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World Heritage Committee Request Must be Heard

15 Jul 2016

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

The Greens welcome the World Heritage Committee's request to implement the recommendations of their expert mission.

In light of the Committee's call for strict criteria to be developed for tourism in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Minister Groom needs to call an immediate stop to rubber stamping the flawed draft TWWHA Management Plan.

When UNESCO made their decision about logging in the TWWHA, then Forestry Minister Gutwein said it would be "grossly irresponsible for any Government to defy such a ruling."

The Greens recognise that the same must apply to all recommendations and requests of the United Nations in relation to the TWWHA 

The Hodgman Government's rapacious approach towards Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area is being exposed for all its flaws on the world stage.

The World Heritage Committee has expressly requested State and Federal governments to protect the unique wilderness value of the TWWHA.

For this to happen Minister Groom must stop the approval of the draft TWWHA Management Plan and halt the tourism EOI process until the work is done.

It's back the front process to sign off on the TWWHA Management Plan before presenting the necessary Tourism Master Plan. Unfortunately, the MO of this government is change the existing rule to suit development in public protected areas.

The UNESCO report specifically recommended the State Government fund fire research and management.  Fire watch towers and burn policies exist, but neither are funded and this places the TWWHA at further risk in future.

UNESCO's report also requested outcomes of the Review of the Management of the Tasmanian Fires of January 2016 be incorporated into the TWWHA Management Plan. That review made specific recommendations about fire management in the TWWHA, but the government has ignored them completely.

The draft TWWHA Management Plan waters down the fire management requirements and does nothing to address practical fire management. After last Summer's fires, we know exactly what we stand to lose if this isn't fixed immediately.

This decision the reaffirms the values of our World Heritage Area and cements the need to protect these values.

If they don't want to bring the State further global embarrassment over their mismanagement of the TWWHA, the Hodgman Government and Minister Groom are bound to abide by UNESCO's determination.