Tasmanian Times

Economy

Three Capes Track – call for independent review

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The Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA) and the Tasmania Conservation Trust (TCT) are calling on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, which is currently reviewing the expenditure for and the revenue making capacity of the Three Capes Track (with hearing this afternoon), to establish an independent review of this flawed project, including less costly and more beneficial alternatives.

“A critical assessment of the assumptions underlying the proposal indicate that the projected economic benefits of the Three Capes Track in its current form are, at best, optimistic and at worst, substantially incorrect and grossly overstated”, TNPA president Dr Robert Campbell said today.

This is reinforced by large cost over-runs on upgrading the existing Cape Hauy Track and the proposal to initially build only the eastern half of the track.

“How does the Government expect to attract 10,000 walkers each paying $200 to what is now only a 3-day walk?” stated TCT Director Peter McGlone.

“To date there has been no market analysis by the PWS to substantiate its claim that the Three Capes Track will attract 10,000 each year. This number was picked because it is the maximum number allowed to walk the Overland Track annually and is just a total fabrication,” Mr McGlone continued.

The concept underlying the Three Capes Track is flawed as it attempts to impose an Overland Track model on a track created by linking several existing day walks in an essentially non-wilderness area which most walkers will most likely prefer to do as day walks.

The TNPA has long advocated investigating a concept similar to that adopted by the highly successful Great Ocean Walk in Victoria where visitors can walk the entire track while camping each night or take the option of staying in local accommodation and walking only the sections of track that appeal to them.

“Called the Great Tasman Coastal Experience our proposal, which integrates the existing network of walks on the Tasman Peninsula with a range of other tourism and hospitality related services available in the region, is likely to attract far more visitors and provide a greater return to the local economy (as walkers will stay in the local community, not be isolated from it) with far lower capital expenditure and environmental impact”, stated Dr Campbell.

The Government has also ignored serious probity issues given the fact that the Parks and Wildlife Service is the proponent, approver, and regulator for this large scale development.

“These issues can only be addressed by an independent review of the current proposal”, Mr McGlone concluded.

• Visit the Great Tasman Coastal Experience website www.keepthecapeswild.org.au

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Winston Smith

    October 7, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    ..at half a million dollars a kilometer the economics are simple.

  2. Nathan Carswell

    October 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Significant cost aside, since when is the TCT fighting proposals by questioning the economics? Could Mr McGlone please present his Business and economics degree, major or masters please? Sure, question the habitat of snails, but economics? TCT has a truly confused agenda lately.

  3. Tom Bailey

    October 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Pathetic that the state government has formulated rules that govern processes and approvals and then fails to follow its own procedures. Oh, yes, that’s right, they’ll follow them when it suits them.

    A media statement on 4th March, 2010 by Michelle O’Byrne, then Minister for Tourism and the Arts, announced that Labor would invest $12.8 million on the Three Capes Track in addition to the Federal Government’s $12.5 million in-principle funding. Where precisely is this $12.8 million sitting in real terms?

    “Already there is significant private sector interest in the Three Capes Track for a guided and hut-based walking experience, demonstrating strong confidence in the project and real market demand for what is sure to become a signature Tasmanian walking experience”.

    And here we have the real reason this project continues to have legs – private sector ‘interest’.

    Mmmm… Who do the jaundiced public think that might be? Could Federal Hotels be a ‘contributor’; could several members of the Tourism Tasmania Board be ‘interested’? Could be. The developers on that illustrious board have long and often shown ‘interest’ in using national parks to increase their own coffers. There’s sure to be a press release to inform us of the lucky recipients of continuing government largesse.

  4. Winston Smith

    October 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Linz, Thank you for the previous comment (3) editing of my poor syntax. One request, where you have inserted ‘government’ that read ‘executive, 3 men’, as in non political public servants. Please consider changing this as the insertion of government in place of ‘public service management executive’ has changed the entire intent. If this is not acceptable please remove the comment. thanx, Winston Smith

  5. Winston Smith

    October 3, 2012 at 7:53 am

    The only real money these hare-brains have is twelve million COMMONWEALTH dollars, same in State Government IOU’s (wait until the Gunns ltd failure claws these dimwit’s Retirement & Benefits fund to shreds!).

