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