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Record National Parks Visitors Reinforce Need to Protect Wilderness Values

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Tags: Parks, Environment, National Parks, Tourism, Lake Malbena, World Heritage Area, Wineglass Bay

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader and Parks spokesperson

Record visitor numbers in Tasmania’s National Parks in the past financial year reinforces the need to better manage and preserve our protected areas, rather than opening them up to ever increasing visitor numbers and increased commercial exploitation.

While being able to share our protected areas with visitors is a positive, the Liberals’ ever increasing growth model puts them at risk. 

The Premier and Parks Minister, Will Hodgman, has no apparent vision for our protected areas other than ever growing numbers and increased private development. 

Premier Hodgman needs to understand that wilderness is the great attraction and under his policies it’s being degraded.

His Expressions of Interest process for commercial development inside protected areas is degrading the very values that attract visitors in the first place, the wilderness and remoteness that sets them apart from every other place on earth.

Instead of promoting continual growth in visitor numbers to Tasmania and into our protected areas, the Premier needs to understand the profoundly damaging impact of his policies on natural and cultural values.

Tasmania’s National Parks are protected for their outstanding natural and cultural values.  Under the Hodgman Liberals’ exploitation agenda, set on ever increasing numbers while handing them over to private profiteers and the wealthiest of tourists, they’re at risk of being loved to death.  

If we don’t manage the visitation, we risk degrading or destroying the wilderness that draws people to Tasmania.

The decision to allow extra huts and helicopter landings at Lake Malbena inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park is a case in point.  By nationally and internationally accepted definitions of wilderness, the Lake Malbena proposal will degrade wilderness values.

Freycinet is facing similar challenges with cruise ships regularly docking in pristine Wineglass Bay, more helicopters and a projected 1600 visitors an hour on the Wineglass Track within a decade.  This approach is simply unsustainable and ultimately, self-defeating.

We know exactly why people are coming from around the world to see Tasmania’s National Parks, but they can’t be put at risk by visitation en masse. Tasmanians want the beauty and natural values of our Parks protected.