State di­vided over park projects

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

TASMANIANS are split on whether the state should al­low more de­vel­op­ment in na­tional parks, with slightly more op­posed to the idea than in favour.

A sur­vey of Tasmanians con­ducted by the Mer­cury has shown that 48.8 per cent do not want more tourism de­vel­op­ment and op­er­a­tors in na­tional parks, while 41.7 per cent are in favour of more de­vel­op­ment.

The re­main­der of those sur­veyed chose “other”, with most sug­gest­ing how some lim­ited de­vel­op­ment should be al­lowed un­der “strict con­trols”.

In re­cent years, the Tas­ma­nian Gov­ern­ment has em- barked on an Ex­pres­sions of In­ter­est process to gen­er­ate new “sen­si­ble and ap­pro­pri­ate” vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ences in na­tional parks.

But some of the pro­pos­als have at­tracted crit­i­cism, with heated con­tro­versy con­tin­u­ing over a pro­posal to build huts and a he­li­pad in Lake Mal­bena within the Walls of Jerusalem Na­tional Park.

Among the com­ments made in the Fu­ture Tassie Sur­vey, many sug­gest “strongly reg­u­lated” de­vel­op­ment or re­strict­ing it to the edges of parks. “Only if sen­si­bly done to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment,” says one sur­vey par­tic­i­pant.

“Yes if strictly mon­i­tored POST de­vel­op­ment com­ple­tion,” says an­other.

The Wilder­ness So­ci­ety’s Vica Bay­ley said the com­mu­nity gen­er­ally recog­nised the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing Tas­ma­nia’s nat­u­ral as­sets.

“It’s wel­come more peo­ple sup­ported proper pro­tec­tion of our na­tional parks,” he said.

“I’d also like to make the point that if peo­ple who were asked that ques­tion re­alised man­age­ment plans were be­ing specif­i­cally changed to al­low these de­vel­op­ments, and val­ues like wilder­ness were be­ing sac­ri­ficed, the fig­ures would be even higher.”

Tourism In­dus­try Coun­cil Tas­ma­nia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Luke Martin said there were al­ready more than 200 com­mer­cial tourism op­er­a­tors li­censed to of­fer tourism ac­tiv­i­ties within the state’s na­tional parks and world her­itage ar­eas.

“Some of these op­er­a­tors are re­garded as some of the best na­ture tourism op­er­a­tors in the world,” he said.

“We should feel con­fi­dent in grow­ing this sec­tor in a way that re­spects the nat­u­ral and cul­tural val­ues of our en­vi­ron­ment, but also gen­er­ates eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and value from con­ser­va­tion.”

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