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

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    I most certainly stand to be corrected here, but it is beginning to look like a rather large and well organised bushwalking enterprise may already be involved here. There is a common thread and prior history becoming apparent to watchful eyes. This has happened before down here… at the Bay of Fires in Mnt. William National Park.
    This is mere speculation of course, which only highlights the lack of transparency. It may be that high end bushwalking rather than fishing is the target clientele. Never the less, there is still that chopper issue to consider, not to mention the precedent.



    The Mercury has a story on Lake Malbena titled wilderness fight.

    I can’t access it though….



    Walls Of Jerusalem National Park tourist development upsets anglers

    The developer of a wilderness venture at Lake Malbena has accused Greens leader Cassy O’Connor of being unethical in releasing a document on the proposal which contained commercially sensitive information.
    Ms O’Connor brought the leaked document to Parliament on Tuesday, arguing that the assessment process conducted by the state’s Parks and Wildlife Service for the project had been secretive and in favour of the proponent.

    She said the proposal was symptomatic of the government’s expressions of interest process for development in the state’s wilderness areas.
    Ms O’Connor said the state Coordinator-General’s recommendation for approval of the Lake Malbena project went back to 2015; two-and-a-half years before details of the proposal had been publicly known.
    “This proposal is just one of 30 proposals which has been going through a secretive expressions of interest process for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area,” she said.
    The proposal involves three twin-share accommodation buildings, a central kitchen or communal hut, and a toiletry building in the Walls Of Jerusalem Nation Park.
    It includes the construction of a helipad adjacent to Halls Island.
    The business plan proposes a maximum of 25 commercial trips per season with a maximum of six people per trip.
    Each trip is planned for three nights and four days.
    It is estimated there will be 30 helicopter flights from the area and up to 40 hours of flight time over a year.
    It is anticipated the camp would run from November until May each year and occupy a site measuring 40 metres by 20 metres.
    Developer Daniel Hackett said a redacted copy of the reserve activity assessment report, with commercial-in-confidence information omitted, was due to be released by June 19 through the Right To Information process.
    He said Ms O’Connor had chosen to attack a small family business allowing personal details and financial information to be made public.
    “This is the height hypocrisy and unethical behaviour,” he said.
    Angler Brett Smith, who has been fishing out of the area’s Western Lakes over decades, said the proposal would affect the ambience of the area and angler groups were vehemently against the process.
    “It’s our passion to enjoy it free from commercial development and helicopters,” he said.
    “It’s a small gain for someone for a big affect on a larger group of people.”
    The proposal will be assessed by the federal Environment Department against the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
    The proposal had been referred to the department for assessment in April but the public comment period was paused after the department requested the proponent provide more information.
    “The additional information once received will be made publicly available and there will be a second 10-day public comment period,” the department said.



    For those wanting some insights into the lake and its island hut, as mentioned above, perhaps the only published fishing-related writing about the area is in Frog Call. Refer to the chapters titled Calling Names, Tea or Sex, and Wild Drake. 😉
    It is a very remote and rarely visited destination, although the eerie petroglyphs (crude oval shapes carved into weathered rock) we investigated nearby are reminders of much earlier aboriginal users of this area.
    If the hut became central to a guided fishing operation, boats would be needed to conveniently access nearby waters (and I note kayaking is an activity mentioned in the proposal).



    This is not intended to be a fishing operation only bush walking
    Fishing is poor in this area a lot of lakes have no trout
    Helicopter flight of only 9 minutes from Derwent Bridge and passes over no worth while fishing waters
    I would point out i have nothing to do with Daniel Hacket and have no plans of ever fishing this area



    It would be great if this could be clarified once and for all as I have been told that the proposal does include guided fishing and nominates the waters to be fished…
    Agree that it is tough country to catch trout on fly, although there are one or two trophy waters nearby.
    Re bushwalking, from memory it is by no means an arduous walk to Malbena from the WHA boundary near Olive Lagoon if vehicle access can be gained to this point (this was the access route in the ’90s).


    mitch aka 2 fish

    I wonder if I can get the contract for the helipad?
    I’m not in it for the money, I’ve just always wanted to paint a giant H.

    cheers in advance,

    ps. you know I’m going to do a big M though, right? shhh.


