Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Emirates' resort proposal reveals planning outrage

Both Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, and Federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, have allowed the Emirates to promote and exhibit their 6-star Wolgan Valley resort proposal without explaining that it is now located in the World Heritage listed Wollemi National Park.

“Emirates plan to take advantage of Ministerial discretion, judging that for Sartor and Turnbull this resort development will be more important than the World Heritage park, or the public's right to know. In both cases, official departmental directions on the proposal have been ignored ,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“But the public can't properly form an opinion on this major resort proposal, without details about its relocation onto the park,” believes Mr Muir.

“The Federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull should not be taken in. The Emirates have ignored directions from his Environment Department to specify all parts of the development in the World Heritage Area. If Federal environmental laws and World Heritage listing are to be worth anything, then the Malcolm Turnbull should throw the Emirates' proposal out,” he said.

“The Colong Foundation has also discovered that directions by the NSW Planning Department regarding the ‘incorporation of National Park land to accommodate the relocation of the resort facilities and buildings' were also totally ignored. So the Emirates have twice not told the whole truth about their development.

“If this development is approved, both Frank Sartor and Malcolm Turnbull are telling us that money matters, but World Heritage listing and public accountability doesn't“.

“Even a red-necked, development-crazy Government that hates conservation should still believe in public accountability. But it appears that both Sartor and Turnbull believe democratic processes should not extend into radical ideas like explanation and justification of resort development now relocated onto a national park”, Mr Muir said.

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