The Australian and Tasmanian Governments welcome the report of the World Heritage monitoring mission to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and we accept all the recommendations.
The report was prepared by experts representing the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) who visited the property in November last year.
“The report concludes that the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) continues to be in an overall good state of conservation,” Minister Hunt said.
“It is pleasing that the monitoring mission has recognised the current process for revising the management plan for the TWWHA as being high by global standards.”
“The report provides 20 clear recommendations that will help our governments improve the way the TWWHA is managed and we accept these recommendations.”
In the lead-up to and after the World Heritage Committee meeting in Germany last July, the Tasmanian Government had addressed many of the concerns raised by the Committee and by Tasmanians during consultation on the draft management plan.
“Today we confirm that we accept the recommendation of the monitoring mission that special species timber harvesting should not be allowed anywhere in the World Heritage Area,” Minister Groom said.
“It was important that the mission experts had the opportunity to hear all sides of the debate, and having done so, their clear advice to the World Heritage Committee is that there should no timber harvesting in the World Heritage Area including for specialty timbers.”
We acknowledge there are some in the special species timber industry who will be disappointed by this outcome. However, we ensured they were able to put their case directly to the Mission.
The Tasmanian Government will work with the special species timber industry to determine how its future wood supply needs can be met from outside the World Heritage Area.
As the Tasmanian Government has previously committed, future potential production forest land within the TWWHA will not be available for commercial forestry.
In considering any alternate reserve classification within the TWWHA, the Government recognises the role of the Tasmanian Parliament and the need to undertake a broad community consultation.
Tourism has a vital role to play in promoting public understanding of the importance of the Tasmanian Wilderness and it is pleasing this was recognised clearly by the monitoring mission.
Minister Groom said that “the Tasmanian Government was absolutely committed to protecting the unique wilderness and cultural values of the TWWHA. It is pleasing that the Tasmanian Government’s EOI process to facilitate sensitive tourism development was recognised as legitimate by the mission, and further that there was recognition that tourism opportunities could be achieved without compromising the values that make the TWWHA one of the most treasured places on the World Heritage List.”
We are grateful to the mission experts for their thoughtful engagement with the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities and their assistance in mapping out a way forward to secure a better recognition of the cultural values of the TWWHA.
We have provided funding for the cultural heritage study on the way Tasmania’s first people had shaped the land and their continuing connection to country.
Minister Groom acknowledged the mission’s constructive support for the joint management approach to cultural values in the TWWHA proposed under the draft Management Plan.
“The Tasmanian Government has a strong commitment to pursuing joint management opportunities with the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities and we greatly appreciate the support expressed by the mission in relation to that initiative,” Minister Groom said.
The Australian Government will formally respond to the mission’s recommendations in its State Party Report on the state of conservation of the TWWHA.
The World Heritage Committee will consider the state of conservation at its meeting in July.
The Australian and Tasmanian governments will continue to work closely with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee in the lead up to the Committee’s meeting.
We are committed to ensuring that the Outstanding Universal Value of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is protected and maintained for future generations.
The report of the Reactive Monitoring Mission to the TWWHA is available from UNESCO’s website: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/documents