More than 400 people have attended a meeting and called for a proposed development at Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park be refused.
The meeting was held at the Hobart Town Hall at lunchtime on Tuesday.
Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley asked those at the meeting to support a motion noting that the State-based approval process of the Lake Malbena luxury huts and helicopter development was yet to be finalised and should be refused.
“But subsequent to its progression to a draft approval, formal expert advice from three of Government’s own expert advisory councils has been released,” Mr Bayley said.
“Given this advice recommends against progression of this project, and considering the demonstrable impact on World Heritage values, including wilderness and cultural landscapes, this meeting calls on the Premier and Parks Minister Will Hodgman to ensure his Reserve Activity Assessment consider this expert advice and accept the unanimous recommendation that approval of this development be refused.”
The motion was unanimously supported.
Heather Sculthorpe from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre told the crowd that the Big River people had occupied the area and it was important that Aboriginal people had a say in who went to the area.
“We remain isolated and oppressed,” Ms Sculthorpe said.
Martin Hawes, who has just released a report on the area, said Tasmanians could not afford to compromise on wilderness areas.
“You can’t develop wilderness – the more you develop it, the less it is wilderness,” Mr Hawes said.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the process for the development was “corrupted.”
“You don’t have to be a greenie to love the wilderness, just be a Tasmanian,” Ms o’Connor said.
UTAS law lecturer Brendan Gogarty said negotiations for the development had been “done in private behind closed doors.”
“The process and integrity of the umpire should concern all Tasmanians,” he said.
Fly fishing author Greg French said he was a supporter of wilderness tourism but the Lake Malbena development was not appropriate and would damage the landscape.
Mr French urged people to contact their MPs and the Central Highlands Council to make their views known.
Mr Bayley said the Wilderness Society was not in conflict the the tourism sector.