Decision to ban tourism project in Tasmanian world heritage area overturned

A ban on a private tourism development with helicopter access on Halls Island in the Walls of Jerusalem national park has been overturned.

The development involves four demountable luxury huts being built on the island catering for up to six visitors at a time. The only access would be by helicopter.

The camp proposal was initially approved by the federal and state governments but rejected by the Central Highlands council in February. But the state’s resource management and planning appeal tribunal upheld an appeal against the council decision by ecotourism business Wild Drake, backed by the state government.

Wild Drake director Daniel Hackett said the project could be delivered without significant impacts on the environment or other national park users.

“We look forward to quickly moving on with the project and delivering a small-scale, high-value project that protects and celebrates an amazing Tasmanian story: the birthplace of the Walls of Jerusalem national park,” he said in a statement.

Tasmanian Environment Minister Peter Gutwein said the decision endorsed the government’s program calling for expressions of interest for private developments in parks and reserves.