Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader and Parks spokesperson
One of the great coastal wilderness areas is diminished, with the launch today of Tasmanian Walking Company’s luxury lodges in the Tasman National Park.
What’s happened to the values of the Park as a result of the construction of high impact lodges, clearing of trees and destructive clearing for a helipad that won’t be used, is a travesty.
The privatisation of parts of the Three Capes Walk reveals the extent of the Liberals’ plan for Tasmania’s wild places.
To describe these high impact constructions as ‘eco-tourism’ is false advertising.
The luxury, highly constructed huts sit on now cleared tracts of coastline in the Tasman National Park. Just because something is inside a protected area doesn’t make it environmentally friendly or sensitive.
The TWC lodge which can be clearly seen from a distance on the track to Cape Hauy is high visual impact and anything but sensitive to the place and its values.
To add insult to public and visual injury, a huge cloud of secrecy hangs over the exclusive arrangement between the Tas Walking Company and the Liberal government.
All of these proposals are on public lands. Tasmanians have a right to know the details of this privatisation of their protected area.
There is no argument for commercial in confidence when the business deal involves a public asset and, it’s a monopoly for a single, favoured private operator.
The damage to the Tasman National Park is what the Hodgman Government’s Parks agenda looks like, and it should serve as a warning.
The Premier’s claim that the TWC’s tourism enterprise is ‘sustainably developed and sensitively managed’ does not stand up. This is a private operation that has cleared sections of the once-protected, priceless Tasman National Park to build a upper class playground.
The TWC were picked by the Liberals to run a $3,000 a pop monopoly on one of the country’s most stunning coastlines, and they claim this is ‘conservation-based tourism’. What, exactly, is the TWC conserving other than their profits.
Conservation protects the natural values of an area. It doesn’t clear it for luxury lodges or for helipads that are no longer required.
Tasmanians seeing these images won’t buy the ‘low impact’ Liberal spin. It’s clear what Will Hodgman’s legacy will be because the pictures speak for themselves – destruction of wilderness and keeping the public in the dark to please corporate interests.