Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Tourism spokesperson
The Greens welcome Dr Tony Press’ Report into last January’s fires in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Last summer’s dry conditions left the TWWHA, the jewel in Tasmania’s wilderness crown, exposed. Dr Press’ report confirms the government was unprepared.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of the major reasons visitors come to our shores. The State Government has a responsibility to protect it, and its values, from the threat of fire, for visitors and future generations of Tasmanians.
Climate change and unprecedented dry conditions mean much of the TWWHA’s alpine areas and rainforests are dry enough to burn in January, but tragically not regenerate. Never before have fires destroyed the irreplaceable, fire-sensitive Gondwanan relics like last summer.
It’s disingenuous of the Liberals to continuously cling to previous fires in the TWWHA, such as the Giblin River fire. Previous fires in the TWWHA burnt button grass plains and other regenerative ecosystems, not fire-sensitive subalpine and alpine areas. They did nowhere near the irreparable damage as January’s fires.
Last summer the government failed to call for extra resourcing to protect the TWWHA until well after the fires were out of control, and wilderness assets lost.
We strongly encourage the Liberals to act on all Dr Press' recommendations, especially those around capital investment in resources, like facilities and equipment to enhance aerial fire fighting efforts.
The Greens thank the committed individuals who helped fight last summer’s fires, and continue our call for those crews on the ground to be given greater remote capacity.
Dr Press’ report clearly states last summer’s fires were unprecedented, but as the climate changes they will happen again.
The TWWHA and Tasmania’s Parks have unique environmental and heritage values, but also they are of huge economic value. They are the reason so many people visit our State. These are assets that we risk losing forever if we don't act on Dr Press’ recommendations.