The Great Lake Community Centre at Miena was at capacity when opponents of plans to introduce tourism development in wilderness areas held a public meeting on Sunday.
The previous minister, Melissa Price, had found the proposal was unlikely to significantly affect matters of national environmental significance, but the Federal Court sent it back to the department for further consideration following an appeal.
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Ms Ley agreed to carry out another assessment, inviting further public submissions.
FAWAHA considered the decision a victory in its ongoing campaign against development in Tasmania’s wilderness areas, and urged the state government to abandon its expressions of interest process.
Spokesperson Dan Broun said the group’s next steps would be attempting to convince representative groups and major businesses in the tourism sector that wilderness development was not in the state’s best interests.
“It’s patently obvious that the general public doesn’t want to see this happen,” he said.
“A lot of us are open to development on the edges of the Wilderness World Heritage Area and for sensitive tourism to happen within the wilderness areas, but the idea of development – particularly at the scale pushed for by the government – is particularly abhorrent.”
Thirty proposals have so far been invited to lease and licensing negotiations with Parks and Wildlife as part of the EOI process, including huts on the South Coast Track, puffer pods on the Overland Track and another puffer pod proposal in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
Opposition groups believe the PWS Reserve Activity Assessment process for the proposals was flawed, and that it lacked oversight.
Mr Broun said groups would consider “direct action” if the Lake Malbena proposal received final approval, including fishing and bushwalking groups camping at Halls Island to prevent development.
The public meeting at Miena reached its maximum capacity of 103 people.
Tasmanian Environment Minister Roger Jaensch said the EOI process had delivered “world class” walks and eco-accommodation, and would be important for Tasmania’s COVID recovery.
He said the Commonwealth’s decision was “entirely consistent” with the state government as it subjected the Lake Malbena proposal to “a robust assessment and approvals process” that would support sensitive use in a national park.