Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
Minister Groom stood resolutely with his anti-environment Federal colleagues in Parliament this morning, as he sought to defend savage Commonwealth funding cuts to management of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The Federal Budget makes it clear that funding for management of the TWWHA, particularly the extra 170 000 hectare extension of 2013, will be cut by $3.4M next year and then progressively cut each year until 2018-19 until it flat lines in the out years.*
Yet Minister Groom had the hide to say both governments had an ongoing commitment to the TWWHA. They sure have a strange way of showing it.
Over Summer, bushfires devastated the TWWHA, scorching landscapes that had never burned before, and no one thought would burn. Global warming is here and dry lightning strikes are predicted to continue to increase.
It is patently clear that the TWWHA needs more funding and resources to ensure its protection, not less.
To excuse his Federal colleagues’ cuts to TWWHA funding, Minister Groom talked up commercial development in our wild places as a management funding option. The assertion is dishonest and cynical. Money made by private developers goes straight into their pockets, not into protecting the places they profit from.
Minister Groom is drawing a long bow calling himself the Minister for the Environment and Parks. It is difficult to identify one action he has taken as Minister to protect or manage Tasmania’s reserved lands.
His only apparent solution is commercial exploitation and this continues as he watches his Canberra colleagues savagely cut funding to manage our globally significant World Heritage Area.
*Page 57, Federal Budget Paper 3, Part 2