- Thursday, 10 May 2012 10:07
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Tasmanian developer Simon Currant has said criticism over his proposal to convert disused buildings into accommodation in a national park by "anti-everything" Greens as unfair.
Mr Currant is proposing an $8 million accommodation development of the former pump house at Lake St Clair. The plans were announced in 2005 and Mr Currant won final approval early this year. He said restoration work had begun and he hopes to host the first guests by the end of the year.
Mr Currant hopes to attract international investors for the project. But the Green's continual opposition to tourism developments was harming the industry and not helping to attract potential investors. Mr Currant accused the Greens of hypocrisy for promoting tourism as an alternative to logging and mining but also opposing tourism development.
Greens tourism spokesman Tim Morris said Tasmania's national parks and reserve system belonged to all Tasmanians and should not be treated as a cash cow by a few large private operators.
"Nobody questions the need to encourage further appropriate tourism investment into Tasmania and the best way to do so is to protect the natural values that bring people here in the first place,'' Mr Morris said.
The pump house project is one of 80 investment-ready tourism proposals listed in a new guide, published this week to attract investors.
Federal tourism minister Martin Ferguson said the chosen developments would also be pitched to Chinese investors as part of Austrade's work.
The guide describes pump house Lake St Clair as "the pre-eminent wilderness lodge in Australia, delivering exceptional natural experiences through its unique world heritage area location, privacy and engagement with its superb natural surrounds''.
Tasmania's minister for tourism, Scott Bacon, has welcomed commonwealth endorsement of Mr Currant's St Clair development.
Mr Bacon said, "The environmental impact of such developments are rigorously assessed to ensure they do not have a negative impact on their surrounds. The pump house at St Clair development has already gone through an extensive assessment process and the Tasmanian government looks forward to the completion of this world-class development."