Media Releases - 13 February 2020

Latest Malbena scandal: Boat “farce” floats more questions than answers

Lake Malbena. Image: Rob Blakers
  • Further evidence of overt support for a particular developer
  • Real risk of biosecurity outbreak occurring in Tasmania’s World Heritage Area

The Wilderness Society and the Fishers and Walkers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania (FAWAHA-TAS) have expressed renewed concern at the apparent multiple failures to uphold biosecurity standards by the very organisation expected to do so. 

“This latest cache of Right to Information documents recently released to the Mercury newspaper show that rule bending and possible rule breaking has potentially created a genuine biosecurity risk in the Wilderness World Heritage Area,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

FAWAHA spokesperson Dan Broun said: “As anglers and bushwalkers, we fastidiously clean the equipment we take into these pristine environments, we observe 'leave no trace' principles and leave the lightest footprint we possibly can.

“For the head of parks to fast-track a developer’s request for a vessel to be choppered in to a pristine headwater lake such as Lake Malbena with seemingly no observation of their own hygiene conditions is extremely worrying. 

“The primary concern of the head of the Parks and Wildlife Service, Jason Jacobi, should be the integrity of the World Heritage estate he is the chief custodian of,” said Mr Broun.

“It’s not appropriate for Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) to indulge developers, which is what appears to have happened with Wild Drake receiving approval before even applying for it,” said Mr Allen. 

“Such a direction would also appear to breach the lease, which requires a hygiene plan and for it to satisfy the Minister. Where is that plan and is the Minister satisfied with it, assuming it exists?,” said Mr Allen.   

The Parks Director is legally required to manage the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) in accordance with the management plan. Section specifically mentions the threat of didymo freshwater algae in the context of the impact. The plan states under biosecurity "that a high level of integrity substantially adds to the Outstanding Universal Value of the TWWHA”. However, a number of introduced pests, weeds and pathogens are direct and serious threats to its natural and cultural values. 

For further comment contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323.