The Tasmanian Government has intervened to ensure a cable car project on kunanyi/Mt Wellington can progress.
- State Government uses powers to allow flora and fauna tests near McRobie’s Gully tip
- The Lord Mayor says overriding council’s refusal of access to land “not a good idea”
- Cable car company says there is no move to declare project “of state significance”
The Hobart City Council last year voted to block the Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) from accessing council-owned land near McRobies Gully as part if its development proposal.
State Growth Minister Peter Gutwein has granted an authority to the company to undertake the investigations required before it can lodge a development application.
He has used powers under the Cable Car (kunanyi/Mount Wellington) Facilitation Act passed by Parliament in 2017.
Mr Gutwein said he was still consulting with the Wellington Park Management Trust over granting access to land inside the park, which he anticipated would happen in the near future.
Last August, the Hobart City Council voted to prevent the cable company from accessing council-owned land near McRobie’s Gully tip in South Hobart, where the company hopes to establish a base station.
The move blocked the MWCC from carrying out a flora and fauna study needed before it can lodge a development application.
Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the council had been given a draft of the permit a few weeks ago, but it had not seen the final permit issued today.
Ms Reynolds said it was “not at all ideal for one level of government to provide access to a company to another level of government’s land” and she would like to see a copy of the new permit.
“We do have some concerns about the fact that the draft permit that we saw didn’t require the company to give us any notice when they’re planning to come onto Hobart City Council land,” she said.
“That’s not a good idea because it could be dangerous because we might be undertaking fire trail work or fuel reduction burns.
“The council has always expressed its concern about the Cable Car Facilitation Act from the very first moment that it was debated in Parliament.”
Ms Reynolds said she was confident the final decisions about whether a cable car proceeded and if public land would be used would be made by the council.
‘We’re making some progress’: MWCC
MWCC chairman Chris Oldfield welcomed the Government’s announcement, saying the work required onsite was minor and would take place over the next couple of weeks.
“It’s a good day for the project, and I think it’s a good day for Tasmanians actually, because it means that we’re making some good progress to the cable car project,” Mr Oldfield said.
“This is a way for us to do the work, get the development application in, and then allow for additional consultation to take place.”
Mr Oldfield said there were no moves to have the project declared one of state significance.
Fears of compulsory land acquisition
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car representative Ted Cutlan said the State Government was “spoiling for a fight”.
“CUB [Carlton United Brewery] said ‘no’ to the use of their land, Hobart City Council said ‘no’ to the use of their land, and the Government is flying in the face of that,” Mr Cutlan said.
“You’ve just got to ask yourself ‘why?’.”
He said the Government’s decision to intervene “shows a great disrespect for the council” and he questioned what it might mean for the future of the project.
“I think it shows that this Government is prepared to do anything. You’ve got to ask, ‘are they going to compulsorily acquire the land?’
“Why are they pursuing this project that really does not have the support of the people?”