Establishing that the proposed development of a helicopter-based luxury tourism development at Lake Malbena is “in accordance” with the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 2016 is central to its assessment against the requirements of the Central Highlands Planning Scheme.
The TNPA would be unlikely to support further expansion of visitor facilities into currently undisturbed areas; i.e. if visitor numbers continue to increase, an alternative approach is likely to be needed.
No clear rationale for the proposed viewing shelter has been presented and it comprises one relatively minor component of the Cradle Mountain Master Plan without there having been any opportunity to express an opinion on the merits or otherwise of the overarching plan.
Planning should start with consideration of the experience to be provided for visitors and the options available to achieve this. Serious consideration must be given to options beyond simply upgrading infrastructure to cope with ever increasing visitor numbers.
With the referral of this development proposal to the Federal Minister for consideration under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, the full scale of this proposed development has been revealed.
The stated reason for the proposed changes to the 2011 Management Plan is to facilitate an Expression of Interest proposal for a tourism venture centred on Tasman Island.
The proposed replacement hut at Lake Tahune is merely one component of a creeping upgrade of facilities at Frenchmans Cap being undertaken to date without any meaningful consultation with stakeholders.
Several aspects of the recent bushfires suggest that protection of rare and threatened fire-sensitive species was not effectively prioritised in the operational management of the 2016 firefighting efforts.