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Groom Can't Ignore Planning Commission on TWWHA

13 Jul 2016

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Parks Minister, Matthew Groom, signed off on a government response to the flawed draft World Heritage Area Management Plan which has drawn criticism from the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

In his reckless bid to rewrite the rules to enable increased commercial development in the TWWHA, Mr Groom produced a draft TWWHA plan that would compromise wilderness values, allowing increased development as well as logging and mining.

His plan to remove its wilderness zoning and threaten the TWWHA's values was condemned by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as well as the vast bulk of more than 7500 public representations.

The Planning Commission has today found the government inadequately addressed concerns about wilderness protection and increased commercial exploitation of the TWWHA.

The TPC highlights concerns over the lack of strict criteria for tourism development in the TWWHA. 

At the same time, Minister Groom has 25 proponents lined up under his opaque EOI process, including a number who want to build private lodges in the wilderness.

The EOI process is the main driver of Mr Groom's rewriting of the draft World Heritage Area Management Plan.  He has embarked on a cynical and secretive process to allow selected developers exclusive access to prized public reserves lands.

The Liberals may have walked away from logging and mining in the TWWHA, but they are still bent on extracting its riches unsustainably.

The Commission also found that, in its response to concerns raised in submissions, the government had failed to argue the merits of plans to ramp up commercial development in the wilderness.

Perhaps that is because this accelerated, behind closed doors push to exploit the World Heritage Area has no merit other than to line the pockets of the Liberals' favoured developers and to provide exclusive access to the wealthy few.