Halls Island

Lake Malbena, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania, Australia

In the News

ABC News - Aboriginal outrage over Lake Malbena fishing tour plans to include visits to sacred cultural site

27 November 2018 - Tasmanian Aboriginal groups say they have been "sidelined" by both the state and federal governments' decision to greenlight a fly-in-fly-out luxury camp in the heart of Tasmania's remote World Heritage Area.

It is a place considered so sacred that many Tasmanian Aboriginals have never visited it themselves. 

But the development's proponents, Daniel and Simone Hackett, planned to take guests on guided tours of the site — a suggestion that chief executive officer of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Heather Sculthorpe finds both offensive and unacceptable.

ABC News - Proposed Lake Malbena tourism development strains World Heritage status and friendships in Tasmania

16 November 2018 - Now a friend who Mr French himself introduced to the spot is proposing to build huts and a helipad in the area for a luxury, fly-in-fly-out tourism retreat.

The Australian - Heritage isle in Tasmania now sanctuary for the rich

27 October 2018 - An entire island inside Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area has been effectively privatised, with a tourism developer granted an exclusive, secret lease, creating a precedent for further privatisation of wilderness.

The Guardian - Morrison government greenlights luxury camp in Tasmanian world heritage area despite expert advice

17 October 2018 - In advice dated 13 July, the council’s chairman, Malcolm Wells, raised concerns about allowing private commercial use of a world heritage area, a plan to erect permanent structures masquerading as standing camps, the impact of frequent helicopter flights and the potential for conflict with others using the area.

The council said although the project was described as a small standing camp, in reality it would involve several buildings, putting it at odds with the area’s “self-reliant recreation” zoning. It challenged claims by the proponent, Wild Drake, that the site would be “rested” in winter to allow sensitive vegetation in the area to recover.

“This appears to be a pretence at suggesting that the proposed buildings are a ‘standing camp’ that is not accessed all year. However, this is undermined by the next statement that up to five commercial trips (a total of 20 days) may run over this ‘resting’ period,” Wells wrote.

ABC News - Tasmanian parks council advised Government to reject luxury wilderness tourism proposal

17 October 2018 - National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council (NPWAC) "...does not support this project progressing at this time, and reiterates that contentious projects such as this should not be considered until there is an agreed framework to guide assessment," the chair, Malcolm Wells, wrote in the submission.

The submission was made to the Federal Government in July, prior to it approving the project in September.

The Conversation - Green light for Tasmanian wilderness tourism development defied expert advice

16 October 2018 - Like the World Heritage Committee, NPWAC argued that the range of projects currently proposed for the TWWHA “should not be considered until there is an agreed framework to guide assessment”. Yet despite this, the minister’s delegate allowed the proposal to proceed without further assessment under the EPBC Act.

ABC News - Lake Malbena luxury camping project in Tasmania's wilderness clears federal hurdle

4 September 2018 - the proposal was only consistent with the management plan because the plan was changed to accommodate it.

ABC News - Luxury camp developer lashes Greens over document leak revealing wilderness proposal

13 June 2018 - The pitch to allow paying tourists to fly to Halls Island in Lake Malbena by helicopter... noted the proponents may have more trouble getting regular hut users on side, including one well-known angler, who "has a canoe hidden adjacent to the island"... and "may be difficult to manage".

ABC News - Luxury camp proposal for Tasmanian wilderness sparks furore over rezoning plan

12 June 2018 - there were "30 development proposals including 20 proposals involving permanent huts, lodges and permanent standing camps as well as frequent helicopter flights set for approval in the TWHHA".

"All of these were prohibited under the previous TWHHA Management Plan,"

ABC News - Fly-fishing company's 'luxury' camp plan for Tasmania's Central Highlands raises ire of anglers, Wilderness Society

11 April 2018 - But some have questioned how the fishing camp proposal, with its permanent infrastructure and helipad, has managed to progress to the stage of an arrangement being negotiated when such developments appear to be at odds with the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) management plan.

Click here for more ABC News stories

Click here for more media coverage - EDO's PROTECTING WILDERNESS VALUES: HALLS ISLAND