Media Releases - 29 June 2021

Wilderness Society Tasmania Welcomes Legal Push For Greater Transparency Over Parks Privatisation

Walls of Jerusalem National Park in the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The Wilderness Society Tasmania has welcomed a legislative amendment that would significantly improve transparency around the continued push for the privatisation of public National Parks by Tasmania’s Gutwein Government.

The amendment has been proposed by leading Tasmanian barrister Greg Barns SC in his capacity as a representative of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. The amendment would end the exemption of “proposed use or development in a conservation area, national park, nature recreation area, nature reserve, public reserve, reserved land, or State reserve” from Tasmania’s Right to Information Act 2009.

“The fact that developments in national parks and other public reserves are currently exempt from Tasmania’s Right to Information Act is a shocker and is a critical part of the veil of secrecy behind which the ongoing push for public parks privatisation operates,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania.

“Ending this exemption would allow the disinfecting light of public interest to shine into the murky parks privatisation regime and to give the public a new foundation to know what’s happening to their public nature reserves, including National Parks and World Heritage wilderness.

“We also need to focus on one of the most suspect aspects of the tourism expression of interest process, ‘guiding principle’ five. This clause allows tourism development proposals to be submissitted even if they are not compliant with the statutory Management Plan. As this Plan derives from the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, it’s hard to see how the provision is constitutional.

“It’s now over to the Tasmanian Parliament to make this public-interest amendment law,” said Mr Allen.

For further comment contact Tom Allen, 0434 614 323