Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
The Federal Environment Minister’s determination that the Lake Malbena luxury helicopter tourism development warrants a formal assessment is welcome.
The likely impacts of this development to the unique values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) are undeniable, and unacceptable to Tasmanians who love the wilderness.
This is a critical opportunity for Tasmanians to have a say on the proposed privatisation and development of Halls Island at Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
This has come about as a result of a Federal Court challenge to the Lake Malbena approval. Minister Ley must ensure this is a rigorous and transparent process.
Tasmanians from all walks of life, who love this island’s unique wild places, have been denied a voice throughout this process. This is the opportunity for a reset.
This should have been a controlled action under national environment laws from the beginning. It wasn’t, because Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service, on behalf of the developer, lodged a Level Three Reserve Activity Assessment under the EPBC Act, which meant no public consultation was required.
Halls Island was in the Wilderness Zone of the TWWHA, before the Liberals rezoned it to suit the developer. From the very beginning, this should have had the highest level of rigorous environmental assessment – not lines redrawn on a map to suit a private profiteer.
This development involves the privatisation of an entire island in the World Heritage Area and hundreds of helicopter flights in and out of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park every year.
Fishers, walkers and wilderness lovers are determined to defend Tasmania’s protected areas from privatisation and commercial tourism developments. They will never give up on Lake Malbena.