Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Emirates Resort to be placed in World Heritage National Park - Environment Group withdraws support

The Emirates have relocated their Wolgan Valley Resort proposal onto the World Heritage listed Wollemi National Park. This is the first time a developer anywhere in Australia has moved a resort proposal from private land onto a national park during an environmental assessment review,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“We call on the Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, to immediately reject the national park relocation initiative and insist that the resort proposal stay wholly on their thousand hectare private property in the Wolgan Valley”, said Mr Muir.

“The proposed resort relocation into a national park is not justified. The whole thing should be thrown out, and the planning laws fixed so this sort of nonsense doesn’t happen again,” Mr Muir said. 

“The Colong Foundation, which had supported the proposal in principle, now rejects the planned relocation into the national park, even if it is said to be clapped out cattle grazing land”, said Mr Muir.

The Emirates may have spent millions on expensive reports but basic information is very hard to find within these reports. There is no map, for example, that clearly shows how the resort is situated in the park. There is a map that reveals Donkey Mountain, a magnificent sandstone mesa within the Gardens of Stone National Park, would be effectively be alienated by a proposed feral animal proof fence. There is also a new proposal for a huge dam that would receive water transferred from the Wolgan River,” he said.

“The Minister for the Environment, Bob Debus, has provided a nice letter which explains that there will be a dam, roads, six villas with guest pools, a reception building, support infrastructure and fencing in the World Heritage Area. His letter gives the best description of what is proposed on national park land,” Mr Muir said.

“I fully expect that most of the 6-star visitors will come mainly by helicopter; as the majority of its rich patrons just won’t travel for three hours by road as stated by the proponent. There is no environment assessment of noise impacts from the proposed helicopter operations, which are said by the proponent to be minor in extent. Despite the masses of distracting details in the consultant reports, there are too many unanswered questions to permit any clear assessment of this modified proposal, except that it must remain on private land,” Mr Muir said.

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