five out of nine ain’t good
MWCC lists nine Suppliers—but the list is worse than outdated, it is deceptive. What business would supports the Mount Wellington cable car company? And why?
Riser+Gain—The MWCC’s Supplier List includes themselves!? So, in fact there were really only ever eight suppliers.
EcoLine was engaged to supply equipment for the Mid-Park station on the Cascade Estate. The mid-way station was abandoned in 2018. Strike them. That leaves seven suppliers.
Treetop Challenge is listed as a Supplier, but it is an amusement park on Queensland’s Gold Coast. It is unclear what they supply. Make that six.
DirtArt was engaged to build a downhill mountain bike course linking the Pinnacle to the Base Station, but its “Gravity Track” was found to be unviable and was abandoned in 2017. Strike them. They have removed the project from their website.
That leaves five suppliers. Not nine, five.
Doppelmayr is first. They make cableways. Any money that MWCC pays to them will go, entirely, to Switzerland. Curiously, a search of their international website reveals no mention of a cable car project anywhere in Tasmania, let alone topping Mt Wellington.
VOS Constructions is a Tasmanian construction company.
1+2 Architects and JAWS Architects are Tasmanian architectural firms, but neither feature their work for the MWCC on their websites. The link from the MWCC website to 1+2 is broken and “the blog has been removed”.
Gandy and Roberts are consulting engineers. There does not appear to be a mention of the project on their website.
Riser+Gain The MWCC grew out of Riser+Gain. Developers who describe themselves as “developing exciting tourism and recreational projects”, they offer marketing, planning and design and feasibility. As well as the Mount Wellington cableway project, MWCC lists as a currant project the “Mt X Tourism Cableway”. This project is a pure figment of Riser+Gain’s imagination. It exists nowhere on the web except as a single image on their own website.
mwcc LOGO FARM
At the foot of the MWCC website is a logo farm. It too has atrophied. Gone is Southern Cross TV. Gone too is the Housing Institute of Australia.
What remains is THA: the Tasmanian Hospitality Association, TCCI: Tasmania’s Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiary, the Hobart Chamber of Commerce. All three organisations, typically, back the big end of town. Destination Southern Tasmania is a state government/industry funded tourism promoter—hardly independent. ECOTourism Australia is a private eco-tourism accreditation organisation based in Queensland, but as MWCC is not accredited for anything this is no endorsement at all.
The footer of the MWCC site contains eleven Testimonials.
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania CEO
Luke Martin is quoted as saying:"MWCC's proposal strongly aligns with the key objectives of the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy and Tourism 21.”
Luke still heads the TICT but the Tourism 21 plan is over. It was written in 2010 as a Tasmaniaised Addenda to the national strategy and made no mention of a cable car whatsoever nor the MWCC. Not even Mount Wellington or kunyani made the strategy. All Tourism 21 does say is that one strategy is: "Building the tourism capability of destinations state-wide by supporting the growth of new and enhanced tourism infrastructure and building".
Does “New tourism infrastructure and building” mean something? No. It is so broad it covers everything, anything and therefore nothing.
Martin himself is enthusiastic, but TICT is not a strong supporter. It has an expanding, soft tourist sector membership (not yet influential, but significant) who are not in favour. Expect the TICT tone to simmer.
A decent, highly respected and very influential Australian is the Tasmanian-born economist Saul Eslake. MWCC quotes him as saying:
"The Mount Wellington Cable Car project is worthy of serious consideration [and] allowing it an opportunity to proceed on a commercial basis.”
The MWCC attaches great significance to this Testimonial. [Brackets and all.] It prints it in emboldened italics on page one of its lavish Full Details brochure as well as on its website. It is the hero quote for the Economic Development pillar of the project. This prominence might imply (and did lead some to believe) that Eslake wrote an economic analysis of the project. That is mistaken. He did not. The author of the project’s glowing Mount Wellington Cable Car: Economic impact study is a powerless and hitherto unknown economist named Phil Bayley who was employed by the MWCC to compile the study. Bayley wrote the study. The MWCC approved it. Eslake’s contribution went no further than the study’s Foreword—which he got down to three paragraphs. The last paragraph is the kicker:
“On the basis of this report, I believe that the Mount Wellington Cable Car project is worthy of serious consideration by business leaders, local and State government officials and elected representatives, and the Hobart and Tasmanian communities more broadly, with a view to allowing it an opportunity to proceed a commercial basis.”
On examination, Eslake’s Forward offers no endorsement. It says, in effect, that a cable car scheme should not be rejected out of hand, it should be considered seriously. It deserved an “opportunity to proceed”, but the opportunity to proceed has a caveat. It must be on a "commercial basis". A government handout would snap the arrow. Eslake's detailed views were published on the website cablecarcliffhanger. No where there does Eslake endorse the project. He sees benefits, he sees risks, he insists upon transparency and consultation.
Chairman, Hobart Chamber of Commerce
Following a survey of our membership the Chamber is unanimously supportive of MWCC's proposal.
The spectacular route presented ticks many of the boxes to become a successful if not iconic consumer offering in Australia.
Premier of Tasmania
I write in support of the proposal for a Mount Wellington Cable Car [and] I wish the proponents well.
Right from the top, hardly a ringing endorsement, is it?
CEO, Vos Construction and Joinery
VOS would like to express our total support for MWCC's proposal and congratulate the team on the professionalism and expertise dedicated to the project.
Tasmanian Hospitality Association
This exciting proposed development could be a valuable addition to the State’s Hospitality and Tourism industries and we wish your consortium and venture the very best of luck towards realisation.
“Could be a valuable addition” sounds lukewarm, doesn’t it. Steve also offers them “the very best of luck”. MWCC will need a lot more than that, old Stevo.
Chairman, Destination Southern Tasmania
The Project presented by MWCC can help activate the current assets (walking and biking) on kunanyi / Mount Wellington. Destination Southern Tasmania is supportive of new visitor infrastructure and new experiences in southern Tasmania and MWCC is an exciting new way to experience the mountain.
The current director of Destinations Southern Tasmania, realising that a bureaucrat and impartial are the glass and a half of ethical conduct, proffers a softer view on the proposal to his predecessor Vin Barron.
CEO, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
MWCC's proposed venture with triple-bottom-line sustainable values is to be highly commended. The broader economic stimulus and symbolism for what this project represents will be significant to the entire State.
A happily retired man today, Vin Barron was the CEO of Destination Southern Tasmania, a small marketing arm for the tourist industry of Southern Tasmania, that (it cannot go without noting) is funded by the state government of Tasmania. Barron is quoted by MWCC as saying "The proposed improved access and facilities for visitors on the mountain are certainly needed to grow the appeal of our region.” This is a glancing blow. Hardly clarion, this Testimonial is not an endorsement of a cable car. Indeed, it contains wriggle room for it might be argued that a Springs Centre and other initiatives could provide the very improvement in visitor access and facilities that Baron desires.
I am an Aboriginal Tasmanian who has happily lived 14 years of my life in Hobart. I want to see more developments which respectfully showcase this beautiful place and I think the cable car is a fabulous idea.