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Lake Malbena and the TWWHA

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 29 September 2022

Tags: Lake Malbena

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - We are here today because Daniel Hackett, Wild Drake Pty Ltd and his two multimillionaire backers are at it again. It is not enough for them to have lost in the council, in the Supreme Court and to have comprehensively lost in the minds of an overwhelming majority of Tasmanians who love this wilderness, he is determined to have another go. It was very disappointing to listen to the minister essentially again defending Wild Drake's attempts to privatise wilderness.

Let us not forget the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is the most globally significant wilderness World Heritage Area anywhere on the planet. It has seven out of 10 of the World Heritage criteria. It is the only World Heritage Area with the word 'wilderness' in it. The history of the creation of that place and its preservation and protection has been through the love and passion of Tasmanians who understand what wilderness is. Wilderness in Tasmania has been defined; it is the first time a comprehensive definition has been established globally from people in Tasmania who care about that remoteness and the intrinsic values of wilderness that this proposal would fundamentally seek to degrade and utterly destroy. Wilderness is a precious thing and not something you can insert 240 helicopter flights a year into and have no impact. It is not something you can have a flight path over which would strongly degrade 1150 hectares and totally disturb the wilderness values of another 5000 hectares from the flight paths alone.

Everything about this new proposal which Daniel Hackett is having another go at stinks of his deceptiveness. He is false in the words he uses to describe what is really going on. He was on ABC radio earlier this week talking about the helicopter landing pad, which he said will be 400 metres east of Halls Island outside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. Of course what he failed to say was that it will still be inside the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It will be inside the self-reliant zone defined by Parks and the World Heritage Management Plan. The helicopter landing pad will be inside the TWWHA. He said, 'It is right over to the east of the World Heritage Area boundary'. Yes, and it is inside the World Heritage boundary.

He is planning to have the island essentially for his exclusive use, as he has described it. He is seeking to privatise it. Although he says, as Ms O'Connor pointed out, that people can apply by email if they want to have access to it, he also says that for the 120 days a year they are actually operating, people will not be able to have access to it unless they are a high-paying, well-heeled, private guest who will be flying in and staying in a hard hut on the sphagnum moss that is there.

This privatisation of wilderness is devasting. It is a very important test case. It is very clear from the response it has had already from the community and the many organisations who are fighting to defend our wilderness that people are not going to stop. Why it is such a shoddy process and why it has to be called out is because Hackett is running the process himself. It is a totally debased and shonky process where people have to go to his own website and make their views known, but only to a maximum of 500 words. They can only put one PDF up and it can only be a maximum of 150 megabytes in size, which means there will not be an opportunity for people to submit as part of this process the photographs of the glory of Halls Island, that beautiful place that is so fragile with sphagnum mosses and the beautiful wetlands and all the other vegetation he is seeking to put permanent solid, hardened huts onto, which he pretends is in the memory of the history of Reg Hall. However, Reg Hall's own descendants have decried it as an outrage to the memory of their father.

The Greens stand with the TMPA, the Fishers & Walkers for WHA, the Wilderness Society, the Environmental Defenders Office and all of the Tasmanians who have already been and will come back again to defend our wilderness areas. We will not stand for another round of shameful, deceitful information going to the federal department without correcting the record. People will do that through their submissions and through public protest and if it is required, we will do it in the courts.

This is a joke. The idea that people would get 500 words to respond to the extent of information, the lies and misinformation that is in the document that Wild Drake have put up in their so-called request for further information response, is disgusting. The Wilderness Society has written to the minister, Tanya Plibersek, alerting her to the proponent's shonky processes and reminding her that it is a debased process and she should end it.