOI process stinks – a truth Tasmanians from all over increasingly understand. 

Bushwalkers, fly fishers, recreational users and lovers of our wilderness increasingly do not support the EOI process. Now the Auditor General has revealed the deep, unfixable flaws at its secretive heart.