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Estimates Reply – Minister Petrusma

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 16 September 2021

Tags: Lake Malbena, Parks EOIs, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Chair, nothing is more precious to Tasmanians who love our wild places than parks and reserves and the glorious wilderness, the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area. We have people in this state who are prepared to do everything peaceful that it takes to make sure that these places stay properly protected and in public hands.

On that note, I am so happy to announce the victory of the conservationists who have been vindicated by the Supreme Court's ruling on Lake Malbena, that noxious, disgraceful proposal that has privatised a whole island in the World Heritage Area, gifted it at $80 a week to the Hacketts and is seeking to permanently damage the values of the World Heritage Area through the proposed development process the Hacketts are seeking to achieve.

The people have won, and there is no doubt. This proposal was found by the Supreme Court to have errors in the granting of the permit to Wild Drake, the developers, who want to regularly fly helicopters over the wilderness area and put a permanent standing camp, so called, on the Halls Island wilderness site. The justices have ordered the matter to be sent back to the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal. The tribunal will need to reassess the proposal again.

This is an enormous win for people who have been fighting for a long time and I want to publicly congratulate the Environmental Defenders Office and the lawyers there, particularly Claire Bookless, who took this to the court on behalf of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, the Tasmanian National Parks Association and anglers and walkers in their thousands. They have voted, spoken and worked so hard to make sure there will be an end to the Hacketts' ownership on this island and this terrible blight on Tasmania.

That is exactly what they have done under the mismanagement of Parks, who have gifted this whole island to the Hacketts, who now describe it as 'ownership'. They have been given, under the lease and licence conditions, and exclusive licence of that island. That licence enables them to install cameras for any use without approval. They are allowed to evict anyone from visiting the island. If a person goes into our World Heritage protected area and puts a foot on the island without writing a letter and seeking the authority and permission of Daniel Hackett, they can be charged with trespass and they can be evicted. It is disgraceful. It is absolutely shameful.

This win in the full bench of the Supreme Court is a true victory for the people. It is only the start of the continuing campaign by people in Tasmania to understand what is going on, to realise that the Liberals have utterly moved the goalposts and they are doing everything possible to rewrite management plans and to find loopholes so that developers can privatise the cheapest real estate in the world.

Mr Hackett has a huge level of ownership over this island and he describes it as 'his' island. He says it is 'our' historic hut and he congratulates himself. He congratulated himself in the Examiner, saying that:

We have assisted with the proposed listing of the historic hut precinct and facilitated site visits for experts.

That is really nice Mr Hackett has decided he will allow experts onto a publicly owned island in the middle of the wilderness area, but he has no right to do that.

The right he has been given is illegal. In the court of public opinion, you cannot give away publicly owned land that is a wilderness area of global significance. We have signed up to an international convention. This is Tasmanians land to manage for the planet in perpetuity. You can be very sure that all those 1343 people who made their submission in the first place to the Central Highlands Council and who know that helicopters and privatisations are a noxious debasement of wilderness, who are utterly against the process that is in train and who understand that retaining public land in wilderness areas and parks and reserves around Tasmania is in the best interest of the public who own those lands and have a responsibility to keep them in perpetuity, will not be silenced. Neither will the conservationists, neither will the anglers and fishers, and neither the people who are standing up against fish farm developments despite the spin the Government is going to put all around the north and the north-west coasts of the island unless people stand up against them.

The people of Rosny Hill will not be silenced either. The anti-protest laws that are being proposed are draconian and they are morally reprehensible. They are dangerous because they are essentially an opportunity for this Government to incite hatred and violence towards peaceful protesters. They are being used as a tool to virtue signal to people in the Liberals' constituency who have a cultural antagonism to peaceful protesters who stand up for the environment. We have people who have been signalled to who think it is okay to - it is a continuation of the spin which has been used and the intention of these anti-protest laws, as proposed by the Government is to lock up people and to keep them out of publicly-owned lands, even when people are trashing them. That is why we are there in the first place.

It is clear from what is happening on the mainland in the markets campaign that you can do everything you think you can to hide the truth but the truth will always come out. The truth coming out about fish farms and the damage they are doing to the marine environment, to the welfare of the animals that are caught up in nets or shot in their thousands by fish farm companies, to the communities who are losing the waterways and the diversity of the waterways that they have always lived with, everything that is happening in this regard is the responsibility of the Government and the failure to regulate.

Where a government fails people will stand up and that is what is happening in Tasmania. It is sad that the Government has decided - and this is a mean task - to open wounds in the community and to keep them open. What the Liberal Party is doing is a tragedy. Where there is an opportunity to build bridges, you burn them down. Where there is an opportunity to make peace with communities, you break it up. People who peacefully protest, they do not want to be doing that. They do not want to have to do that.

It is the job of the Government to keep the environment protected. It is the job of the Government to give everybody a fair say in how industries are managed instead of picking winners and losers. It is the job of the Government to look after senseless and beautiful and innocent animals. That is the job of the Government. That is what people expect the Government to do and when the Government fails the people will stand up and we have not even started yet, so get used to it.