Media Releases - 15 June 2020

Submissions filed in Lake Malbena Supreme Court challenge

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

Wilderness Society Tasmania, Tasmanian National Parks Association and co-appellants Richard Webb and Paul Smith, have filed written submissions for their appeal to Tasmania’s Supreme Court against Wild Drake’s luxury helicopter tourism proposal at World Heritage-listed Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.

The appeal is against a decision by Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal to grant a planning permit for the Lake Malbena proposal.

The case was listed to be heard by the Supreme Court on 24-25 June 2020, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Court ordered that the appeal would be decided on the parties’ written submissions. The 24-25 June hearing has been vacated.

“Our appeal contends that the Tribunal improperly delegated its assessment of the Lake Malbena proposal to Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

“We are concerned that there was not proper assessment of the proposal in accord with the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan.

“We argue that the Tribunal failed to consider the negative impacts of the proposal on wilderness and other values. We believe this was a legal error.

“We also argue that the Tribunal’s reliance on the Parks and Wildlife Service ‘reserve activity assessment’ was not consistent with the November 2019 decision of the Federal Court, where, in a parallel case concerning the Lake Malbena proposal, the Wilderness Society Tasmania successfully challenged the decision of the Federal Minister for the Environment.

“Private leases and developments in Tasmania's national parks are an affront because they degrade natural values and exclude existing park users like fishers and walkers from areas they have always enjoyed peaceful recreation in. 

“With the decline of biodiversity worldwide, the State Government must protect and enhance our national parks and wilderness areas as biodiversity hotspots, not privatise and degrade them through inappropriate tourism developments. Tasmania’s COVID-19 recovery provides an opportunity to improve how the state does tourism,” said Mr Allen.

For comment: Tom Allen, 0434 614 323

The Wilderness Society is hosting a webinar on social licence and tourism on June 18 from 6pm.

Read our Backgrounder on the campaign and Supreme Court Case.