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Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area forests saved

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Christine Milne 24 Jul 2014

In 2014 the Abbott government failed in its attempt to reverse additions of high conservation value forests to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) that would have opened up the possibility of logging these areas. The Abbott government's bid to change the boundaries would haved allowed the logging of forests within the boundary modifications to the first put forward in 1989, and accepted by the World Heritage Committee in 2013. This could have resulted in the TWWHA being listed as "in danger".

On 23 July 2014, the World Heritage Committee unanimously rejected as "feeble" the Australian Government's bid to delist 74,000 ha of Tasmania's World Heritage listed forests to logging.

Backlash against Australia's move

Christine established a Senate inquiry into the Abbott government's plans to delist the forests and a full day public hearing took place in Hobart on 31 March 2014, with an additional hearing in Canberra on 6 May 2014. The committee delivered its report on 15 May 2014, recommending that the Abbott government's proposal to the World Heritage Committee to remove 74,000 ha from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area be withdrawn. The full report can be downloaded here.

Over 100 members of the the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) wrote to Prime Minister Abbott about his boundary downgrade, expressing their"concern about policy reversals and regressive legislative and management changes affecting conservation and protected areas at both state and federal level in the past two years in Australia. This retreat from many years of leadership and achievement by governments of all political persuasions is both unfortunate and unprecedented." You can read the full letter by downloading the pdf at the bottom of the page.

We rallied in the forests and in towns to show that Australians valued our World Heritage Areas and would not stand by to watch the Abbott government destroy them in the name of an anti-environment idealogy.


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