Legal Perspectives from EDO Tasmania
21 May 2014: Environment Minister’s World Heritage Claims Inaccurate
On 20 May 2014, ABC online quoted Environment Minister Greg Hunt talking about the IUCN report, released on 16 May 2014, into the proposal to reduce the size of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The Minister reportedly said:
“The overall finding is that only 45 per cent of the entire area was in any way old growth, so in other words 55 per cent had been logged,”
This statement is incorrect and highly misleading.
The IUCN report, to which the Minister refers, recommends that the Australian government’s proposal to remove 74,000 hectares from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area be rejected.
The IUCN report says at page 36:
“c.85% of the area proposed for excision is natural forest – c.45% being old growth forest (c.30,000ha). Only 10% of the area is regenerating from logging since 1960 and only c.4% of the area is regarded as having been heavily disturbed. Only 8ha of forest plantation (0.01%) appears to be included in the areas proposed for excision.”
It could not be clearer – it is simply false to say 55% of the area proposed for removal from the World Heritage Area has been logged. The report clearly states 10% of the area has been logged at some time since 1960.