The World Heritage Committee’s draft decision to not approve the Federal Government’s attempt to delist 74, 000 hectares of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), is a wake-up call to both Tony Abbott and Will Hodgman to abandon their ideological bent against wild places, and instead celebrate our unique global asset, Greens Leader Kim Booth MP said today.
“The two World Heritage expert bodies, the IUCN and ICOMOS, have each sent an unequivocal recommendation to the Committee to not approve the Federal government’s request to delist areas from Tasmania’s internationally acclaimed World Heritage Area,” said Mr Booth.
“This is great news for Tasmania’s brand, for our unique wild places and cultural heritage.”
“The Abbott Liberal government’s ideologically-driven cynical political exercise has been exposed as such on the international stage. The only way they can redeem themselves, and Australia’s global reputation, is to withdraw this destructive delisting proposal immediately.”
“Both independent expert bodies were critical of the lack of information provided by the Abbott government to back up its claims that the area did not meet world heritage criteria.”
“The IUCN report states that the proposed excisions would impact on attributes recognised as having Outstanding Universal Value, including large areas of natural old growth forests, and would reduce the integrity of the WHA property through loss of habitat connectivity and other threats.”
“The ICOMOS report states bluntly that the delisting would ‘... appear to weaken rather than strengthen the credibility of the List in terms of working against the best interests of the cultural attributes of the property’.”
“Not only do these expert recommendations and the Committee’s draft decision present an embarrassing rebuke to Mr Abbott, they also exposes attempts by previous state governments to destroy the unique natural and cultural values by their deliberate strategy to drive logging roads into this area, which has now been recognised as having attributes of Outstanding Universal Value – twice within twelve months.”
“Both Mr Hodgman and Mr Abbott need to let go of their ideological bent, and heed the experts’ recommendations that they get on with delivering the management priorities and cultural heritage interpretation commitments that our unique World Heritage Area deserves,” Mr Booth said.