Tasmanian & Australian Government in embarrassing UNESCO spotlight again

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Time to deliver genuine World Heritage management and protection

Threats to Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area by the Tasmanian Government's plan to allow logging and mining in the property, weakened protections of Outstanding Universal Values, intent to degrade wilderness quality and the Australian Government's failure to meet numerous requests on assessing cultural significance, have been criticised in the draft decision of the World Heritage Committee.

Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said, “This World Heritage draft decision on Tasmania urges a review of the proposed management plan to ensure logging and mining are not permitted across the entire property and reiterates the need for proper consultation with the Aboriginal community and an expeditious survey of cultural attributes of the property.  Will Hodgman's Government and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt urgently need to publicly commit to addressing these concerns and draft recommendations by the World Heritage Committee."

The Bob Brown Foundation is calling on the Tasmanian Government to reverse its intentions over the management of Tasmania's World Heritage Area.

"Reinstate the wilderness zone, rule out logging and mining inside the property, upgrade all land tenure to National Park within the World Heritage Area, and get to the job of surveying cultural attributes and adequately funding the property," Jenny Weber said.

"Australia's Government has failed to genuinely engage with the Aboriginal community of Tasmania to assess the cultural heritage values across the World Heritage property.  Dragging their heels on this assessment is a international embarrassment, Jenny Weber said.

"The current Government's plans to log, mine, allow for invasive developments and dump wilderness, replacing it with a 'remote recreation zone', are incompatible with World Heritage Area management. It's time Tasmania and Australia regard the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area with high esteem and act genuinely to protect its outstanding universal values,"  Jenny Weber said.

"It is an international embarrassment that Australia and Tasmania are once again in the international spotlight for attacks on the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, when it should be a world leader for protecting a globally unique wilderness region," Jenny Weber said.

Media contact

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

 

Excerpts from the Draft World Heritage Decision

Available at this link http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2015/whc15-39com-7BAdd-en.pdf

 

  1. Recommend that the Committee urge the State Party to make necessary changes to the proposed management plan to ensure that an adequate protection and management regime is in place to sustain the property’s Outstanding Universal Value in the long term and to ensure that work on completely identifying cultural attributes is undertaken as soon as possible and earlier than 2018 if possible.
  2. Further urges the State Party to ensure that commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire property, and that all areas of public lands within the property's boundaries, including Regional Reserves, Conservation Areas and Future Potential Production Forest Lands, have a status that ensures adequate protection of the OUV of the property;
  3. The draft management plan and the expression of interest process for tourism infrastructure development raise a number of concerns.A number of changes that are being proposed in the draft management plan would appear to directly threaten the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
  4. Is to be recalled that the World Heritage Committee has repeatedly reiterated its position that mineral exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status;
  5. ICOMOS considers that there is as well a fundamental difficulty in creating a plan for which the cultural attributes have not been clearly defined. As a planned survey of cultural attributes is not due to be completed until 2018, the draft plan is not based on a clear identification of the cultural attributes. It should be recalled that the World Heritage Committee has repeatedly called for definition of the cultural value of the property. In the absence of such identification, and in the light of the proposed fundamental changes of direction, the management plan cannot be seen as a document that sustains the OUV of the property.

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