Claims from the Abbott and Hodgman governments that the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is degraded are nothing but a smokescreen to increase logging, says Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne.
"I established this Senate inquiry to look at the government's proposal to slash the size of our World Heritage Area, and to test the Prime Minister's claims that the area to be excised was degraded," Senator Milne said during a break in the inquiry's public hearing in Hobart today.
"We've heard from an array of witnesses and submission writers who have overwhelmingly refuted the government's claim.
"The vast bulk of the 74,000 hectares the government wants to remove from the World Heritage list contains high conservation forest, globally significant geomorphic features and sites with unique cultural values.
"This area was acknowledged in 2013 by the World Heritage Committee as having Outstanding Universal Values and nothing has changed, except that we've had a federal and state election.
"The Abbott and Hodgman governments think they can pull the wool over the world's eyes, but the Senate inquiry has demonstrated how flimsy their logging argument is.
"They should just come out and say they want to log our high conservation value forests to burn for electricity, just as previous governments woodchipped them for low value exports," said Senator Milne.
The Senate inquiry will hold another public hearing in Canberra before reporting the parliament on 15 May, 2014.