Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
The protection of Tasmania's globally unique wilderness assets is taking a distant second place to the desires of a selected handful of developers under the Liberal Government.
While Matthew Groom's secretive Expressions of Interest process takes place behind closed doors, the Parks and Wildlife Service is being politicised by the Liberal agenda to exploit the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
In its submission to the Tasmanian Planning Commission in response to more than 7500 public representations, the Parks and Wildlife Service makes it clear the Liberals' political decision to remove the Wilderness zoning from the TWWHA was a mistake.
That said, the recognition and consideration of wilderness values in assessing development proposals in the TWWHA continues to be downplayed in the PWS submission.
Worryingly, the PWS submission also proposes that the new TWWHA management plan will be a vehicle for inappropriate commercial infrastructure in wilderness areas, reflecting Minister Groom's plan to exploit the wilderness for the profit of a few.
As an example, the PWS submission proposes to set 'a cap' of six huts along the wild and unspoiled South Coast Track, where there is currently no built accommodation and where, conveniently, an EOI proponent wishes to build up to five huts.
As another example, the PWS submission proposes to cap the number of private huts on the Overland Track at twelve, doubling the number of huts currently on the Track and dovetailing nicely with a selected proponent's plans.
This is a clear corruption of process.
The objective of the World Heritage Management Plan cannot be to facilitate inappropriate development that damages wilderness values.
It is alarming that the World Heritage Area Management Plan continues to be drafted in a manner that will enable increased commercial development in the TWWHA.
There is clear need for the Tasmanian Planning Commission to hold public hearings in to future management of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The Tasmanian people are entitled to have a say on the Liberals' plans to exploit the wilderness for the profit of a few favoured developers.
*a copy of the Parks and Wildlife Service submission to the Tasmanian Planning Commission can be found here: http://www.iplan.tas.gov.au/Temp/TrimDownload_774627.PDF