• Overland Track. Parks Tas
    Overland Track. Parks Tas
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The Tasmanian Government's plan to open up the state's World Heritage Area and national parks to more tourism developments is to be investigated by the auditor-general, Rod Whitehead.

Rod Whitehead has decided to investigate the controversial Expression of Interest (EOI) process, which green groups such as the National Parks Association have long argued lacks transparency and proper scrutiny.

The plan was announced in February 2014 as a key election promise of the Tasmanian Liberals and part of Will Hodgman's vision, to grow the tourism industry to 1.5 million visitors per year by 2020.

Thirty-seven projects were received for assessment — ranging from low-impact guided walks and tours to the construction of high-end eco-tourism accommodation.

Round two of the EOI process commenced in December 2016 and remains open as a continuous process so that ideas can be proposed as opportunities arise.

Nick Sawyer from the National Parks Association told the ABC his organisation welcomed the auditor-general's decision to investigate.

"It's been going on for far too long with an anonymous panel of public servants making all the decisions on developments in national parks before they see the light of day," he said.

Some proposals have been more contentious than others, such as the standing camp at Lake Malbena inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.

Under the EOI program, the project's assessment is not guided by legislation but an internal government process to identify potential projects and to guide proponents through other relevant approval processes. Click here to read the full ABC story.

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