Summary

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by Greens Senator Nick McKim, which means it succeeded. Motions like these don't make any legal changes on their own but can be politically influential since they represent the will of the Senate.

Motion text

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) a proposal was lodged with the Tasmanian Government for a fly-in, fly- out 'luxury standing camp' on Halls Island in Lake Malbena, inside the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The proposal is for the construction of three accommodation huts and a kitchen hut to accommodate up to 6 guests and 2 guides on up to 30 trips per year. Guests and guides will be transported to Lake Malbena by helicopter. Estimates of total helicopter flights per year range from 30 to 120. Officials from the Department of Environment and Energy are unaware of the total number of helicopter flights per year when construction, maintenance and servicing of the camp are also considered,

(ii) in the last week of August this year, the Department of the Environment and Energy declared the activity would not be a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act). Controlled action simply means that the proposal would proceed to the next step in the process - environmental assessment and approval – as significant impacts are likely,

(iii) in its 2016 Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Master Plan, the Tasmanian Government re-zoned Lake Malbena and much of the surrounding shoreline from "wilderness" to "self-reliant recreation zone" allowing greater development and activity at the site. This rezoning was done without public consultation. The proposal has been deemed compliant with the 2016 Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Management Plan on the basis of 'low level impact' on wilderness character. Many submissions noted that such a conclusion would not have been possible without the 2016 re-zoning,

(iv) over 900 submissions to the referral under the Act opposed the development. Three submissions did not express a position. No submissions expressed support. Independent advisory body the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Committee do not support this development, and have, along with the Australian Heritage Council, highlighted its likely impacts on wilderness, other World Heritage values and the tranquillity of this remote precinct,

(v) the Anglers Alliance Tasmania, representing 27,000 recreational anglers, and the Wilderness Society, representing over 30,000 conservationists, also strongly opposed the development in its submission on similar grounds. The Anglers Alliance Tasmania and Wilderness Society expressed strong concerns that the development has been approved without any consideration of the voice of submitters to the referral process, such as recreational anglers and conservationists, who addressed relevant matters under the Act,

(vi) the development is also opposed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre,

(vii) an independent wilderness consultant's report commissioned by the Wilderness Society found that the proposal would have a significant negative impact on the area's wilderness character by degrading wilderness across almost 50 square kilometres, including well into the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, and

(viii) the Brief prepared by the Department of Environment and Energy was completed by the Queensland North section and included a typographical error where "Queensland" was stated instead of "Tasmania"

(b) agrees that the Minister for the Environment should declare the project a controlled action and properly instigate a full assessment, including public participation from recreational anglers, conservationists and any other interested parties, of the proposal's impacts on World Heritage values, including wilderness.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Cory Bernardi SA Australian Conservatives No
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Mehreen Faruqi NSW Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Jordon Steele-John WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Australian Labor Party (72% turnout) 18 Yes 0 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Kristina Keneally NSW Yes
Chris Ketter Queensland Yes
Jenny McAllister NSW Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Lisa Singh Tasmania Yes
David Smith ACT Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Penny Wong SA Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Doug Cameron NSW Absent
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Kimberley Kitching Victoria Absent
Gavin Marshall Victoria Absent
Deborah O'Neill NSW Absent
Centre Alliance (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Stirling Griff SA Yes
Rex Patrick SA Yes
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Derryn Hinch Victoria Derryn Hinch's Justice Party Yes
Sue Lines WA Deputy President Yes
Tim Storer SA Independent Yes
Lucy Gichuhi SA Independent No
Fraser Anning Queensland Independent Absent
Steve Martin Tasmania Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (77% turnout) 0 Yes 17 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania No
Simon Birmingham SA No
Slade Brockman WA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania No
David Fawcett SA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Jim Molan NSW No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Zed Seselja ACT No
Amanda Stoker Queensland No
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
James Paterson Victoria Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
Dean Smith WA Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 3 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland No
John Williams NSW No
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (0.0% turnout) Absent
Peter Georgiou WA Absent
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria President No
Brian Burston NSW United Australia Party Absent
Totals (76% turnout) 33 Yes – 25 No