Tasmanian wilderness is
under threat once again

Janine Kitson

Yet again the Abbott Government continues to make huge assaults on our natural environment.

The magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) is again under threat by a new draft plan of management that allows intrusive private commercial tourist development, logging and mining.

The Federal Government’s proposal to delist the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was overturned last year.

Despite the World Heritage Committee unanimously rejecting the Australian Government’s scandalous proposal to delist 74,000 hectares from the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, it is now being undermined by more subtle means. Despite the Australian and Tasmanian governments’ obligations to the World Heritage convention that a world heritage area must not be degraded, the government now plans to undermine, remove and weaken wilderness safeguards.

Private developers have plans for private accommodation, aircraft landing sites including helicopter facilities and even a 24-bed floating hotel on the Gordon River.

The Tasmanian wilderness is of global significance. Yet if this proposed plan of management goes ahead the protections for wilderness will be permanently

Tasmania’s World Heritage wilderness is no place for logging or mining or intrusive private tourism developments. Visitor experiences to the wilderness area must be strictly monitored and supported by professional public service experts who understand how to protect the long-term values of the precious wilderness.

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area has exceptional scenic beauty. These forests are too valuable to be handed over to cowboy operators who have no understanding of how wilderness provides critical habitat to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals.

When the world is rapidly losing its wilderness areas one would think that everything would be done in a government’s power to protect them. Tasmania’s wilderness is the envy of the world and is shameful that the Tasmanian Liberal Government is prepared to hand over these precious places to their donor mates from the big end of town.

Since 1999, the TWWHA has had a successful management plan in place. The plan was due for review, but what should have been a straightforward process has now been morphed into a blatant attempt to push tourism over-development at the cost of environmental considerations. Maintaining, protecting and enhancing wilderness should remain a priority in the 2014 TWWHA Management Plan.

You can help. Please write and ask your local federal member to defend the TWWHA from this impending disastrous draft plant of management. As well, submissions on the development proposals are open until March 22. For help with this submission, click here.