Current Issues

Opinion: Hands off our tourism industry

5 February, 2016

Not content with the damage caused by their anti-industry campaigns targeting Tasmania's forestry and salmon industries, the Greens' attention has now turned to Tasmania's world class tourism industry.

Exaggerated comments from the sidelines leads to misunderstanding and harm to Tasmania's tourism industry.

Greens claims that large areas of Tasmania's iconic wilderness destinations have been seriously damaged by bushfires are exaggerated and have the potential to deter tourists from visiting Tasmania.

This is an unfair and deliberate attack on Tasmania's tourism industry. Tourism operators will be hit with unnecessary downturn in business if the Greens comments are taken seriously by tourists considering visiting these areas.

We seek to properly manage our natural assets yet are continuously frustrated by unscientific, ideological driven rhetoric that prevents required action and invariably results in greater than necessary damage.

The fact is that little over 1 per cent of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was impacted by bushfires. Recovery and rehabilitation planning for these areas has already started and the Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments are working together to manage the situation.

The Greens track record on attacking important Tasmanian industries was well-known.

The Greens attacked our renewable Hydro system suggesting we build coal fired power stations, then they attacked our forest industry and brought it to its knees, they recently turned their attention to the salmon industry - and now it appears our tourism industry is in their sights," he said.

In New Zealand their target is the dairy industry. It's clear they will simply say anything at a particular point in time to get publicity.

While I was getting a report on the fire situation at the Burnie Fire Command Centre a couple of weeks ago, Greens Senator Nick McKim was taking happy snaps and protesting against Tasmanian jobs at Lapoinya in front of a pine plantation.

I have full confidence that the Tasmanian emergency services have responded appropriately to managing the threats to our community and important environmental assets and that national support has been timely and effective.

Since 1927 there have been at least 32 inquiries into bushfire management in Australia. It might be useful for the Greens to read the recommendation of these inquiries before they trot out seeking another.

It is important to learn from each incident and to suggest yet another costly inquiry is completely concerning and will not reveal anything we don't already know.

A common theme from these inquiries is increased emphasis on risk management including fuel reduction.(1)

The recommendations around fuel management are clear yet the Greens send conflicting messages to the community depending on their agenda of the day.

Instead of complaining every time they see a puff of smoke on the horizon from controlled fuel reduction burns, it's time for the Greens to get serious about bushfire prevention and leave our valuable job creating industries alone.

(1) P. J. Kanowski , R. J. Whelan & S. Ellis (2005) Inquiries following the 2002-2003 Australian bushfires: common themes and future directions for Australian bushfire mitigation and management, Australian Forestry, 68:2, 76-86, DOI:10.1080/00049158.2005.10674950

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