    Since 2001 (government has) sat in their comfortable car/chair/4wd/boat/business class seats and pissed our tax dollars up against a wall when they aren’t forking OUR taxes over to their chums.

    It is a tale of filth and derision that would take a four hundred page novel to tell…

  6. Winston Smith

    October 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Now, chickens are running home to roost, just as the main players are scheduling their polite retirement from our long failed National Parks & Wildlife Service (Tasmania).

    If OUR NPWS had done it’s job for the last twenty five years, our wood-chipping industry wouldn’t have been able to do its.

    OUR NPWS is staffed by a few skilled dedicated conservation professionals, and many many ‘Snoozers’, email munching frauds, phonies and time wasters who get OUR taxes in salary as long as they toe whatever line they sense they should.

    Three Capes stage one (Cape Hauy) used eleven hundred ton of wetwait, phytophthera contaminate dolerite shipped, by road from Orford. The Men who actaully built that stone work will face crippling arthritis for the rest of their lives. The mismanagement of thirty three million dollars is a tale of shame and degradation that would put the Peter principle in clear focus, for a start…

  7. Kevin Kiernan

    October 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I remain gobsmacked that this hare-brained Three Capes project continues to have legs. Notwithstanding the predictable grabbing at every passing cargo cult idea by Tasmanian politicians, it nevertheless beggars belief that the Commonwealth Government should have committed funds to such a flawed concept – and especially that this should have occurred before its construction had even been formally approved (has anything changed since Premier Eric Reece skipped the last day of debate on the bill to flood Lake Pedder in 1967 in favour of instead spending the day in Canberra wrapping up the Commonwealth financing of a project that the Tasmanian parliament hadn’t even approved yet?). The Three Capes development concept has more holes in it than the Mole Creek Karst National Park. It is crazy to quarantine the dollars visitors bring to Tasmania by isolating them on an artificial multiday track rather than encourage a day-walk track network that allows visitors to instead spread their dollars around accommodation and food providers in various parts of the Tasman Peninsula – is just in order to ensure that the enterprise will suitably reward Federal Hotels or whatever other outfit eventually gets to take over this development built at taxpayer expense? It is also entirely unacceptable for the Parks Service to run a bogus “planning” process that includes provision for public input but then to entirely disregard the overwhelming opposition expressed in that input simply because it runs counter to the preconceived agenda of a few self-seekers and party political hacks with no commitment to nature conservation who currently seem to have our Park Service by the short and curlies. It is outrageous to have wasted public money on a Cape Huay track “rebuild” that required expensive helicopter support rather than follow a proposed new alignment that would have allowed use of cheaper powered wheel barrows instead, simply because the realignment option would have required proper approvals to have been completed first – in my opinion that was just an exercise in making Australian taxpayers foot the bill for covering up the dishonesty of effectively commencing work on the Three Capes project before the approval process for it had been completed. And then of course there is the woefully inadequate assessment of the environmental costs of large scale development in an area that was supposedly set aside first and foremost for nature conservation. I have long been nervous about being publicly critical of anything the Parks Service does for fear of it being mis-used to attack national parks as a concept. I am also reluctant to criticise Parks for fear of that criticism being misconstrued by the dedicated and hard-working field staff with which we are truly fortunate to be blessed as reflecting upon them rather than of the dead wood in head office that controls them. But if this is really the best that the heirarchy which currently infests our Park Service can do than maybe it is time to clear-fall the upper echelons of that outfit and start again. And sadly Three Capes is but a microcosm of so many similar things that happen more widely across this island home of ours – what a place Tasmania could be if only we had some journalists working for Tasmanian newspapers who had the intellect, commitment and energy to expose some of the rubbish and conniving that forever holds us back.

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