Clear view to healthy tourism

Na­tional parks de­vel­op­ment process is more trans­par­ent, says Peter Gutwein

Mercury (Hobart) - - TALKING POINT - Lib­eral Bass MP Peter Gutwein is Tas­ma­nian Trea­surer and Min­is­ter for the En­vi­ron­ment, Parks and Her­itage.

THE Hodg­man ma­jor­ity Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Ex­pres­sion of In­ter­est ini­tia­tive pro­vides greater trans­parency, en­cour­ages busi­ness in­vest­ment, cre­ates lo­cal jobs and helps to reimag­ine our re­gions pro­vid­ing for a di­ver­sity of ex­pe­ri­ences to at­tract lo­cals and vis­i­tors.

We have a plan to make Tas­ma­nia the eco-tourism cap­i­tal of the world, and through sen­si­ble and ap­pro­pri­ate de­vel­op­ment in our parks and re­serves we are well on our way to achiev­ing that. Our Ex­pres­sion of In­ter­est, or EOI, process has de­liv­ered moun­tain bik­ing, walk­ing, and ecoac­com­mo­da­tion ex­pe­ri­ences; all sen­si­tive and ap­pro­pri­ate to the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Tourism is a key driver of our econ­omy, with vis­i­tors spend­ing a record $2.46 bil­lion last year. All Tas­ma­ni­ans, par­tic­u­larly in re­gional ar­eas, are ben­e­fit­ing from this suc­cess. The com­bined value of pro­pos­als in the EOI pipe­line sits at about $100 mil­lion in in­vest­ment, with the po­ten­tial to cre­ate more than 250 full-time equiv­a­lent jobs when fully re­alised.

Our EOI process was de­signed to pro­vide en­ter­pris­ing op­er­a­tors with the con­fi­dence to bring for­ward new and in­no­va­tive ideas, to show­case our spec­tac­u­lar na­tional parks and en­vi­ron­ment for the world to see and ex­pe­ri­ence, and to help reimag­ine our re­gions. It has been taken to two elec­tions and backed solidly by the Tas­ma­nian peo­ple.

Claims that our EOI process is veiled in se­crecy are mis­in­formed and un­true. In fact the EOI process pro­vides greater public over­sight of sig­nif­i­cant tourism pro­pos­als on public lands than un­der the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment where the first the public would know about a lease or li­cence agree­ment in our parks would be af­ter the fact.

Con­trary to re­cent claims, pro­pos­als do not re­ceive lease and li­cence or plan­ning ap­proval be­fore be­ing made public. Rather, the EOI process al­lows pro­po­nents to test their ideas in con­fi­dence be­fore be­ing ap­proved (or not) to en­ter lease and li­cence ne­go­ti­a­tions and to start the ro­bust leg­is­lated state and fed­eral gov­ern­ment plan­ning and ap­proval pro­cesses.

In a highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket, it is an ex­pected and de­manded com­mer­cial prac­tice to pro­tect in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty in early stage dis­cus­sions. Many pro­po­nents have in­di­cated they would not risk their in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, in­vest­ing time and money into pro­pos­als, if the in­for­ma­tion was not kept con­fi­den­tial while ini­tial test­ing of their idea oc­curs.

I wel­come de­bate and ac­cept that not ev­ery­one will agree with ev­ery pro­posal sub­mit­ted or de­ci­sion made, how­ever, the de­bate needs to be grounded in fact and done in a re­spect­ful man­ner whereby pro­po­nents aren’t used for po­lit­i­cal point-scor­ing or bul­lied and in­tim­i­dated by those op­posed to their ideas.

MANY PRO­PO­NENTS ... WOULD NOT RISK THEIR IN­TEL­LEC­TUAL PROP­ERTY, IN­VEST­ING TIME AND

MONEY INTO PRO­POS­ALS, IF THE IN­FOR­MA­TION WAS

NOT I KEPT CON­FI­DEN­TIAL WHILE INI­TIAL TEST­ING OF THEIR IDEA OC­CURS

Cape Tourville, Fr­eycinet Na­tional Park.

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