January 31, 2014
The Coalition has reached a major milestone in meeting one of its election commitments for Tasmania.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the Coalition is doing what it promised and seeking a minor boundary modification for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).
"This minor boundary modification will restore value to the original Wilderness World Heritage Area listing by removing areas that have been impacted by forestry operations and devalue the existing Outstanding Universal Value," he said.
A proposal for a minor boundary modification will be delivered to the World Heritage Committee in time for it to make a decision at the 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee in June this year.
"The minor boundary modification includes removal of a number of areas containing pine and exotic eucalypt plantations as well as areas that have previously have been impacted by forestry operations and other infrastructure," Senator Colbeck said.
"In total we are seeking the removal of about 74,000 hectares or just 4.7 percent of the entire property, while still retaining high value tall forests and giant trees in the Weld-Snowy Range, Huon Picton, the Great Western Tiers and the Styx-Tyenna regions."
Consideration was taken in the selection of areas proposed for exclusion. Thought was given both to maintaining a coherent boundary and connectivity and retaining areas with important values such as habitat for threatened species, cultural sites, karsts or other features that contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
"No one thinks Tasmania should plunder its natural resources in the pursuit of short term gains. The Coalition's forestry policy will create a truly sustainable forestry industry for Tasmania, providing dividends for the environment, the community and the industry," Senator Colbeck said.
Sixty-five registered 'Giant Trees' remain within the proposed minor boundary modification.
The proposed excisions do not include any areas of National Park that were protected under state law at the time of the 1 February 2013 request to the Committee for a minor boundary modification.
"The proposed boundary modification will deliver additional economic and social outcomes for all Tasmanians while maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the Tasmanian Wilderness," Senator Colbeck said.
Until the proposed boundary modification is agreed to by the World Heritage Committee the current boundary for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Areas remains in place and continues to be protected under national environment law and is subject to its current legal protection and management practices.