Mr McKIM question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT, PARKS and HERITAGE, Mr GROOM
Your draft management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area has embarrassed Tasmania on the international stage with the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations handing down a damning draft decision in Paris last week. The UN has effectively condemned your draft plan as failing to provide adequate protection for the outstanding universal values of the area. It has urged the removal of provisions in the draft plan that allow for logging and mining inside the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and the creation of proper tenure to properly protect the property's outstanding universal values.
As the UN clearly do not trust you to look after the World Heritage Area, it seems a delegation will now visit Tasmania, possibly as early as later this year. Are you seriously considering meeting this delegation with, in your hand, a draft management plan that provides for logging and mining inside the world heritage area? What process will you now go through to fix your draft management plan? Will you withdraw your draft plan and redraft it to remove the provisions which allow for logging and mining inside the World Heritage Area property? At the very least, will you now support public hearings of the Tasmanian Planning Commission to allow Tasmanians, who are appalled at your proposed management plan, a chance to have their say in person directly to the Tasmanian Planning Commission?
Madame Speaker, I have to say if there is anyone in this Parliament who has made an art form of embarrassing Tasmania, it would have to be the member who asked the question. The Greens have built a reputation of seeking to undermine Tasmania's reputation internationally. I want to reiterate all the things I have said as we have worked through this process. The Hodgman Liberal Government is serious when it says that it is going through a consultation process. We are committed to ensuring that we protect the outstanding universal values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
I know the Greens are trying to take political advantage out of this process, but we are going through a consultation process to properly understand the views of the Tasmanian community. We are going to take those views on board and we have said that consistently. We are committed to ensuring that we protect the outstanding values of the World Heritage Area. Also, that we facilitate sensible tourism opportunities in the Wilderness World Heritage Area. I would have thought that the member for Franklin, who is a person who led high-end commercial tourism flights into the World Heritage Area, would support the Government.
Mr McKIM - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Once again the minister has used question time to misrepresent my past. I am aggrieved by that and I seek your leave, at the end of question time, to make a brief personal response to that accusation, which is false.
Madam SPEAKER -
Mr GROOM - I understand the member for Franklin's sensitivity on this issue. I look forward to his second attempt at an explanation to the Parliament on this. The fact is the
member for Franklin is a hypocrite on this point. Because before he was in politics he supported high-end commercial tourism into the TWWHA, including accessing the TWWHA via flights. I note that when the member provided his explanation to the Parliament on this issue, he very deliberately used the phrase 'float plane'.
Mr McKim - Float planes?
I've never been on a float plane. What are you talking about?
Madam SPEAKER -
Mr GROOM - When he ruled out flights in his last explanation, he very carefully used the words 'float plane'. I look forward to the member for Franklin ruling out his involvement in
any commercial high-end commercial tourism experience in the World Heritage Area via flights.
Mr McKim - Not once in my life have I been on a float plane.
Mr Gutwein - You've taken money from those who have.
Mr McKim - What sort of an accusation is that? Do you mean when I got paid for taking camping trips through the wilderness?
Madam SPEAKER - Order. The member has a chance to speak at the end of question time. He will not continue his constant interjections trying to clarify it.
Mr GROOM - This is a draft plan. We are taking the views of everyone on board to make sure that we deliver a plan that properly protects the outstanding universal values of the area, that elevates the cultural heritage values of the World Heritage Area and that supports sensible tourism for the benefit of the broad Tasmanian community.
On the visit by the heritage committee and the advisory bodies to Tasmania to talk about this, I make this point: we invited them before the decision. We want them to come to Tasmania to see what we are doing to properly protect this precious area. The Tasmanian Government will stay the course on this. We want to get an outcome that Tasmanians can be proud of, an outcome that properly protects the special values of these extraordinarily natural areas and does so in a manner which supports sensible tourism to the benefit of the broad Tasmanian community.