    Greg French

    Some clarity is needed here, I think. The formal proposal in its entirety has been made public by the Greens. With respect to ‘Proposed activities’ the submission specifically details fishing. The exact wording in the proposal, including grammatical errors, is as follows:

    [Proposed activities include] ‘Occasional fly fishing specific activities around lakes Malbena, Loretta, Mary Tarn, Nugetena, as well as Eagle Lake and Kita Lake. Eagle lake and Kita Lake lay within 100 metres of the self-reliant boundary, and prescribed impact-minimisation walking strategies will be used (eg fan out sticking to high and rocky ground etc) as per our existing fishing operations in the self-reliant and wilderness zone further south at Lake Ina. Furthermore, trip numbers to Kita Lake will be capped at six per annum, to minimise any potential or perceived imapcts, and all trips will be GPS logged, and reported annually should monitoring be required. See appendix Halls Island Maps, Map 7

    And BTW, I find the fishing around Malbena to be very good, albeit tough. As Monty Python would say, ‘cruel but fair’.



    Can someone with access to the ‘The Mercury’ please post this story?

    The Mercury-24 Jun. 2018
    An introduction by flyfisher and author Greg French in 2015 led to Daniel being offered custodianship of a hut and 8ha island in Lake Malbena …

    Any update on when the second consultation period is?



    Unfortunately that article is available only to subscribers of the electronic version of The Mercury and it would be a breech of copyright to post it here.



    Cheers Barry.

    Any idea what the guts of the story is?



    I managed to read the article.

    The arguments offered in the story are flimsy.

    “We want people to get out, explore the island, use the row boat and kayaks on the lake, go bushwalking, spot the native birdlife … do you need to be choppered into luxury accommodation to do these activities?

    “You’ve also now got a younger, urbanised generation, extremely time-poor, with no bush skills. They can’t cope with that level of hiking and might not even want to. – these type of people would value a true wilderness experience if they actually learnt and earnt it – it would be de-valued any other way. But really this venture isn’t about servicing a younger generation…

    “Our oral and human histories are disappearing, along with our knowledge of old ways,” – only thing that is at risk of disappearing, sadly, is the Tasmanian wilderness.



    Latest from the EPBC portal.

    Halls Island Standing Camp, Lake Malbena, Tasmania EPBC 2018/8177

    The statutory 20 day referral decision clock was paused on 24 April 2018 due to the Department requesting the proponent to provide extra information. When this additional information is received the referral decision process will resume. The additional information once received will be made publicly available and there will be a second 10 day public comment period.



    The commercial opportunity on a private lease is not a concern and should not be to any.
    The point of concern to me is the use of helicopters in the Western Lakes Wilderness Area.


    Greg French

    Some readers of ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ (Tasweekend, June 22-23) have wrongly assumed that I support the proposal for a fly-in tourism development at Lake Malbena. I wish to reiterate that I do not support the proposal as it currently stands.

    As mentioned in the article, I did introduce Liz McQuilkin (daughter of Reg Hall) to the proposed developers, Daniel and Simone Hackett of RiverFly 1864. I did this only after Liz confided to me how lease fees and council rates for her father’s island had become prohibitive. My fear was that if the lease expired the PWS might remove the fireplace, making the hut uninhabitable, or dismantle the hut altogether.

    I had been guiding for the Hacketts, and was impressed with their environmental ethos. Introducing Liz to the Hacketts seemed ideal.

    My understanding at the time of the introduction was that RiverFly wished to guide a mere handful of bushwalkers – ‘overflow’ from their existing operation at Lake Ina – to Lake Malbena each year, just enough to cover the cost of custodianship of the hut.

    I have no idea why things changed.

    For many years, the lease had been renewed strictly on an annual basis, and there were many land managers who felt that even this concession was inappropriate in the World Heritage Area. In practice, however, the ongoing reissuing of the lease merely meant that Reg’s descendants retained priority access to the hut and were held responsible for upkeep. The new lease is of a long-term nature and has been split in two, with the hut and island registered separately. (Why was that done?) Under this precedent, there is no impediment to the government issuing private leases on a whim anywhere in Western Lakes.

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