Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Tasmania needs a Wilderness Act

“Tasmanian has some of the largest and most intact national parks in Australia but it does not have a Wilderness Act to protect these areas.  Yesterday’s policy announcement by the state’s Liberal Opposition for more tourism development in national parks is going in the wrong direction.  Now more than ever, Tasmania needs to protect its most endangered and precious asset, its outstandingly beautiful wilderness”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The policy changes proposed by Tasmania’s Liberal Party will see wilderness within national parks Tasmania being eroded”, said Mr Muir.

“To stop the loss of Tasmania’s high quality wilderness areas, wilderness-specific state legislation is necessary,” said Mr Muir.  

“The wilderness within the World Heritage Area has already been compromised by tourism.  A corridor for commercial tourism is provided along the Overland Track and another corridor provides road access to the Franklin River to enable short rafting trips through wilderness.  These concessions indicate that even this World Heritage Area, one of the best wilderness areas in the world, is vulnerable under this proposed policy change,” Mr Muir said.

“The place for commercial tourism development is in the adjoining towns and villages next to national parks were utilities like water, power and sewerage already exist, instead of making a mess of the national parks estate,” he said.

“On a national level, the Liberal Party has an excellent opportunity to negotiate bilateral federal-state agreements that ensure wilderness in national parks is protected throughout Australia.  Such an action would ensure Australia’s wilderness is protected for all time.  There is little point in reserving national parks only to develop protected areas under state-sanctioned tourism development schemes”, said Mr Muir.

“The political process needs to get the protection framework for wilderness areas in national parks right, or these fantastic natural areas will be lost to the world”, said Mr Muir commenting on the Tasmanian Liberal Opposition proposal accelerate tourism development in that state’s national parks.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)