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Liberals Must Rule Out Public Money to Experience Co’s South Coast Track Luxury Development

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 10 March 2022

Tags: National Parks, Parks EOIs, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Aboriginal Heritage

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson

Queensland based, ASX listed tourism company, Experience Co, has confirmed a draft Reserve Activity Assessment (RAA) to develop five star luxury lodges along the South Coast Track has been submitted to Parks. 

This is an interesting development given the Parks Minister has admitted the RAA process needs a complete overhaul. Why any proposal should be considered under such a flawed, opaque process is astounding in the first instance.

The South Coast Track is heartland country of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.  An Aboriginal Heritage report can’t possibly condone the construction required to build five star lodges, and you can’t have five star lodges dotted along a one star track – a track so rough it’s described by Tasmanian-based tourism operators as wading through 85 kilometres of waist deep mud.

This track also crosses a major mountain range exposed to the full force of the Roaring Forties. It’s a formidable and wild place.

Consultants have estimated that upwards of $40 million is required to get the track ‘up to standard’ for the clientele of these five star lodges. That is, Overland Track standard, presently it’s graded ‘T2’ by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service – “a rough track”. To get it up to the standard of the much lauded Three Capes Track would cost tens of millions more.

Is this government prepared to spend over $40 million of public money facilitating the pipe dreams of the Gold Coast-based white shoe brigade? 

And, given UNESCO’s interest in Aboriginal cultural heritage, why has no Aboriginal Heritage Assessment been commissioned by the government? Minister Petrusma dismissed this requirement, saying it would happen when the developer was ready to do so!

UNESCO has asked that this happen before any development is considered. 

Once again, the Liberal government is putting developers before Aboriginal Tasmanians.