Clear view to healthy tourism
National parks development process is more transparent, says Peter Gutwein
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.