Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr GUTWEIN
Australians found out yesterday the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has placed the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage endangered list. Tasmanians found out today UNESCO is also increasingly alarmed about the impact on wilderness and cultural values of your Government's divisive and unpopular expressions of interest process for developments in protected areas.
UNESCO finds your Government's five-year belated tourism master plan for the TWWHA to be wholly insufficient and has asked your Government to assure that any proposal which affects the outstanding universal values of the World Heritage Area need to be referred to the committee. By the Parks and Wildlife Service’s own assessment, the Lake Malbena heli-tourism proposal would degrade wilderness values across many hundreds of hectares of the TWWHA. In short, UNESCO wants your Government to put a stop to the EOI process.
As Premier, what is your response to this damning assessment by the World Heritage Committee?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for that question. It has been my practice to normally call you the Leader of the Greens but until that matter is sorted out I will refer to you as the member for Clark.
Ms O'Connor - I have a letter here from your own Planning minister to the Leader of the Greens and I also have a letter from you. You people are so petty.
Mr GUTWEIN - This is the people's House and it is managed -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. I want the Premier to understand we have one female leader in this place and she should be referred to by her correct title. One woman in leadership in here. You have stitched up the Speaker's role, Chair of Committees, Deputy Chair.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.
Ms O'CONNOR - All men. One woman in leadership and you belittle me.
Mr GUTWEIN - I was not belittling you.
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker. It is simply disrespectful to the Tasmanian Greens and to Ms O'Connor - and to women - that she is not referred to correctly by her title as Leader of the Greens.
Mr SPEAKER - Order. I have dealt with this issue. It is not a point of order. The Premier has the call.
Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will allow Ms O'Connor and you to sort that matter out.
With regard to the question you asked, the World Heritage Committee draft decision on the TWWHA state party report was released on 22 June for its upcoming forty-fourth session to be held in China. I was pleased to read in the report that the committee has welcomed progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2015 Reactive Monitoring Mission and commended this Government on the completion of the cultural values assessment of the 2013 extension area to the TWWHA.
I note that the decision reiterates the need to progress with proclaiming the future potential production forest land and the PTPZ land as reserve land and we are well advanced with that request, having now completed the public consultation phase. I also note the committee has been advised to take note that the finalisation and release of the tourism master plan on 1 June. The committee will address the World Heritage Centre and the advisory body to review this plan in light of their earlier comments. I am advised that the final master plan addresses all of the expectations that were outlined in that draft decision. I concur with the committee that the 2018-19 fires were serious and we have released background papers on a new fire management plan for the TWWHA. The World Heritage Committee highlighted the importance of the TWWHA fire management plan which has been drafted and this is all positive recognition of our efforts to protect the outstanding universal values of the TWWHA. However, I note with concern a reference in the draft decision regarding development of the TWWHA that the Government believes is ill-informed and an over-reach of the World Heritage Committee’s role.
Ms O'Connor - Ill-informed?
Mr GUTWEIN - The Government believes this direction needs to be corrected and is seeking clarification and will also be providing a recommendation in respect to an appropriate alternative position. I have not seen that advice as yet, as I indicated yesterday, but once that advice has been handed down I am certain we will have more to say.
As the question has gone to matters of environment, I think it is perfectly reasonable for me to raise a matter that was reported today with Ms O’Connor, as she has indicated as the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, in regard to this disgraceful circumstance of the meat traps.
Ms O'Connor - Do you understand Parks and Wildlife does that too?
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr GUTWEIN - The question is what relevant authorisations were obtained by the BBF under the Nature Conservation Act 2002 and the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 in terms of taking this wildlife?
Ms O'CONNOR - Mr Speaker, point of order on relevance. The Premier has not addressed the question he was asked and now he is deflecting. Could you please turn his mind to the actual question, which is whether he will follow UNESCO’s advice and put a stop to the EOIs?
Mr SPEAKER - Thank you, Ms O’Connor, for the point of order. The Premier had been answering that question and he had moved onto some general environmental issues.
Mr GUTWEIN - I did provide a response on that question and as the matter went to environmental matters I think is perfectly reasonable in this place to raise this dreadful and outrageous set of circumstances that have been brought to light this morning -
Greens members interjecting.
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr GUTWEIN - and to ask whether the Bob Brown Foundation met the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1993. Was permission sought from the mining company prior to the mining ease being accessed or was it a matter of trespass? I understand on the mining lease that the cameras have since been passed onto Tasmania Police for consideration, but it would have been reasonable to expect the self-proclaimed Leader of the Tasmanian Greens -
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker, I ask the Premier to withdraw that. It is factually incorrect and personally offensive.
Ms O'Connor - Withdraw. You cannot diminish the one woman in leadership in this place. Enough!
Mr SPEAKER - Order, order. It is up to the member if she is offended to raise the issue, not for somebody else, therefore I cannot ask unless she does.
Ms O'CONNOR - Mr Speaker, I am personally offended by the Premier describing me as the 'self-appointed Leader of the Greens'. I am the Leader of the Greens; I am the leader of a registered political party. I also happen to be the only woman in here in a leadership role and on behalf of women I demand respect.
Mr SPEAKER - Thank you for that, Ms O’Connor. Leader of the House.
Mr FERGUSON - Mr Speaker, the behaviour from the Greens member for Clark, Ms O'Connor, is out of control today. It is disorderly, it is completely inappropriate and it is setting a terrible standard for the first question time in the new parliament. I ask you, Mr Speaker, to deal with Ms O'Connor if this behaviour continues.
Ms O'Connor - By calling me by my correct title.
Mr FERGUSON - It is highly disorderly and extremely unprofessional.
Mr SPEAKER - On that point, Ms O’Connor, I have indicated that I would talk to you privately over this issue. I do not expect it to be raised again in this Chamber. The Premier has the call.
Mr GUTWEIN - Thank you, Mr Speaker. The point that I was finishing was to simply say that I would hope we would hear from Ms O'Connor later today in terms of these circumstances and her view on whether or not she thinks it is appropriate that a range of statutes may have been transgressed and laws may have been broken.
It is beholden on her, if she is the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens in both spirit and in word, that she would stand up and condemn those actions.