“We need to make sure the benefits of tourism are not gained at the expense of the destination itself or the social well-being of our local communities. As global demand for Tasmania continues to grow and more investors, developers and tourism operators engage in the sector, we need to make sure our increased popularity doesn’t undermine the many natural and social benefits that Tasmanians enjoy and that make our island so appealing to others. This is especially true of a tourism offer based around the natural environment and historical-cultural heritage.”

These are the words of James Cretan in his role as Chairman of Tourism Tasmania, the State Government’s Tourism Agency. Mr Cretan also bankrolls the Mt Wellington Cable Way Company.

The Mount Wellington Cable Way Company’s recent request to bulldoze a new road through public land in the foothills of kunanyi including a threatened forest community and public recreation trails was knocked back by the land owner, the Hobart City Council. The Council received more than 800 submissions asking them to refuse the use of their land. This included some very powerful and personal submissions from the Aboriginal community on ther connection to kunanyi and how the cable car was offensive and innapropriate.

In response the Company that Mr Cretan funds took to social media stating that “they will win the war”. In May, 5000 people gathered in one of the largest public rallies in Tasmania’s recent history. The rally was the local community saying no to Mr Cretan’s company’s plans to send cable cars over the organ pipes to a massive commercial complex on the pinnacle of kunanyi / Mt Wellington.

Shortly after this rally the owners of the Cascade Brewery, Carlton and United Breweries released a statement. Under the headline ‘No Cable Car on Cascade Land’,

“CUB’s decision follows discussions with the MWCC and extensive consultations over the past year, including with local residents and various community groups”

CUB was also not satisfied that the MWCC had been successful in winning broad support from the community for its proposed cable car.

As a company we have a special responsibility and commitment to both the community and the Mountain.”

In response, the Mt Wellington Cable Way Company accused ‘anti cable car groups’ of engaging in “corporate and personal terrorism” and accused CUB of “Grandstanding”. Company spokesperson Jude Franks also said that they;

“Advised CUB two weeks before them (CUB) making the call to the media that we no longer required their land”

CUB fired back saying,

“The cable car company’s claim was not true”. “In fact MWCC flew to our offices in Melbourne just weeks before our announcement to try and persuade us to either sell or lease part of our property near Old Farm Road” “They even flew one of their designers from Queensland to lobby as part of their campaign”.

What is significant here is that the cable car company have now descended into what they refer to as a “war”. A war against the community in the pursuit of a massive, inappropriate tourism development on one of Tasmania’s most iconic and treasured mountains.

How long can Mr Cretan reconcile his statements, his position as Chairman of Tourism Tasmania and his investment in the Mt Wellington Cable Way Company?

*The Hag is Tasmanian Times’ scurrilous gossip monger …