Submisssion to the TWWHA draft management plan consultation

23 Mar 2015 | Christine Milne

Submission from Senator Christine Milne

I have a strong interest in the management of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) and am totally committed to upholding the Convention and its Operational Guidelines, which make clear the responsibility of the State Party, Australia, to uphold and enhance the Outstanding Universal Values of a property.

What is being proposed in Tasmania is wrong and is in contravention of the Convention and its Operational Guidelines.

Following my election to the Tasmanian Parliament in 1989, I was part of the negotiations to double the area protected. Regrettably, the forests of the eastern boundary were deliberately excluded by the Tasmanian and federal governments of the day, in spite of having proven World Heritage values. I have been an active participant in the community and in the Australian Senate in the subsequent two decades to enlarge the area, which occurred in 2013 and incorporated all relevant natural and cultural values, particularly the magnificent forests.
Our TWWHA is unique within the World Heritage system. It is one of the few properties which are listed for natural as well as cultural values. It is also the only property for which wilderness is such a defining characteristic that it is included in its title.

A revised management plan for the property is long overdue. The 2010, 2012 and 2013 extensions to the property needed to be dealt with by a comprehensive review of the plan to manage their additional values.

Since the last major plan review in 1992, we are facing the first impacts of a changed climate as well as more risk of spreading invasive species and disease. Climate change is presenting a greater risk of fire, which can be beneficial to some landscapes but detrimental to others. Thus requiring specific protection measures for particularly vulnerable areas. Increasing temperatures and changed ocean currents are also affecting the spread of species and frequency of algal blooms.

I don't intend to respond to all aspects of the draft management plan, but rather wanted to focus on the political decision to remove wilderness values from the management of the property. If allowed to proceed, in contravention of the Operational Guidelines to the Convention, the removal of wilderness values will see the property degraded and will irrevocably change its nature and appeal, as private infrastructure development, logging and mining will follow.

I welcome the focus in the draft management plan on continuing research and monitoring, improving access to research, and recognising the need for better interpretation and presentation. But I do not regard private sector infrastructure, jet skis and logging as "interpretation and presentation".

To read Senator Milne's full submission please download the PDF at the bottom of the page.