Hobart’s polarising $50 million cable car project could soon be assessed as a Project of State Significance.
But developers of the Mt Wellington infrastructure will be hoping for a different outcome to the two projects that have recently preceded it under the assessment avenue – the controversial Bell Bay Pulp Mill and the Ralphs Bay Canal estate.
The government announced that the Mt Wellington Cableway Company requested its project be assessed as a Project of State Significance (POSS), pleasing tourism leaders who say the infrastructure is necessary for the mountain to reach its full potential as a visitor drawcard.
Before a project can be granted POSS status it must meet a range of eligibility criteria such as making a significant contribution to Tasmania’s economic development and having regard for its impact on the environment.
The Tasmanian Development Board will now review and assess the project’s suitability for POSS status. Based on advice from the Board, the Coordinator-General would then make a recommendation to Cabinet for its consideration.
If the project is granted POSS status it will then be subject to a full assessment process by the Tasmanian Planning Commission, including public consultation and hearings.
The TPC would then made a recommendation to the government, which has the final say.
The POSS status did not bode well for Lauderdale Quay Development Proposal, better known as the Ralph’s Bay development, with the commission recommending that it not proceed. Failed timber company Gunns withdrew its $2 billion pulp mill from assessment by the Resource Planning and Development Commission, and despite controversially being approved by Parliament it never went ahead.
Basslink was the last successful POSS – the independent commission recommended that the project proceed subject to conditions.
Cableway Company spokesman Adrian Bold said he believed the Cable Car would meet the criteria.
“It is the missing link we have been asking for two years … a clear, transparent and appropriate pathway for this project to be assessed fairly,” Mr Bold said.
“I think it became clear to the State Government over the course of the past year or so that this project was far too complex and involved for a single council to assess on their own.”