Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Parks spokesperson
The government's statements about not logging in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is a step forward but Tasmanians need to know what the Liberals really mean when they say they 'accept the United Nations' Report recommendations'.
While being clear about not logging in the TWWHA, the state government has been less than clear about the remaining 19 recommendations made by UNESCO. What Minister Groom is doing about Aboriginal heritage protection, fire and biosecurity risks, and, critically, tourism developments in the Wilderness Zone, is murky, at best.
The UN strongly recommends that the 'Wilderness' zoning remain central to management of the TWWHA. Under Minister Groom's disgraced draft TWWHA management plan, the 'wilderness' zoning is replaced by 'remote recreation area,' an attempt to weaken protection of the area's natural values.
The Liberals need to put a stop to their opaque EOI process to exploit the TWWHA now if they really mean business.
The Minister's final management plan for the TWWHA is due at the end of 2016. That plan should look very different from the woeful current draft and have the UN's recommendations reflected clearly, but we shouldn't have to wait around until the end of year to see it. Minister Groom should make it a priority.
The UNESCO recommendation that fire risk be minimised by adequate resourcing should also encourage the state government to have a hard look at the management of the January fires.
With specialty timbers' logging in the TWWHA rejected, there's a concern now about what other protected areas the Liberals might open up to industry.
Ministers Groom and Gutwein need to confirm that Tasmania's regional reserves and conservation areas will not be exploited after decades of waste of special species timber under the wood-chipping industry.
Apart from anything else, to log in those areas would be another very black mark against the State's bid for Forest Stewardship Certification.