The decision to grant planning permission to a controversial proposed heli-tourism development at Lake Malbena will face a fresh appeal.
The Environmental Defenders Office is representing The Wilderness Society (Tasmania), the Tasmanian National Parks Association and two individuals in an appeal against a 6 July 2020 ruling by Tasmania’s Supreme Court, which upheld a previous decision by the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal to grant planning permission for the proposal.
EDO lawyers will appeal that ruling to the Full Court of the Supreme Court, arguing that the Supreme Court should have found that the Tribunal’s decision was affected by legal error and that it should have overturned the Tribunal’s decision.
The case is the latest legal challenge to the proposal by Wild Drake Pty Ltd which plans to use and develop Halls Island, Lake Malbena, for luxury tourist accommodation, with guests accessing the site by helicopter.
The development site is within the Walls of Jerusalem National Park – part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and the Tasmanian Wilderness National Heritage place. The area is known for its wild rivers, lakes, remoteness, biodiversity, scenic beauty and cultural heritage values.
EDO Managing Lawyer in Hobart Nicole Sommer said:
“This case is an important test of how tourism development proposals in Tasmania’s wilderness areas should be assessed and approved.
“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.
“Our clients are asking the Full Court of the Supreme Court to review the legal basis for the Tribunal’s decision which, in our opinion, was flawed.”