Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
2673 Tasmanians have signed on to a petition from the Wilderness Guides Association to stop the commercial exploitation of national parks, reserves and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Signatories are calling for a halt to the divisive and ineffective ‘unlock the parks’ policy - and a complete rethink of the flawed Reserve Activity Assessment process for assessing developments in public protected places.
Processes that include using the most bizarre methodologies to assess wilderness quality, such as the existence of a toilet in a public campground being used by developers to justify the construction of two-storey luxury lodges with helicopter pads, hot showers, jetties and boat sheds that will flatten half a hectare of wilderness and jeopardise priceless Aboriginal heritage.
The brilliant people who organised this petition take care of adventurous tourists all over Tasmania. They are highly skilled and committed nature educators and custodians. They understand the history of our island, its flora, fauna, geology, and culture and they impart this knowledge to thousands of visitors each year.
There are currently dozens of stalled projects under the Expressions of Interest (EOI) policy, going nowhere due to secretive processes and sustained pushback from Tasmanians who will protect their wild places, no matter what.
The Rockliff Government needs to admit their EOI policy is a failure and scrap it.
Tourism in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and other protected public lands, needs to be done with the greatest sensitivity and respect. The guides know that, bushwalkers know that, the Tasmanian Aboriginal community know that, so do plenty of Tasmanians from all walks of life, and it's time the Rockliff Government started listening.