Media Releases - 16 December 2021

Wilderness Society achieves significant outcome in effort to keep Lake Malbena public & protected

  • Developer Wild Drake withdraws planning appeal

  • Halls Island on Lake Malbena to remain public, protected, peaceful and intact

  • Tasmania’s Gutwein Government urged to end its parks privatisation policy

    Halls Island on Lake Malbena in Walls of Jerusalem National Park. Image: Rob Blakers

The Wilderness Society and its co-appellants (the Tasmanian National Parks Association, Richard Webb and Paul Smith), have won a significant outcome in the campaign to keep Halls Island, on Lake Malbena, inside Walls of Jerusalem National Park, public, intact and protected from inappropriate tourism development.

Wild Drake has withdrawn its appeal from Tasmania’s planning tribunal. The case had been sent back to the tribunal after Tasmania's Supreme Court found the tribunal was wrong to grant a planning permit for the proposal in 2019.

“We have won a significant battle in the fight to stop the privatisation and commercial exploitation of Halls Island on Lake Malbena in the heart of the world’s highest-rated World Heritage wilderness,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society.

“If this ill-advised commercial tourism venture had been granted a planning permit, it would have excluded everyone else from this cherished World Heritage island, and degraded World Heritage wilderness. This is a huge win for the community.

“This victory is a vindication of the original Central Highlands Council decision to deny Wild Drake a planning permit, it’s a vindication for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, which opposed Wild Drake’s proposal but was ignored, and it’s a vindication for the public who, at every turn, opposed this proposal - in their thousands.

“Permanent luxury accommodation and helicopter tourism inside the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) was always a bad idea and it was obvious that Wild Drake’s proposal was incompatible with World Heritage values and the TWWHA management plan.

“We urge Premier Gutwein to end his Government’s parks privatisation policy and to recognise that it lacks social licence because the clear majority of people don’t want public national parks privatised.

“The Gutwein Government’s parks privatisation policy remains on the table and continues to invite proposals that breach the TWWHA management plan. This is as unethical as it is irresponsible.

“We have always said we want to see responsible tourism thrive alongside properly protected and managed nature reserves, national parks and high conservation value areas, and that remains the case,” said Mr Allen.

Contact: Tom Allen, 0434 614 323