News - 06 December 2019
Lake Malbena campaign: we've had a big win!
- Federal Government concedes to Court Order that the Federal Environment Minister should set aside the decision to approve Wild Drake’s Lake Malbena tourism proposal
- Wilderness Society Tasmania again calls on Tasmanian Government to overhaul its discredited tourism EOI process and for Wild Drake to scrap its proposal in favour of something genuinely sustainable
- Public encouraged to send submissions to Minister Sussan Ley telling her to reject the proposal or, if she remakes her decision, to at the very least require an environmental impact assessment that includes impacts on wilderness values
The Wilderness Society Tasmania has welcomed the Federal Government’s acceptance this week that, to give effect to the Federal Court decision of 12 November, its decision to approve Wild Drake’s tourism development proposal for Lake Malbena will be set aside.
“The concession by the Commonwealth Government that its decision was invalid and must be remade under the EPBC Act shows that our client was right to take this legal action,” said Nicole Sommer, Principal Lawyer at the Environmental Defenders Office, which represented the Wilderness Society. “At the very least, this project must now go through a full and detailed assessment, allowing Tasmanians to have a say on what happens in their World Heritage Area. The Environment Minister’s new decision will be a test as to whether the Government will wave through development in World Heritage Areas."
Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania said: “To every flyfisher who wants their solitude protected, to every walker who wants to walk in peace and quiet, to everyone who knows there’s a better way to do tourism than secretly ‘developing’ and privatising publicly owned national parks and World Heritage wilderness at the exclusion of everyone else, this is for you. Today, Tasmania's World Heritage wilderness is that bit better protected thanks to you.
“Tasmania could and should be a world-leader of tourism that sees sustainability as more than just marketing. Tourism can be a force for good, helping to restore and enhance wild places by working with conservationists and local communities. Tasmania’s Liberal Government now has the opportunity to make this a reality.
“We again call on the Tasmanian Government to overhaul its flawed and discredited tourism EOI process and to instead pioneer world-leading sustainable tourism that collaborates with local communities, creates world-leading sustainable tourism criteria and which keeps ‘development’ and privatisation beyond the boundaries of national parks and World Heritage land.
“We call on Wild Drake to withdraw its Lake Malbena proposal in favour of something genuinely sustainable, that’s outside a National Park and that enjoys community support.
“It’s now possible that the Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley MP, could remake the decision. We think it would be a mistake if she fails to reject this proposal outright. But if she ignores the total lack of social licence and proceeds with remaking her decision, any new decision must include the requirement for an environmental impact assessment, including impacts on wilderness values.
“The Wilderness Society Tasmania and the new movement that’s emerged in Tasmania standing for sustainable tourism and the defence of our national parks and World Heritage, will continue to do what it’s done so successfully and protect World Heritage wilderness,” said Mr Allen. “We’re not going anywhere.”
We still need to keep the pressure up:
Everyone who knows there’s a better way to do tourism should now contact the Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley MP, to tell her that the Lake Malbena proposal should not proceed, but that if she ignores the clear community consensus against it and remakes her decision that, at the very least, it should include an environmental impact assessment that includes wilderness values.
Minister Ley’s contact details:
Minister Sussan Ley MP
Minister for the Environment
CANBERRA ACT 2600
For further comment contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323