In a worrying development, decades worth of environmental campaigning could be lost under plans unveiled by the Tasmanian government to open up the world heritage area to logging and tourism.
Under the rhetoric of supporting Indigenous people, the government has released the draft Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan Project, while opening up the prospect of major new developments withing the region.
The National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 requires that the draft plan be made publically available to allow for representations to be made.
Your chance to have a say ends on Sunday 22 March 2015.
The following comes from The Guardian:
The Tasmanian government is attempting to remove the term “wilderness” from the state’s wilderness world heritage area, opening the vast ecosystem to selective logging, cruise ships and landing strips for aircraft.
In a draft plan, extracts of which have been seen by Guardian Australia, the term “wilderness” is dropped because it is considered “deeply problematic for Aboriginal people” and replaced by “natural area”. The document states the current terminology “implies a landscape empty of human culture”.
The plan refers to the “extraction of speciality timbers” within the wilderness area, indicating that logging may be allowed for the first time since the 1.58m-hectare area was inscribed on the world heritage list in 1982.
Cruise ships berths will be considered on Lake Gordon, Macquarie harbour and Port Davey, with landing sites for planes and helicopters to be permitted in areas including Cradle mountain and the Walls of Jerusalem national park.
The plan also axes wording from the area’s previous strategy document that pledged to ensure the world heritage site remained “in as good or better condition than at present”.
The plan marks a significant escalation in the kind of development allowed within the world heritage area, with a shift towards “commercial tourism” rather than the status quo of highly restricted access.
Tasmania’s wilderness world heritage area covers about a fifth of the state and includes tracts of largely untouched forests, lakes and mountains. It is listed internationally for both its environmental and cultural value.
For further information
You can see the response from The Greens’ Christine Milne here.
Check here for the response from key Tasmanian enviro groups.
From Gary Caganoff:
With the Tasmanian government wanting to clear-fell the ancient forests and open it’s remoteness to big tourism post a photo of your adventures in the Tasmanian World Heritage wilderness and add what year it was. Let’s show them just how many people love the wildness and remoteness of this 1.5million hectare jewel and want to keep it that way.
You can post a photo on the facebook page.