Halls Island ‘hysteria’
Tourism boss lashes out at campaigners
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.