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Protect TWWHA: Abbott government on notice

Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne says this weekend's report from the World Heritage Committee (WHC) should send a strong signal that Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Premier Will Hodgman will not get away with their blatant attempt to undermine the values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The WHC has put the Australian Government on notice that its proposed management plan for the TWWHA is of "concern," that "mineral exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status," and that "commercial logging and mining" are not permitted within the entire property.

"I wrote to all members of the WHC drawing their attention to the Australian government's efforts to undermine Tasmania's World Heritage area with the draft management plan, and I'm pleased the Committee has responded with this clear warning," said Senator Milne.

"How many times does the United Nations have to tell Australia that World Heritage areas are not quarries to be dug up, cut down or have roads and resorts built over them?"

"How many times does Australia have to be told to fund Aboriginal people to interpret and participate in the cultural presentation of the TWWHA?

"People in Tasmania and from around Australia love Tasmania's wilderness, forests and wildlife and have consistently fought to have them protected and will continue to do so," said Senator Milne.

"It took decades to have these forests protected. It was a national embarrassment when the World Heritage Committee took just seven minutes to reject PM Abbott's efforts to have them delisted last year. It will be another attempt at vandalism if PM Abbott continues down the path of reassessing wilderness areas as recreational zones so that developers, loggers and miners can move in.

"The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is globally renowned for its outstanding universal values, but it is also renowned in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as one property for which protection has been and will continue to be hard fought.

"In or out of politics, I will not stop campaigning for the integrity of Tasmania's wilderness," said Senator Milne.

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