Media Release

Burke jumps the gun on listing

A response by Coalition Forestry spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck to today’s world heritage listing announcement by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke:

“Tony Burke’s arrogant announcement today flies in the face of good governance in the same way many of his decisions have.

“He has pre-empted the Tasmanian parliamentary process by proceeding with a listing before legislation has been completed. It is also a convention that world heritage listing only proceed with the agreement of the State Government. There  are very strong messages coming out of the Tasmanian government that they do not support this process.

“The listing is clearly not supported by the Tasmanian Liberals or the Federal Coalition.

“The normal listing process involves an initial 12-month listing on a tentative list to allow for proper public consultation - followed by consideration by the world heritage committee in the following year. Tony Burke’s decision to bypass this completely cuts off the opportunity for any other of the affected parties to have any say in this matter.

“So the voices of the mining industry, agriculture, tourism, Tasmania's fine furniture and design sector, woodcraft, wooden boat building and the broader community have been snuffed out.

“There are considerable questions about the values of these areas, they have been through no formal consultative assessment process and just because they are claimed by environment groups does not make them so.

“This is evidenced even by the limited critique of the independent verification group (IVG) process conducted by the Australian Institute of Foresters.

“The areas include previously harvested areas some that have been clear felled and burned.

“Given that the world heritage committee consideration of the submission will be so close to the federal election, I will be writing to them to request that consideration of this matter be held over for a further 12 months. We will be making it very clear to the World Heritage Commission that we do not support this extension and why.

“We can then let the people of Tasmania decide whether they want more of their state locked away at the whim of the greens with the clear understanding that we will withdraw this nomination should we win the election and that the world heritage committee should be very cognizant of that fact.”