Media Releases - 13 April 2021

Secrecy, Rule Bending & Watering Down Are How Tasmania’s National Parks Are Being Privatised

Walls of Jerusalem National Park. Image: Jimmy Cordwell. 
  • Wilderness Society Tasmania calls on State Government to make public full list of national park tourism proposals
  • ABC report reveals existence of secret list of national park tourism proposals 
  • Significant disparities between costs of leases (1 cent vs $20,000 per quarter) reported
  • All parties and independents urged to call for scrapping of tourism EOI in favour of transparency, genuine consultation and following of proper planning processes 

A new ABC report that reveals the full list of previously-secret tourism proposals for Tasmania’s national parks, many within the world’s highest-rated World Heritage wilderness area, is symptomatic of the secrecy that veils the push to privatise the island’s public national parks. 

The Wilderness Society Tasmania is calling for the Tasmanian Government to publish the full and current list of tourism proposals for public national parks (which we understand it can do, despite being in caretaker mode).

“The reason that these proposals are hidden from the public is because there is no social licence for the privatisation of our World Heritage Area and national parks*,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

“These projects don’t have a social licence to operate and, in our view, would be non-starters without secret deals and Government assistance to coach them through the planning process, which is itself being watered down so that local communities having less of a say.

“The reported financial disparities between the costs of these private leases suggests an ad hoc approach to appreciating and valuing public land that is priceless in terms of World Heritage wilderness but valuable to those who want to privatise and seek to profit from it.

“Given we’re in an election, we’re calling for all parties and independent candidates to commit to scrapping the parks privatisation policy, the tourism EOI process it sets up, and to manage nature tourism with ecological integrity, transparency and public collaboration. 

“If the next government wants the island to be a global ‘eco tourism’ destination, nature tourism has to be managed with ecological integrity, transparency and public collaboration, not by secretly privatising national parks, rule bending and watering down regulations against social licence,” said Mr Allen.  

* Of the 940 public EPBC submissions & the 1,343 public submissions to Central Highlands Council, about five submissions were in support.

Tom Allen, 0434 614 32

Authorised by Tom Allen, 130 Davey St, Hobart