Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area provides secure habitat for some of the world’s most unique animals and protects one of the last true wilderness regions on Earth, it encompasses a greater range of World Heritage listed natural and cultural values than any other region on Earth. Environmental groups are committed to ensuring the current agenda by Tasmania’s Government to weaken the protections of this unique wild landscape are met with opposition.
Dr Eric Woehler, Convenor of BirdLife Tasmania notes that the World Heritage Area is home to one of the world's rarest birds - the Orange-bellied Parrot. "Increasing human presence and activities will place greater pressures on all species present in the WHA, threatening the outstanding values for which the area is recognised around the world" he added. "Recent work by BirdLife Tasmania has identified additional bird values of international significance in the WHA", Dr Woehler said.
"The cartel of State Government, its Parks and Wildlife Service and the big end of the tourism industry must stop. It is turning the parks service into a grubby tourism broker, competing unfairly with small eco-friendly tourism operators outside the World Heritage Area, and putting the World's wilderness heritage at risk", said Charlie Sherwin, of Environment Tasmania
The Bob Brown Foundation’s Jenny Weber stated, “On a global stage, this is one World Heritage Area that is recognised for wilderness values, these values should not be compromised. Maintaining, protecting and enhancing wilderness should be the priority. The Wilderness zone needs to be put back in to the management rules. Our Foundation calls on the Premier to talk to conservationists and Aboriginal Tasmanians as much as he talks to his business backers. Under this current agenda Tasmania will see a public asset given away for private profit at a net loss to the public again.”
“The Management Plan draft does not set clear criteria or guarantee public scrutiny. Despite attempts by the state government to reassure the public that only sensible and appropriate development proposals will gain approval, it provides no confidence that this will be the outcome,” Nicholas Sawyer, Tasmanian National Parks Association.
Tasmanian Conservation Trusts, Peter McGlone states, "When the Liberal Party launched its 'Un-locking the potential of our national parks and reserves' policy during the state election the then leader of the opposition Will Hodgman told the Examiner newspaper (19 February 2014 ) that the 'normal planning' process would be applied.
Clearly the state government has even broken an election promise or is being very misleading because the approach they are taking to planning and approving developments in the most remote wilderness areas is anything but normal and is a massive change from what has been permitted.”
"Despite the divisive nature of this draft tourism plan, we welcome the official opening of the consultation process. We will do all we can to understand and articulate the implications of this plan, engage the public and ensure it is reinstated as a robust guide to proper management of the outstanding cultural and natural values," said Vica Bayley, from The Wilderness Society.
Dr Eric Woehler, BirdLife Tasmania 0438 204 565
Vica Bayley, The Wilderness Society, 0400 644 939
Jenny Weber, The Bob Brown Foundation 0427 366 929
Peter McGlone, Tasmanian Conservation Trust, 0406 380 545
Nick Sawyer, Tasmanian National Parks Association 0414 718 831