Naked in Tasmania? Not Yet...
When no nudes is bad news ...
By ANNE MATHER
TOURISTS are desperate for a nude beach in Tasmania, says a group of nudists.
The Southern Tasmanian Association of Nudists says it fields several calls a week from visitors keen to shed their clothes.
The association is pushing for the state's first nude beach this summer, to satisfy both local nudists and visitors.
The association's president, who wanted to be identified only as Kevin, said Tasmania was the only state in Australia without a nude beach.
But he said the recent influx of mainlanders moving to the state, as well as visitors, meant demand for a clothes-optional beach was rising.
"So many more people are moving to Tasmania from interstate and they are contacting us asking where they can go," Kevin said.
The nudists are seeking to raise their profile and numbers this summer to gather momentum for a nude beach.
The association received backing for the state's first nude beach from the State Government and Tasmania Police in 2000.
But no local council was willing to allow a nude beach, Kevin said.
Originally the association was pushing for clothes-optional beaches at Neck Beach on Bruny Island and Calverts Beach on South Arm.
But councils were not keen.
He said that although the beaches were secluded and unlikely to offend anyone, the proposal "went down like a lead balloon".
Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive officer Alan Garcia said the nudists would probably still run up against objectors at whatever beach they chose.
"I don't expect councils will jump up and down and saying `yes please', because the reality is someone will object wherever the location," Mr Garcia said.
He said it was up to the nudists to demonstrate to councils that their activity would cause no problems.
Kevin said the number of nudist beaches and resorts was growing constantly in the rest of Australia.
"We're a great tourist destination, but there are a lot of tourists who we are missing out on," Kevin said.
"We have got the most beautiful beaches in Australia, our beaches would be perfect."
The law against nude sunbaking was repealed in 2003, but naked sunbaking is only permitted in areas that have received council approval.
The Southern Tasmanian Association of Nudists advertised at the weekend for people interested in becoming members.
Kevin said there were about 12 members in Hobart and about 50 nudists statewide.
Tourism Council of Tasmania chief executive officer Daniel Leesong said he doubted whether a nudist beach would attract great additional numbers of visitors to the state.
"From a tourism perspective I don't think it even ranks on the radar," he said.
Mr Leesong said he imagined nudists would prefer beaches in warmer climates.
Anyone interested in contacting the Southern Tasmanian Association of Nudists can email firstname.lastname@example.org