The Wilderness Society’s legal action challenging a development, including helicopter flights into the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, has been slammed by the tourism industry.
The society has launched action in the Federal Court to challenge the federal government’s decision to support the development at Hall’s Island, Lake Malbena.
It is the first legal action by the society since it took action against plans for the Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Society spokesman Vica Bayley said the decision was not taken lightly.
“At the time this proposal was waved through the federal process we said that it was a deficient decision that ignored impacts on World Heritage values like wilderness,” Mr Bayley said.
“At a bare minimum, given the weight of evidence and the level of expert and community concern, this project should have been subject to a rigorous federal assessment.
“Instead, it was rubber stamped against the expectations of the Tasmanian and international communities.”
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said “hard-line conservationists are now attacking the very tourism operators who are trying to achieve their vision”.
“Worse still, they are being duplicitous and hypocritical in the extreme when in the same breath they urge our industry to get behind world heritage listing of the Tarkine for tourism outcomes,” he said.
Mr Martin said the Lake Malbena project was permitted under the management plan that was endorsed by UNESCO, and approved by both state and federal governments.
“But, typically, the ideologues in the conservation movement wont accept due process when it doesn’t deliver the outcome they want, and are now dragging the process into the courts,” he said.
“If they achieve their goals, mum and dad proponents like Daniel and Simone Hackett will simply say its all too hard and walk away - undermining investment in tourism in Tasmania for a generation. Which is exactly what the conservationists want.”
Mr Bayley said the Wilderness Society’s case would look at whether an error had been made by having no assessment of the proposal, and in not imposing any conditions to ensure significant impacts on wilderness values were avoided.
The court action has been welcomed by Fishers And Walkers Against Helicopter Access, which will hold a rally on Sunday in Launceston to protest against the development.
Spokesman Brett Smith said he expected a big turnout with people travelling from interstate to attend.
“Unfortunately both levels of government have ignored grassroots anglers and walkers in making this decision,” Mr Smith said