Media Releases - 17 September 2020

Assessment is opportunity to present new evidence why Lake Malbena proposal should not proceed

Lake Malbena. Image: Rob Blakers.
  • Wilderness Society Tasmania Welcomes Sussan Ley’s decision to make the Lake Malbena proposal a ‘controlled action’
  • Opportunity to present all the new information that’s come to light during recent court proceedings and media reports showing impacts on wilderness 
  • Reassessment of Lake Malbena luxury tourism development comes while Commonwealth government trying to devolve precisely this environment decision-making to the states

The Wilderness Society Tasmania has welcomed the decision by Commonwealth Environment Minister Sussan Ley to make the Lake Malbena tourism proposal a “controlled action” under the national environment law, the EPBC Act. This decision means that the proposal will undergo a further more detailed assessment and there will be a further opportunity for public comment. 

“We welcome this decision as a real opportunity for the Minister to consider independent expert reports which show why this proposal is detrimental to wilderness and ecological values and should not proceed,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

“The Minister’s decision today is something we’ve called for, namely a better assessment, since before we even won our Federal Court case in 2019, which is what’s triggered this new assessment opportunity. 

“We’ve also encouraged people to contact Ms Ley’s office to ask for a better assessment. The decision should always have been for this proposal to be a controlled action.

“The decision comes at a really critical time, as there is currently a Bill before the Commonwealth Parliament proposing to devolve assessments of these types of proposals in World Heritage areas to the states. 

“The Tasmanian Government approved the Lake Malbena proposal to proceed a critically important World Heritage area through its reserve activity assessment process but totally failed to assess the impacts of that proposal on World Heritage values, including wilderness.  

“This shows how important it is that assessments under the EPBC Act are not devolved to the states, could lead to worse environmental outcomes if they are, and could significantly affect the observance of Australia’s international obligations to protect World Heritage Areas.

“Unless Ms Ley puts in place strong national standards, which are currently absent from the proposed EPBC reforms, devolving the Act will mean States like Tasmania risk being under even weaker obligations to respect and protect World Heritage values.

“There are many other similar projects proposed for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and the community needs to know that State and Commonwealth Governments are abiding by our international obligations to protect this pristine and iconic natural asset.

“The Tasmanian Government needs to change its 'unlock the parks' policy and proposals that would privatise and degrade World Heritage wilderness and national parks need to be taken off the table,” said Mr Allen.   

Launch of Wilderness Defence Fund: 10am Friday Sept 18 at Parliament Lawns, Hobart 

Malbena Matters! public meeting 2pm  Sunday Sept 20 at Miena 

Contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323