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Overland Track fee will ensure sustainable management


The Minister for Parks and Heritage Judy Jackson said today a new peak season facility fee for walkers on the Overland Track is about ensuring the sustainable management of Tasmania's key natural assets.

Ms Jackson said the Overland Track is Australia's premier alpine bushwalking experience with a national and international reputation that has given it icon status.

"But its very popularity means it is being loved to death by up to 9000 walkers each year," she said.

"It is an experience that has few comparisons in the world - and the State Government recognised that a responsible and sustainable strategic plan is required to ensure that its exceptional environmental, social and visual values are managed to continue to provide that quality wilderness experience."

Ms Jackson said the fee has been set at $100 per person, including GST, and will be applicable from November to April. It will come into effect from 1 November this year.

"Last year the State Government endorsed a vision for the Overland Track that was aimed at ensuring the Overland Track continues to live up to its reputation as one of the world's greatest mountain bushwalks," Ms Jackson said.

The Overland Track - a six-day walk through Tasmania's best alpine scenery - attracts between 8,500 and 9,000 walkers each year, with approximately 85 per cent being from interstate and overseas.

The 65 kilometre track is in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park which is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The vision for the Overland Track contained three key recommendations: that a booking system be introduced for the peak walking season; that a fee be introduced for the peak walking season; and that during this season, walkers would be required to walk the track from north to south.

"All of these measures are aimed at meeting the increasing demand for the Overland Track experience while ensuring that the experience that attracts people in the first place is maintained," she said.

Ms Jackson said that all revenue raised from the fees will be directed towards the sustainable management of the Overland Track.
"The fee is a fee for use of the track and so is additional to park entry fees. This is consistent with all other Tasmanian national parks where a facility fee is charged for such things as campgrounds.

"The fee has been determined following the development of a business case that identified the cost of repairing and maintaining the track infrastructure. A full audit of that infrastructure had been undertaken and priorities for upgrades and extensive maintenance identified.

"A discount of 20 per cent will apply for children aged 16 and under, seniors and pension concessionaires."

Fees will also apply to the group facilities and as part of improving the Overland Track experience, group sizes will be limited to a maximum of 13 people.

For more information about the strategy for the Overland Track, please go to www.overlandtrack.com.au

This initiative is part of the State Government's commitment to progressing Tasmania Together Goal 21 - Value, protect and conserve our natural and cultural heritage.