Conserve & Manage Why can’t wilderness just be sacred… LAKE MALBENA!

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    What is the track condition like from the gate to the WHA boundary? Would an Outlander be ok, or better left at the gate?



    The post from Greg suggests that only high clearance vehicles will be permitted beyond the boom gate. I’m not familiar with the Outlander but I suspect they don’t have the clearance of some of the 4WD’s out there so you might need to be prepared to leave it at the boom gate.



    I hear that much of that detail will be sorted out on the spot and will depend on the number of vehicles turning up on the day. Only so many can park sensibly without dramas at the road end, and high clearance and shuttling makes more sense.



    It’s minimum ground clearance is 215mm, 10mm less than the Pajero.

    But unfortunately it looks like I might be on call for work so I don’t know if  I can make it 🙁



    Here is a link to a petition to the Tasmanian Parliament. Only citizens of Tasmania are eligible to sign.


    mitch aka 2 fish

    that’ll be a lot of X’s to count.






    The registration page for the Reclaim Malbena walks has just opened:

    The Reclaim Malbena trip is designed to make clear who owns Halls Island and Lake Malbena and Walls of Jerusalem National Park – the public!

    Reclaim Malbena will be a symbolic re-occupation of Halls Island and Lake Malbena. It’s a rejection of the secretive tourism EOI process that puts at risk the integrity of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area and exlcudes public consultation or appeal rights.

    To come on the trip you need to register here and answer a few questions. This event is free but you still need to to register for ‘tickets’.

    The walk into Malbena is not easy and requires you to be fit and a fairly experienced bushwalker. When you register, the questions also ask if there are ways that you might be able to help organise this trip.

    Participants need to understand that Lake Malbena is a self reliant zone and a sensitive environment. All participants must observe leave no trace principles and have adequate skills and experience to take care of their own wellbeing in this remote wilderness area. All participants must be self reliant with food and equipment and register by completing the questionnaire below.

    When you’ve registered, you will be contacted by one of the organisers.



    Greg French

    Hi everyone

    The government and PWS have been pulling out all stops to try and stop the Reclaim Malbena event. They are so scared of us that yesterday someone went full nuclear. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t such sad indictment on the state of our democratic institutions, if it wasn’t such a threat to democracy itself. The newspapers are going to be full of this story, and I’ll be doing an interview with Leon Compton on ABC local radio in Hobart at 8:30 or 9:00 this morning.

    I’ll post more news later today.


    Greg French

    I have just sent this email to the Secretary of DPIPWE

    Dear John Whittington

    I am trying to verify whether the lease holder of Halls Island has the right to exclude access to the general public. I accept that he has the legal right to exclude people from the hut, but I am specifically asking about the rest of the island. It is vital that your officers provide clear advice on this matter as there is no other way for the public to know their obligations under the law. (The conditions of the lease are ‘commercial in confidence’ and are not publically available.)

    On 4 March 2019 Jason Jacobi, General Manager of the PWS, issued this advice to the TNPA:

    ‘There are now both a non-commercial lease for the historic hut, and a commercial lease for the development proposal. I am advised that the agreement holder is currently working to enable organised public access to the non-commercial lease area, being the hut. The commercial lease over the remainder of the island is contingent on the development obtaining all necessary approvals. If those approvals are secured, then the lease affords the operator exclusive use.’

    To date the development has not obtained the necessary approvals.

    On Friday 22 November 2019 Matt Bryce, the PWS Director of Landscape Programs, telephoned me in regard to Reclaim Malbena event. On Monday 25 November he emailed this advice:

    ‘You mentioned people going onto Halls Island and the lease provides the lessee exclusive possession of the island and you will need to get permission from the lessee before going onto the island.’

    I questioned the validity of this assessment. On Tuesday 26 November Matt Bryce emailed this response:

    ‘Further to our phone conversation yesterday. I have checked with our Property Services staff.  It appears that the PWS are not in a position to grant a group event authority for Halls Island without the prior written consent of the Lessees.  It remains the Lessee’s prerogative whether or not to grant others permission to visit Halls Island.’

    I immediately emailed Matt Bryce and asked if his advice superseded that of his General Manager. Later that day (Tuesday 26 November) Matt emailed this response:

    ‘I do not believe my advice contradicts the letter to TNPA which simply advises that the agreement holder is working towards public access to the hut. The access is at the agreement holder’s discretion. Hence I have advised that you seek their agreement to access the area.’

