Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
The proposal to privatise Lake Malbena inside the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area attracted overwhelming opposition and no public support in the single formal opportunity provided for comment.
Freedom of Information documents obtained by the Mercury reveal more than 900 submissions were put in to the Federal assessment of the proposal and every single one was opposed to the Liberals’ move to privatise this wilderness gem.
Among the strongest submissions in opposition to the proposal, the Anglers Alliance of Tasmania who represent 26,000 anglers. Their voice too has been ignored by State and Federal Liberal governments.
The FOI documents make it clear not only was the development approved despite having no public support, the decision was made on the basis of incomplete information provided by the proponent.
The Federal approval of the project failed to confirm the number of helicopter flights, which - along with the devastating loss of wilderness values - are a major concern for thousands of Tasmanian anglers.
How can the Federal Government determine there will be manageable impacts on wilderness values, when its decision was made in ignorance of the likely extent of helicopter use for the development and unarguable degradation of wilderness values.
We still can’t be absolutely sure what is involved with this privatisation push. Will those Tasmanians who venture in to our globally significant World Heritage Area for a tranquil wilderness experience have to face thirty, sixty, 120 or 240 helicopter flights to contend with in a single year?
The approval documents also bring into further question the State Liberals’ dealings on the Lake Malbena proposal.
The project proposed for the Walls of Jerusalem National Park came out of the Liberals’ secret Expressions of Interest process. It has only grown in negative impact and murkiness in the three years since.
It was only ten days ago that Tasmanians discovered it included a lease over all of Halls Island, and that they would be locked out in favour of wealthy tourists.
The privatisation of Tasmania’s protected areas and the destruction of wilderness will be Will Hodgman’s legacy. The Liberals only seem to be interested in facilitating corporate interests at the expense of public enjoyment and the environment.
In the process, they are alienating a growing constituency of concern and anger among Tasmanians who would not by any measure call themselves greenies. These are people who just love the wilderness in their backyard. They can see it being stolen before their disbelieving eyes and they’re determined to protect it for all to enjoy.