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Liberal Party Lunacy – Let’s Log the World Heritage Area!

After decades of brawling over the fate of Tasmania’s forests, the issue was to a very large degree resolved last year and for the first time in the 10 years or so I have been living here, news and talkback shows have not been endlessly discussing the bitter debate and Tasmania seemed destined at last to move forward. Enter the liberal party – Tony Abbott, Greg Hunt and very possibly next month, a new Tasmanian State liberal Government, all hell-bent on reinvigorating the fighting over Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed forests.

Styx Valley World Heritage Area Tasmania

Styx Valley World Heritage Area Tasmania

Forests “detract from” otherwise great World Heritage Area

The catch-cry at the moment from federal environment minister Greg Hunt is that much of the 170,000 hectares added to the World Heritage area last June is in fact “degraded” and “should never have been added because they significantly detract from what is one of the great World Heritage Areas”.  He is referring to areas such as the Styx Valley, Upper Florentine Valley, Weld Valley and the forests adjacent to Lake St Clair in the Navarre Plains. It is undeniable that logging has occurred in parts of these valleys, but to exclude the entire areas from the World Heritage Area due to this logging (which for decades was fiercely protested due to the now fulfilled World Heritage potential of these forests) beggars belief.

Upper Florentine Valley World Heritage Area Tasmania

Upper Florentine Valley World Heritage Area Tasmania

The cynics could quite convincingly mount an argument that these forests were deliberately and strategically logged precisely to create this situation whereby opponents of forest conservation could now claim that the areas are in fact “degraded” and should be excluded from the World Heritage Area. To “reward” those responsible for degrading these forests in the first place by removing World Heritage status and sending them straight back in to log the rest too represents an utterly appalling sense of judgement.

Upper Florentine Valley & Wild Rivers National Park

The background mountains have long been listed as World Heritage, and Greg Hunt says the foreground forests are not only “degraded” but that “they significantly detract from what is one of the great World Heritage Areas”.

Contact the liberal party and sign a petition today!

The photos in this post are all from these forests that are as of today World Heritage listed, but come June could be logged. Please sign and share online petitions and contact your local Liberal Member of Parliament to make sure they know that logging the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area is a policy that will cost them votes. Even the Tasmanian Forest Industry is calling on the Liberals to retract this policy! It sure is a sign of the times when Tasmanian ENGO’s and Forest Industry representatives are standing arm in arm against government policy.

Giant eucalypts, Styx Valley

Giant eucalypts, Styx Valley

Federal Liberal contact details

Tasmanian State Liberals contact details

Reference for quotes in this article come from the ABC online Feb 3 2014 and ABC online Feb 4 2014

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About Luke

Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.