Cable car push hangs on as premier comes out swinging
The company behind a rejected proposal to build a cable car on Hobart's rugged mountain says it remains committed to the project, as questions are raised about government links of its new head.
Mount Wellington Cableway Company's contentious plan included building a new centre at the top of kunanyi/Mt Wellington and a two-car, three-tower cable car.
Premier Jeremy Rockliff told state parliament this week cableways continued to be installed in iconic locations around the world and the state must move in the same direction.
"It's why I am committed ... (to) a cableway on kunanyi/Mt Wellington and I have sought advice on developing a pathway to support this to happen," he said.
The state Liberal government has remained a strong supporter of a cable car as part of a "solution" to the amount of people driving to the summit.
The Mount Wellington Cableway Company on Friday announced former Tourism Tasmania boss Tony Mayell would replace Chris Oldfield as executive chair.
Mr Mayell has acted as a senior advisor to the state government.
The project was rejected by Hobart City Council in mid-2021, with a scaled-back version also knocked on the head by Tasmania's planning tribunal in November.
The tribunal found the plan did not meet noise, visual impact, biodiversity and geoheritage standards.
Thousands of people protested against a cable car in 2018 and about 72 per cent of a record 16,500 public submissions to council were against the plan.
Mr Oldfield said the company retained its enthusiasm and commitment for the project and would continue to consider its options "while looking forward to learning more of the government's intent once it has received departmental advice on the best way to proceed".
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre have questioned Mr Mayell's appointment.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre campaigner Nala Mansell described the project as a dead end that had failed repeated tests.
"We have been clear about the impact it would have on our heritage," she said.
"And yet Premier Rockliff wants to ride roughshod over our interests, trash our heritage and push on with a new, dodgy approval."
State Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said Mr Mayell's appointment was a case of Liberal nepotism.
"The cable car on wild kunanyi has been comprehensively rejected by the planning system, the Aboriginal community and Hobartians," she said.
"Now we have the premier's former staffer heading up would-be developers."
The government has previously not ruled out declaring the cable car a major project, which would trigger a different planning assessment process.