The Greens are calling on the state government to release the details of all leases provided to private operators in Tasmania's wilderness and national parks after the Halls Island deal was made public this week.
Details released under Right to Information showed Wild Drake was given a lease for Halls Hut and relevant parts of Halls Island in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park for $6000 a year in rent.
The deal was signed in January 2018 before council, state and federal assessments had taken place - which the government disputes.
The Ombudsman ordered the government to release the details under RTI after the department initially refused, citing commercial in confidence. The RTI was lodged by an individual two years ago and underwent three reviews.
Proponent Wild Drake - which plans to offer stays on the island in Lake Malbena via helicopter access for about $4500 per person for three nights - also published the lease details on its website.
Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said there was no reason why the government could avoid releasing details of all other private lease agreements in wilderness areas and national parks.
"What is the charge, for example, on the Three Capes Track?" she said.
"We've got multiple leases having been signed in secret by the government, and now that we know they're giving away public protected areas for peanuts, Tasmanians need to see more detail about this outrageous and secretive privatisation of public protected areas.
"This is public land, and the Ombudsman's office has clearly recognised that. So for the first time, Tasmanians have some clear insight into the mates rates deals that have been bandied around."
MORE ON THE LAKE MALBENA/HALLS ISLAND PROPOSAL:
- Lake Malbena: On the front line in the battle against wilderness development
- Four huts and $4500 for three nights: 'Premium' tourism plans for Halls Island
- Central Highlands Council rejects Lake Malbena development
- RMPAT approves Lake Malbena proposal
- Commonwealth agrees to set aside decision approving Lake Malbena development
- Fishers and walkers unite to rally against Lake Malbena development
The government maintains that the lease amount was determined by an independent valuer, to be reviewed every five years for the standing camp on Halls Island.
Premier Peter Gutwein said it was standard protocol to consider these lease arrangements as commercial in confidence, and the government would not be releasing details of other deals.
"In terms of leases and licences, this point is well understood, in the past, governments of both persuasions have for matters of commercial in confidence have not released that information," he said.
"The government entered into contractual arrangements with lease and licence holders in the past under certain conditions.
"For commercial in confidence reasons, we won't be providing that information."
Mr Gutwein said the proponent, Daniel Hackett, had other costs associated with the project, and the lease value of Halls Island had been independently determined.
"Lake Malbena is in a remote area. Halls Island is remote. There is no services or infrastructure which provides or supplies for that island," he said.
RTI release in the interest of 'transparency'
In a statement on the Halls Island project website, Daniel Hackett said the amount of information released about the project meant Tasmanians should not have concerns about transparency.
"With this information release, combined with the volumes of information already released during three Federal and Council public comment periods, our project is an open book," he said.
"There isn't another private-project in Tasmania with more information available."
The Environmental Defenders Office, on behalf of The Wilderness Society, has appealed the planning tribunal's decision to conditionally approve the Halls Island proposal.
A directions hearing will be held in the Supreme Court next month.
Concerns largely centre on the degradation of wilderness values due to helicopter access, along with the approvals process.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley is also still considering a Federal Court ruling over the approvals process.