Inheriting a poorly planned proposal from the 1990's has is drawbacks. We understand some locals vehemently opposed it back then, and we are delighted most have been mature enough to reconsider our efforts now. Unfortunately, some protestors have resorted to personal attacks, slander, intimidation and conspiracy theories in their bid to discredit us and derail the project.
We respond to the most hurtful here:
Protesters want you to believe we're in bed with the State Government with secret deals being made behind closed doors. Numerous Right-to-Information requests have proven no such activity. For the record, MWCC has not received, accepted or asked for funding from the Government. It is a core community parameter for us to stand on our own feet, and that is what we are doing. Our feasibility studies were entirely privately funded and it is for this reason our financial viability is confidential Intellectual Property.
"NO CONSULTATION, NO TRANSPARENCY"
Protesters want you to believe that MWCC has not consulted the community and that we shy away from scrutiny, citing our refusal to public release our commercial Intellectual Property.
For the record, MWCC has continually engaged the community since 2010. Voluntarily, we have structured additional consultation activity into our Phased 1-6 Process, during Phase 1 Advocacy, Phase 2 Feasibility, Phase 3 Proposal and our current Phase 4 Planning, and will continue this into Phase 5 Construction.
We do not rely on the statutory consultaton windows (of which there have been numerous through each step of amending the planning schemes) and we do not just conduct these as a bare-minimum consultation to simply Inform - Instead, we drive a deeper consultation focus that allows Involvement in the decision making process. This is evident through each phase of our project thus far, such as the Local Values and Opinions Survey in Phase 2, which garnered 2,200 public responses in 2013 and formed the building blocks of our Proposal. When Phase 3 launched as a resolved plan on the 16th April 2014, we welcomed and encouraged public feedback yet again, helping us to refine and adapt particulars even further.
"Greedy Capitalists and/or Foreign Ownership"
Protesters want you to believe MWCC is only interested in gaining development approvals and that we'll never build the project - rather, that we'll just sell the permissions to the highest bidder abroad.
We're Tasmanians, and as of late 2015 we're financially backed by current and ex-pat Tasmanians who love this State and have put their own money where their mouth is. Our business model -which our shareholders have bought into- is a balanced, Triple-Bottom-Line focus, balancing People, Planet & Profits equally. Besides, we cannot achieve our stated goals or ambitions if we never build.
"BACKERS WALKED AWAY"
Back in 2013, we had secured an investment deal from a Swiss/Canadian enterprise focussed on financing several Cableway projects. Once this was publicly announced at the beginning on 2014, they were hounded by Protesters in an effort to scare them away. Instead, this drove our original backers to look for shortcuts which would compromise our founding principles.
In mid 2015, MWCC decided not to renew that financing deal despite weeks of relentless pressure by the original backers. Instead, MWCC turned to take on the responsbility of financing the project ourselves. When news broke in late 2015 of the ended deal, MWCC had already attracted new, local investors and we honoured an agreement to not speak of the reasons why the original deal ended. Naturally, this left a vacuum for protesters to suggest to the media that the Swiss/Canadian investors had walked away from us. Damaging, but untrue.
"Mates Deals // Political Corruption"
Apparently, protesters want you to believe that the government is doing us favours because we're mates with them, citing impropriety, corruption and crony capitalism.
To drive the project and turn it around from a politically-taboo 90's dud to a serious, deliverable proposal today, our CEO has had to meet politicians of all colours since 2010. For disclosure, our CEO has often been invited to campaign launches as a result. In 2014, our CEO was attending Matthew Groom's launch when Hobart City Council Alderman, (now Lord Mayor) Ron Christie took a photo of our CEO and the Shadow Minister together. In 2017, this photo was used by another a political opponent of Mr Groom for political gain. This was conveniently lapped up by protesters and the media.
For the record, MWCC nor our CEO have donated to a political campaign, and whilst we note the Integrity Commission has not sought any investigation, we would welcome such a move.
Any suggestion of corruption is false. Sadly, this is what protesters resort to when they have demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of genuine process. To them, what they fail to understand (or deliberately choose to ignore) is brushed off as corruption.
"GIFTED LAND GRAB"
Protesters want you to believe the State Government is gifting land to MWCC, citing "mate's deals".
For the record, the State Government passed legislation through a democratically-elected bicameral Parliament. This law enables them to acquire land from the city council IF and WHEN our project has development approval. Once the government has purchased the land from the council, MWCC will be leasing the land from the government.
Why was this necessary? - As verified by the independent-controlled Legislative Council of Parliament, the city council had proven through successive voting records that they were unable to provide a reasonable commercial pathway for assessment. In detail, the Council were asking us to submit a full development application (that needs to comply with the planning scheme) yet refused us access to their land to prepare a compliant application. Bonafide Chicken or the Egg.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed but the conspiracy lives on.
In 2015, protesters called for legitimate statutory processes to be scrapped because 1 of out 500+ public comments was known to be made anonymously. A pen-name is a tool often used by authors and commentators who want to exercise their right to free speech and, for their own reasons, seek anonymity. In 2014, a friend of our CEO sought this privacy.
An online journalist (who had a long history of showing bias against our project) cited a connection with our CEO. When queried, our CEO respected and defended his friend's right to privacy, however, the journalist published an article full of innuendo to grab headlines and cast doubt on a statutory process. For the record, the Wellington Park Trust confirmed that there was no issue if a pen-name was used in their process.
Apparently our strong following across Social Media platforms such as Facebook is too hard for some to accept. To them, our support base of over 25,000 are non-existent and operated by a 'Like farm' that we've simply paid for. This is what protesters want you to believe to encourage doubt and division in the general community.
For the record, we have never engaged in deceitful activity or 'bought' followers. Such a move would serve no purpose.
"ELECTION EVE / RUSHED MINISTER'S AUTHORITY"
The week before the date for 2018 election was announced, the Minister for State Growth Peter Gutwein MP signed authority for the project to MWCC. Protesters want you to believe this was some rushed last-minute deal done before the government entered Caretaker mode, to avoid the need for further consultation.
For the record, the draft legislation was voluntarily distributed for public comment prior to being tabled in Parliament. After public comments closed, the legislation was strongly passed by both Houses of Parliament and then ratified by the Governor her Excellency Kate Warner AO on the 16th October 2017.
MWCC formally applied on the 21st October, and over several months our application was subject to considerable consultation between the Crown Solicitor and the Wellington Park Management Trust. MWCC was advised that the Minister had made his decison prior to Christmas however due to Christmas and holiday leave periods it was unlikely the paperwork prepared by the Department would be finalised until mid January. The Authority was signed by the Minister on Thursday 25th January and received in the post on Tuesday January 30th, 2018.
"MILLION DOLLAR GRANT TO BREWERY"
In the lead up to the 2018 election, the State Government granted $1m to the owners of Cascade Brewery. Protesters want you to believe this was to help facilitate our project.
For the record, MWCC had no knowledge of this grant until it was publically announced, and have seen no evidence of any connection with us.
MISSING A CONSPIRACY? NEW ONES CROP UP ALL THE TIME, SO PLEASE LET US KNOW.