• Hobart to the left in the foothills of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. (SBS News: Sarah Maunder)Source: SBS News: Sarah Maunder
An application to develop on kunanyi/Mount Wellington has been defeated nine votes to three at a special Hobart City Council meeting last night.
Sarah Maunder

28 Jul 2021 - 9:17 AM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2021 - 9:19 AM

The Tasmanian Aboriginal community has welcomed the Hobart City Council’s decision to reject a development application to build a cable car on kunanyi/Mount Wellington. 

The application was submitted by the Mount Wellington Cableway Company, which was defeated nine votes to three at a special Hobart City Council meeting last night. 

“The land itself is a part of who we are, and we are a part of the land,” Aboriginal Heritage Officer with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Sharnie Read said. 

"One of the important parts of this whole saga is the lack of Aboriginal community members at the decision making process.

"Sitting at that table, it shouldn't just be the Hobart City councillors. We, as the Aboriginal community, the Traditional Custodians of this Land, have a deep and long history on this island, and when these proposals come through, we should be sitting at that table.”

During the special meeting, the Chair of MWCC Chris Oldfield said there had been attempts to engage the Aboriginal community, and the MWCC would take time to consider its options going forward.

Sharnie Read said no matter what happens next, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre would continue to oppose a cable car development.

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"We have said all along that we need to be a part of the decision-making process, we’ve been very clear that these types of developments, these types of impacts on our spiritual connection on our cultural heritage on our cultural landscapes is not supported," she said. 

The importance of staying sacred

Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania Chairman Rodney Dillon said kunanyi/Mount Wellington is a bearing point for the state's Aboriginal people.

"It’s got a significance in the change of its shape, whether it’s snowing or blowing, or whether it’s raining or really hot," he said.

“The shape of it, the face of it, the way that the clouds hang around it, when the mountain changes colour, you can tell what the weather is doing by the colour of the mountain.”

Mr Dillon welcomed the Hobart City Council's decision to reject the proposal.

“I think it is important for the mountain to stay sacred,” he said.

Plans for a cable car on kunanyi/Mount Wellington have been a possibility for more than 100 years, but every attempt so far has failed. 

Last week, the Hobart City Council received a report from consultants, recommending the council reject the development application on 21 grounds. 

The report said a cable car would diminish the park’s recreational, cultural and landscape values, and have an unreasonable impact on residential zones. 

Of the 16,5000 public submissions made to the council on the cable car, almost 72 per cent were against the development.  

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