Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
A decade after the Tasmanian Forest Agreement was signed and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) extended under the Labor Green government, the Liberals have moved to formally protect threatened forests inside the TWWHA boundary.
In Parliament today, Parks Minister, Jacquie Petrusma, tabled a proclamation under the Nature Conservation Act 2002 and statutory rules to add reserve status to 25 400 hectares of so-called Future Potential Production Forest (FPPF) inside the TWWHA.
It’s a long way from the same government which, in 2010, joined the then Abbott Government’s embarrassing, failed attempt to wind back TWWHA extensions secured under the TFA.
Regrettably, only 2850 hectares of these high conservation value forests will be properly protected as the Mole Creek Karst National Park.
The remaining 22 550 hectares receives the lesser protection of Conservation Area or Regional Reserve.
Logging and mining are permitted on these tenures, although we trust the Rockliff Government, and indeed no future Tasmanian Government, will be foolish enough to allow such destructive activity in our globally significant wilderness.
These amazing forests are now safer formally in the TWWHA, but there’s still more than 33 000 hectares of intended future reserve forest (FPPF) that remains unprotected and under threat of logging. All these forests require protection as reserves.
We recognise advocacy from Aboriginal community leaders to have these lands returned to Aboriginal ownership, and the unarguable legitimacy of this claim.
We encourage the Rockliff Government to hear this call and respond with meaningful land returns.
The process has stalled, with no lands returned to First Nations people since 2005.
Land returns are core to reconciliation and must be progressed without further delay.