The ongoing equivocation within the Liberal Party over Tasmania's World Heritage Area is endangering the state's tourism and food branding, risking community division and will hurt the very people Tony Abbott says he wants to help, Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said today.
"The community does not want a reignition of the ‘forest wars', which is what would happen if redneck elements within the Liberal Party get their way and scuttle the World Heritage Area," Senator Milne said.
"The forest industry knows that tearing down the conservation outcomes will shatter any hope for jobs or markets.
"Fiddling with the World Heritage Area would be an economic blow to Tasmania. It is integral to our clean, green branding and any moves which could endanger it would set the state back decades," Senator Milne said.
"If the government tries to alter the World Heritage Area's boundaries then it risks it being listed as World Heritage in Danger, which would devastate the state's tourism, agriculture, and branding.
"It would also be an international embarrassment, putting Tasmania in global news for the wrong reasons and would add to the world's uneasiness over Australia's behaviour at the recent climate talks in Warsaw and handling of the Indonesian spying dispute.
"In 2008 it was estimated that our World Heritage area was responsible for close to 4000 jobs and $424 million in business turnover, why would you risk such an important part of our economy?
"It's time for Tony Abbott to drop the idea and pay up the outstanding $9 million for management of the area," Senator Milne said.