Media Releases - 03 June 2022
Doubly dudded: Major Parties let down nature on Tasmanian World Heritage and forest protection
lutruwita / Tasmania’s Liberal government cements its multiple previous public promises & fails to create promised national park in Kooparoona Niara (Great Western Tiers) region
Government ignores its own consultation that found 97% of respondents wanted a national park created
Despite Tas govt’s talk of treaty and reconciliation, it is also failing to support groundbreaking Aboriginal owned & managed Kooparoona Niara (Great Western Tiers) National Park
Seven years after state and commonwealth Liberal governments fulsomely and repeatedly promised the World Heritage Committee that they would create a new national park in the kooparoona niara region of lutruwita / Tasmania, Tasmania’s Parks Minister Jacqui Petrusma has cemented this betrayal in legislation.
Yesterday in the state parliament, the Tasmanian Liberal government tabled a proclamation under the Nature Conservation Act 2002 to make changes to 25,000ha of high conservation value forest informally reserved by the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.
“But instead of protecting the 25,400ha of this superlative and culturally-significant region as a national park as they promised, the government has grudgingly added a fractional 2,850ha to the existing Mole Creek Karst National Park, while the main 22,550ha has been proposed to be converted to the weakest possible tenure of ‘regional reserves’ and ‘conservation areas’, in which logging and mining are still allowed,” said Jimmy Cordwell, Tasmanian wilderness campaigner for the Wilderness Society.
“Given the ongoing watering-down of environmental protections in lutruwita / Tasmania, including of the statutory management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), not only is this a betrayal, it leaves these high conservation and culturally significant areas at risk.
“It being Reconciliation Week, the Tasmanian government could have thrown its support behind the ground-breaking Kooparoona Niara (Great Western Tiers) National Park proposed by the palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) community and honoured the recommendation in its own Pathway to Treaty report to create the island’s first ever “Aboriginal Protected Area, the kooparoona niara Aboriginal Protected Area in the Western Tiers including the Future Potential Production Forest Land (FPPFL)”. Instead, the government is failing to support the proposal and undermining it with their weak-as-possible conservation sop.
“To make things worse, instead of taking pride in the TWWHA, Tasmania’s single-biggest conservation asset and most valuable tourism attraction, Tasmanian Labor’s shadow Resources Minister, Shane Broad MP, responded with a convincing impression of Tony Abbott by enthusiastically advocating for logging forests in the world’s highest-rated World Heritage wilderness. Mr Broad seems to overlook the fact these forests were added to the World Heritage Area by the previous Labor-Greens government,” said Mr Cordwell.
The Tasmanian government's own consultation in April 2021 on protecting this area found 97% of respondents wanted National Park.
If created, Kooparoona Niara (Great Western Tiers) NP would be the first substantial new national park in Tasmania for about 30 years and the first-ever to be returned to Aboriginal ownership and run and managed by the Aboriginal community.
The state government's own Pathway to Treaty report, released earlier this year, recommended the protection of the Kooparoona Niara region.
Kooparoona Niara (Great Western Tiers) is superlative and spectacular escarpment of extensive old-growth forested slopes, sandstone and dolerite cliffs, waterfalls, and flora and fauna species of high conservation value as well as containing high levels of endemism. It is highly culturally significant to the palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) community. Significant wilderness exists within the area, stretching away to the Central Plateau across a maze of lakes and tarns, an eroded glacial landscape.
Last year, a survey by the Tasmanian National Parks Association found that 90% of Australians agree with the statement “Australia’s remaining wilderness areas should be protected”.
For further comment contact Jimmy Cordwell on 0447 721 882.