Tasmania's newest World Heritage protection ripped up and ancient forests re-opened for logging?
It’s unprecedented. No government has ever tried to overturn a decision of the World Heritage Committee for political reasons. But, right now Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Prime Minister Tony Abbott are asking the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to reject some of Tasmania’s old growth forests that were approved for the world’s highest protection less than a year ago.Sign the petition to keep World Heritage Listing.
The government is trying to enable logging in protected old growth Tasmanian forests like the Upper Florentine, Styx and Weld Valleys. This would mean the end of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement – a peace deal brokered between conservationists and the timber industry after decades of conflict.
Some people say we have to choose between jobs and the environment. But we don't. Industry, timber workers and green groups signed this historic agreement, and an extension of the World Heritage boundary was a direct outcome. We all agreed. That was important. We sat in meetings working through negotiations on forest types, maps, a sustainable wood supply, and industry structural assistance – for over three years.
Greg Hunt would have Australians and the World Heritage Committee believe that much of the heritage area is already logged and not worth conserving. This isn't true! Less than 7 per cent of the 74,000 hectares, that they want to reject, has ever been logged, and an even smaller percentage of that has been clear-felled. This seven per cent was included in the World Heritage area because, once regenerated, it provides critical connections between logged and unlogged areas of habitat.
Director of Environmental Campaigns
Australian Conservation Foundation