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Wilderness Defence Fund launched to help fund Lake Malbena legal case

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The Wilderness Society Tasmania has launched a Wilderness Defence Fund to keep Tasmania’s World Heritage and national parks accessible for the many, not just the few. The Fund will be used to help fund our challenge in Tasmania’s Full Court of the Supreme Court which challenges planning permissions granted to helicopter-accessed visitor accommodation at Halls […]

The Wilderness Society Tasmania has launched a Wilderness Defence Fund to keep Tasmania’s World Heritage and national parks accessible for the many, not just the few.

The Fund will be used to help fund our challenge in Tasmania’s Full Court of the Supreme Court which challenges planning permissions granted to helicopter-accessed visitor accommodation at Halls Island, Lake Malbena, within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

“It is legal challenges like this which are stopping Tasmania’s epic World Heritage and national parks from being inappropriately developed and privatised to public access. To keep these special places open to the public, thriving and unspoiled, we are asking people to help with this legal challenge and others like it by contributing to the Fund,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania.

“This appeal is holding off the stunningly beautiful World Heritage wilderness at Halls Island, Lake Malbena, from being developed and privatised. There are thought to be more than 30 tourism projects in the EOI tourism pipeline targeted at the World Heritage Area. If they all constructed, Tasmania’s wilderness character would be torpedoed.

“If our current case is successful, it will keep Halls Island and the surroundings public and unspoiled, and protect World Heritage values in the future, for the many, not just the few. It will also provide a powerful reason for the Tasmanian Government to change its singularly unpopular ‘unlock the parks’ policy and the EOI process it created to privatise them.

“The Government should instead turn its attention to an ecologically sustainable tourism policy that respects local people, ecological integrity, and World Heritage values,” said Mr Allen.

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A legal team comprising the Environmental Defenders Office Ltd and a number of barristers are representing the Wilderness Society, the Tasmanian National Parks Association and two individuals, in the Lake Malbena appeal. The case is set to be heard by the Full Court of the Supreme Court  on 2 October 2020.

The case is an appeal to the full bench of the Supreme Court of a previous decision by Justice Estcourt, which upheld the grant of a development permit for  Wild Drake, on Halls Island at Lake Malbena. Details of the current legal challenge can be found here.

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Environment Minister Sussan Ley made a decision to assess the Wild Drake helicopter tourism proposal under the EPBC Act. The Minister’s decision follows the Wilderness Society’s successful legal challenge in the Federal Court last year, which overturned the original decision that the project would not be subject to any further assessment.

“The Commonwealth assessment will now be undertaken on the preliminary documents, and the Wilderness Society expects that will involve a more rigorous assessment of the impacts of the Wild Drake proposal on the World Heritage and ecological values like remoteness, intactness and thriving ecosystems.

“The Wilderness Defence Fund will help us continue to take these important legal challenges to protect Tasmania’s internationally recognised World Heritage from inappropriate development. The fundraising  target of $60,000 is a challenge but is a drop in the ocean compared to the value of these places to Tasmania and to the world,” Mr Allen said.

The Wilderness Society is pleased to be attending the public community Malbena Matters! public meeting on Sunday September 20 from 2pm at Miena to discuss the Wilderness Defence Fund and more. The MC and speakers are:

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Wilderness Defence Fund: bit.ly/WildernessDefenceFund

Source: Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/09/wilderness-defence-fund-launched-to-help-fund-lake-malbena-legal-case/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wilderness-defence-fund-launched-to-help-fund-lake-malbena-legal-case

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