Lake Malbena opponents lodge second appeal
The legal battle goes on against Wild Drake's Lake Malbena luxury tourism development in Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Conservationists are appealing a Supreme Court decision earlier this month to uphold a planning permit for the private helicopter-accessed camp on Halls Island in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
It's the latest chapter in the saga; Central Highlands Council rejected the Malbena permit early last year before that decision was overtuned by the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal in December, which was then challenged in the Supreme Court by The Wilderness Society Tasmania, the Tasmanian National Parks Association, Richard Webb and Paul Smith
This fresh appeal brought by the same group will be before the full bench of judges.
“Our lawyers will argue that the Court made a number of legal errors in reaching its decision, including in holding that the Tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to assess the proposal against the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 2016, and in the construction of the relevant provision of the Central Highlands Interim Planning Scheme,” Tom Allen from TWS said.
“If the Tribunal's decision is not overturned by the Full Court, it will limit what planning authorities can assess in determining whether they can grant a permit to a private development in a national park or reserve and limit the public’s right to have their say on those proposals and have them independently assessed on their merits," Managing Lawyer at the Environmental Defenders Office Nicole Sommer said.
Mr Allen acknowledged taking the legal fight further is very expensive and risky.
“We did not take this significant step lightly but did so because it defends the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area from inappropriate development proposals like that for Lake Malbena and the 30 or so more in the tourism EOI pipeline.
“Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed national parks are for people and nature, not profits, privatisation, developers and choppers. We are determined to defend their integrity."
“If the Tribunal’s decision is not overturned by the Full Court, it will limit what planning authorities can assess in determining whether they can grant a permit to a private development in a national park or reserve and limit the public’s right to have their say on those proposals and have them independently assessed on their merits."
Last year, the Federal Court found there were errors in the process undertaken by the Minister in handling the referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, ordering her to remake the decision, although nothing has come back from Canberra yet.