    I have reason to believe that the general Manager’s advice is the correct advice. I feel that Matt Bryce’s advice is designed to stop the Reclaim Malbena event, and that as such it verges on intimidation.

    Could you please ask your staff to explain how they reconcile the conflicting pieces of advice. If the two pieces of advice cannot be reconciled, could you please confirm which advice is the correct advice and provide a written apology.


    Greg French



    Well… I suppose if a taxpayer is compelled to help finance the gainful employment of dancing geese, about all that can be done is to enjoy watching them dance… It is very good of you Greg to provide some interesting music. Ta

    I do so hope they prove to be exceedingly clumsy.

    Watchful ( and more than slightly cynical) … Jimmy



    Greg French

    Hi everyone

    Just a short note to say that the Reclaim Malbena event will still be going ahead. The government and PWS have been very keen to shut us down, so we have had to work hard at finding a legally valid way to sideline their interference.  I’ll explain the legal hurdles put in front of us tomorrow, at the same time as I give the final details and times for the event. Current registrations will still be valid, though responsibility for registration site will be moved from TWS to another organisation.

    Stay tuned, but rest assured that all’s well 🙂


    Greg French


    As a result of unprecedented pressure from a government agency – the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service – the Reclaim Malbena event will need to be modified. Following contradictory advice form that agency’s officers, we have received legal advice that we can run the event as follows:

    Members of the public and media are invited to attend a public morning tea, picnic and rally at the trawtha mukaminya (Gowan Brae) boom gate. The culmination of this rally will see 8 bushwalkers depart for Lake Malbena where they will stage a symbolic reclamation of Halls Island and the wilderness of Lake Malbena.

    Remember, the Hodgman Liberal government gifted Halls Island to a developer without public notification or any assessment process, and once development approvals have been finalised public access will be excluded from the island for decades to come. More than ever before, we need your attendance at this rally.

    The alteration of the Reclaim Malbena event has come about due to threats from the Parks and Wildlife Service to impose draconian conditions on our original action. We had planned to have a picnic at Olive Lagoon and then have 16 experienced bushwalkers and wilderness guides rally on the Lake Malbena shoreline. All these people have great respect for the landscape and were to enter the area firmly guided by the principles of ‘leave no trace’. The issue was discussed at a federal level, and we were notified that we might have to have the event assessed as a ‘controlled action’ under the EPBC Act, which would take months to process. In short, we are being locked out.

    It’s worth noting that the proponent for Malbena development was never required to undertake a ‘controlled action’ assessment. His proposal was waived through, despite it involving hundreds of helicopter flights per year, construction of permanent luxury accommodation, the creation of kilometres of walking tracks, the importation of unsanitised boats and the construction of a helicopter landing pad. Yet 16 bushwalkers from an official ‘event’ was deemed too much of a potential threat to the environment. Remember, if the walkers were not part of an ‘event’ they would have been free to enter the area as two groups of 8 private walkers. Still are. Furthermore, if the PWS was genuinely concerned about environmental impacts it could have modified or cancelled the event simply by tweaking our compulsory ‘event permit’ application, which presumably would be the normal way of doing things. (We never even got a chance to submit our application, which was not due to be lodged until several days after we were notified of the EPBC discussions.)

    We consider the threat of EPBC assessment to be a slap in the face to the traditional users of the area. Still, we have been legally advised that we cannot encourage walkers to attend the lake shore as part of our private walk. Our sincere apologies go to those dedicated lovers of wild Tasmania who wanted to join that part of the formal protest.

    The good news is that the restrictions on access apply only to the event itself. After the rally at trawtha mukaminya (Gowan Brae) independent walkers and fishers remain free to enter the Western Lakes as normal. After the rally, as independents, you remain perfectly entitled to go for a fish or a walk in our beautiful and still wild Western Lakes.

    Reclaim Malbena – For a wild and free Western Lakes and World Heritage Area.



    Link to Greg’s interview on ABC Radio the other day. It is early on in the recording.



    Here is the link to the Eventbrite registration page for the Reclaim Malbena event:



    Just a bit unclear about the details and would appreciate some clarification. Until this afternoon my partner and I had anticipated walking to Lake Malbena. I didn’t realise it had been restricted to 16 and now due to pressure from PWS,  8 people. Where is the best site to keep up to date? Would it have been better not to register for the event and just act independently? How far from the far end of Pine Tier Lagoon is the Gowan Brae Boom Gate? Do independent walkers after the Event Rally at the gate have access to walk the through the trawtha mukaminya property?




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