Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
Parks’ Minister, Matthew Groom, is overseeing a sham consultation process to enable increased exploitation of the fragile Freycinet National Park.
Submissions on proposed amendments to the Freycinet National Park Management Plan close today, the end of a consultation process that cynically began in the week before Christmas and the holiday season.
This is well travelled path for governments who want to avoid rigorous scrutiny of poor or contentious public policy.
These proposed amendments have nothing to do with protecting the Park’s natural and cultural values. They are designed with the sole purpose of favouring a single private developer and enabling increased private development inside the Park in the future.
Minister Groom’s current Expressions of Interest process is deeply flawed and highly political, with favoured private developers receiving exclusive, government-enabled access to Tasmania’s public protected areas. We regard this as an abuse of proper process.
The Premier recently stated that all projects submitted for development inside the State’s reserve system would be required to comply with statutory processes. What he didn’t say is that this government is manipulating statutory processes in order to allow the exploitation of areas set aside for protection.
The current Management Plan explicitly prohibits any further expansion of the Freycinet Lodge in to the National Park. No worries, says Minister Groom, we’ll change the Plan.
It is a very sad day when the protection of natural and cultural values in Tasmania’s world class National Parks and the TWWHA apparently takes a distant second place to the interests of private developers.
It is doubly sad in the aftermath of the fires that have devastated ancient landscapes in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. As Tasmanians and custodians of these globally unique, priceless natural assets it is in our shared interests to protect our remaining treasures from damage and exploitation for profit.