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Centenary of National Parks Highlights Failures of Minister

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Saturday, 27 August 2016

Tags: National Parks, Parks, Fire Management, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson

On this weekend's centenary of national parks, Parks Minister, Matthew Groom, should admit Tasmania's protected areas are under unprecedented threat as a result of Liberal policies.

Mr Groom sure has a hide, trumpeting the State's national parks at the same time as his government is opening them up to far greater commercial exploitation.

Shortly after taking office, the Hodgman Liberals joined the Abbott Government's ill-fated bid to wind back significant extensions to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area which were secured under the Labor Green Government.

Then, Minister Groom's first crack at enabling increased exploitation of Tasmania's world class reserves was to sign off on a draft World Heritage Area Management Plan which would have allowed mining, logging and intensive development in the TWWHA.

The Minister then opened up a secretive Expressions of Interest process that is facilitating unprecedented commercial exploitation of the TWWHA and other protected areas.

On his watch, funding to the Parks and Wildlife Service has been slashed and its remote firefighting capacity remains critically under-resourced.

When the TWWHA was aflame in January and February this year, the Minister sat on his hands and refused to ask his colleagues in Canberra for help.

Sadly for Tasmania's magnificent national parks on this centenary of Parks, the Minister responsible for them is actively working to undermine their integrity.

As Parks Minister, Matthew Groom is a failure.