Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
With an estimated 14,000 hectares of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) burned or still burning, and legitimate resourcing questions being asked, the Premier's announcement late yesterday of a review is a woefully inadequate response.
An independent inquiry that calls for expert input and submissions, along with public hearings and a set of recommendations to be made public is clearly required.
These have been no ordinary fires and the damage they have caused, and are causing, to landscapes that won't recover has been extreme.
If the Premier and his Ministers aren't moved by the loss of these precious, globally unique landscapes, they should at least support an independent inquiry to better protect Tasmania's economically priceless natural assets in future.
A 2009 Commonwealth Government report found the TWWHA delivers an estimated $1.3 billion in direct and indirect economic benefit to the State, and sustains up to 5500 jobs.*
We simply cannot afford to take a limp, minimalist approach to protecting the TWWHA.
There are legitimate questions to be answered about the level of resourcing available to the Parks and Wildlife Service to respond to the current fire crisis and those in future, along with the role of governments in prioritising both the protection of life and communities as well as our valuable natural assets.
in an age of climate disruption and the increased likelihood of extreme fire events, an independent inquiry is clearly required to ensure in future we have the capacity to respond to fires in the TWWHA before they flare out of control and change irrevocably Tasmania's priceless wilderness.