The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area today received two welcome boosts with the World Heritage Committee’s rejection of the Abbott government’s embarrassing application to delist 74, 000 hectares of the World Heritage Area, followed by the Greens’ securing a commitment from the Premier, Will Hodgman, that the State will not seek to log these forests.
“All Tony Abbott, egged on by his state counterparts, has achieved is turn the glare of the international spotlight on Tasmania, and it was pretty clear that the 21 countries on the WHC were not amused,” Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said.
“After barely seven minutes of debate the Committee threw out this proposal, dismissed as “feeble” by one representative, in a manner which can only be described as an embarrassing slap down.”
“Following this welcome boost to the WHA’s status, Premier Will Hodgman placed on the public record, in response to Greens’ questioning, a commitment to not allow logging within the World Heritage Area.”
“Whereas many people, understandably, believe that World Heritage listing automatically prevents logging of those areas, unfortunately that is not the case.”
“In particular the Liberals’ Bill to overturn the TFA, currently before the Legislative Council, will allow logging in Conservation Areas and Regional Reserves, some of which fall within the World Heritage Area.”
“The Legislative Council will now need to examine closely whether it is good public policy to pass provisions in the Harriss Bill that would allow logging of WHA listed forests in Conservation Areas and Regional Reserves, in contradiction to the commitment the Premier delivered in the Parliament this morning.”
“The Greens will hold Will Hodgman to this undertaking, just as we will also hold him to fulfilling his responsibility to ensure the long overdue cultural heritage assessment and management arrangements investigation is initiated as swiftly as possible, with full consultation with the Tasmanian aboriginal community.”
“Both the Federal and State Liberals were warned that their ideological push to delist these World Heritage Area forests would backfire to the detriment of our international reputation. They now owe it to Tasmania to respect the umpire’s decision, and pull out all stops to rectify the damage inflicted,” Mr Booth said.