World Heritage Reps urged to rebuff Tasmanian Government on rainforest logging, maintain outstanding universal values

MEDIA RELEASE  24th November, 2015


Bob Brown Foundation and Markets For Change this morning briefed representatives of the World Heritage Committee Advisory bodies on the destruction of World Heritage values that would result from proposed logging and urged them to rebuff the political  attempt by the Tasmanian government to pressure them to accede to its demands.

Jenny Weber, campaigns manager of the Bob Brown Foundation, presented a case study of rainforest logging’s destructive impact in a southern forest coupe conducted as an experiment by Forestry Tasmania.

“We are deeply alarmed by the prospect of Australia permitting logging, mining and inappropriate tourism developments inside the boundaries of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and so strongly support the World Heritage Committee’s decision that urges Australia to ensure that commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire property – we want to see this upheld as a result of this visit. Additionally we urge the Tasmanian Government to adhere to the World Heritage Committee decision that urges establishment of strict criteria for new tourism development within the TWWHA which would be in line with the primary goal of protecting the property’s Outstanding Universal Values, including its wilderness character,” Ms Weber said.

“The rainforest ‘special species’ logging trial in the southern forests coupe EP048C had demonstrated the range and scale of disturbance associated with such logging. Any attempt to log in the World Heritage property will be significantly detrimental to the maintenance of Outstanding Universal Values,” Ms Weber said.

Peg Putt, CEO of Markets For Change presented a summary of the political nature of the Tasmanian government’s continued resistance to the World Heritage Committee’s firm request in July that Australia ensure that all commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire World Heritage Area, and that all areas of public lands within the area have a status that ensures adequate protection of the outstanding universal values of the property.

“The Tasmanian government is playing semantic games by now claiming that the logging they want to see in the World Heritage Area is not commercial, and therefore outside the scope of the World Heritage Committee decision, when the legislation is clear that a charge will be made for the rainforest timbers extracted and the product sold. Redefining native forest logging to mean only industrial logging of eucalypts does not negate the need to protect the ecological and aesthetic values when logging rainforest species.”

“There is an enormous area opened for special species logging by Tasmanian legislation passed late last year, such that 1.1 million hectares in other reserves and 400,000 hectares of Future Potential Production Forest land are available in addition to timber arising from ongoing forestry in the permanent production zone allocated to Forestry Tasmania. There is no way that yet another 20,000 hectares of World Heritage forests is also required,’ Ms Putt said.

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
Peg Putt

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