Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Approval of the Emirates Resort in World Heritage National Park could be illegal

Colong Foundation for Wilderness has just received advice that the Emirates proposal to relocate their Wolgan Resort onto Wollemi National Park is illegal. 

 “Our advice from the Environmental Defenders Office is that the proposed resort does not comply with the plan of management for the park and cannot be approved,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, will not be able to approve the relocation of the resort onto the national park unless the plan of management for the World Heritage listed park is amended”, said Mr Muir.

 “The concept plan modification documents on exhibition do not even show which parts of the proposed resort would be located on the park,” Mr Muir said.

“Why should the Emirates be given approval for a resort they say is in a national park without first exhibiting clear plans of what is intended? You can’t get your plans for a backyard BBQ or a pergola approved by a council without a decent plan that shows where the thing is located, and the Emirates park grab should not be given any special deal,” Mr Muir said.

“Last year, when the first concept plan was on exhibition, it came out that Emirates wanted a section of Wollemi National Park, yet the national park revocation was not part on the display documents. I was very disappointed in Emirates for not properly notifying the public of its intention to revoke part of the World Heritage Area,” said Mr Muir.

“Emirates, however, assured the Colong Foundation that as per the exhibition document none of the proposed resort would go on the revoked part of national park; so I forgave them,” he said.

“Now, a year on, I find that what they promised regarding the national park appears to be untrue and the exhibition documents do not indicate exactly what resort infrastructure is planned for the national park lands. I believe that this is an unforgivable breach of trust,” he said.

“Why the Department of Planning allowed the Emirates modified concept plan to go on exhibition without these basic details shows just how bad things are with planning in this state. The whole thing should be thrown out by the Planning Minister, Frank Sartor. The Emirates should get on with developing plans for their 1000 hectare property instead of coveting parts of the adjoining World Heritage Area,” Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)