Halls Is­land ‘hys­te­ria’

Tourism boss lashes out at cam­paign­ers

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - SHAUN McMANUS

TAS­MA­NIA’S peak tourism in­dus­try body has hit out at “hys­ter­i­cal cam­paign­ing” against a tourism de­vel­op­ment in the Walls of Jerusalem Na­tional Park.

A protest rally was held in Launce­s­ton at the week­end by the Fish­ers and Walk­ers Against He­li­copter Ac­cess group, af­ter the Wilder­ness So­ci­ety launched le­gal ac­tion to chal­lenge the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proval of the Halls Is- land project at Lake Mal­bena.

Tourism In­dus­try Coun­cil Tas­ma­nia chief ex­ec­u­tive Luke Martin said the “hys­ter­i­cal cam­paign­ing against the pro­posed Halls Is­land stand­ing camp” re­vealed the depth of con­ser­va­tion­ists’ ide­o­log­i­cal op­po­si­tion to any com­mer- cial tourism in pro­tected ar­eas.

“The Tas­ma­nian Greens and the Wilder­ness So­ci­ety should be up­front and hon­est with Tas­ma­ni­ans about the fact they op­pose any kind of new com­mer­cial tourism de­vel­op­ments within the Tas­ma­nian Wilder­ness World Her­itage Area, or the nearly 50 per cent of Tas­ma­nia un­der some form of land con­ser­va­tion,” Mr Martin said.

Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Melissa Price ap­proved a pro­posal by Launce­s­ton cou­ple Daniel and Si­mone Hack­ett to de­velop a stand­ing camp and al­low he­li­copter flights to tiny Halls Is­land on Lake Mal­bena in the Walls of Jerusalem Na­tional Park.

This was de­spite the Gov­ern­ment’s in­de­pen­dent ad­vi­sory body, the Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Coun­cil, ad­vis­ing against the de­vel­op­ment.

The Wilder­ness So­ci­ety’s Tas­ma­nian cam­paign man­ager Vica Bay­ley said Mr Martin’s as­ser­tions were in­cor­rect.

“We’re re­ally sup­port­ive of com­mer­cial prod­ucts in the World Her­itage Ar­eas and in re­serves, and we can point to the RACT op­er­a­tion, we can point to Tas­ma­nian Ex­pe­di­tions raft­ing trips down the Franklin,” Mr Bay­ley said.

“We can point to a whole range of com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties that are an­chored in Tas­ma­nia’s na­ture-based rep­u­ta­tion and our na­tional parks, but … the Lake Mal­bena de­vel­op­ment has wide­spread op­po­si­tion, in­clud­ing from the ex­perts.

“To me, this just looks like a knee­jerk hissy fit from the in­dus­try body be­cause it re­alises that the sen­ti­ment is shift­ing.”

Mr Martin said the Halls Is­land project was small in scale and very sim­i­lar to prod­ucts al­ready op­er­at­ing within Tas­ma­nia’s World Her­itage Ar­eas.

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