First, let me apologise for the long period since the last newsletter. We have had a few changes here at the TCT, most significant being the departure last December of long serving TCT officer manager Trish McKeown. Those who knew Trish would know she didn’t want a great fuss being made about her, but I do feel it necessary to say thank you to her publically on behalf of all TCT members, councillors and staff, past and present.
The intervention of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) has resulted in the state government dropping plans to allow mining and logging in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) and commit to a range of other positive changes to the draft management plan. However, there is still doubt about whether the government’s approach to tourism projects in the TWWHA will change significantly in response to the WHC.
The state government has been keen for Tasmania to be ‘open to development’ and part of this push is to ‘unlock national parks and other reserves’. It seems that the government has a very keen collaborator in the Clarence City Council (CCC). Perhaps the most ambitious proposal for a development on reserved land (that has progressed beyond the concept stage) since the Tasmanian Liberal government was elected is the one by Hunter Developments’ proposal for a tourism development in the Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Area (Rosny Hill NRA).
The Tasmanian Liberals, with the support of the Labor Party, passed legislation through the lower house of the State Parliament on 16 October to remove the veto that the Wellington Park Management Trust has, but has never used, over development proposals for Mt Wellington. The Legislative Council has also now passed this bill. We congratulate Rob Valentine as the only Legislative Councillor to vote against removing the veto.
In case the new Coalition government is interested in providing additional financial support to the Three Capes Track (as requested last month by state Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Brian Wightman) it should consider the report bySyneca Consulting, Economic Impact Analysis for Three Capes Track, Tasman National Park – Revisited 2012. Syneca also did a narrower economic analysis in 2008.
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust today called on the state government to immediately close the recently upgraded Cape Hauy Walking Track in Tasman National Park because it is being operated contrary to the Parks and Wildlife Service’s risk assessment and walker’s lives are being placed at increased risk.
Throughout Tasmania our reserves seem to be under attack. A nickel mine is threatening the Dans Hill Conservation Area (as featured in the last Tasmanian Conservationist,No. 319, page 1), recreational vehicles are running amok in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area during the March 2010 state election the Labor Party committed $12 million for development of the disastrous Three Capes Track in the Tasman National Park.