UNESCO Snub Prompts Tasmanian World Heritage Area Plan Rejig

 

Last year, UNESCO’s 21-member World Heritage Committee rejected Tasmania Government’s plans to change the way the TWWHA is managed, including rezoning some areas for tourism and allowing the logging of specialty timbers.

The Government has since abandoned logging proposals for the area.

UNESCO also recommended the area’s cultural value, particularly to the Aboriginal community, be properly defined.

The Government, on its website, states the area – which spans across about 1.6 million hectares – is home to:

“Hundreds of archaeological sites, including many cave sites dating from the late Pleistocene and early Holocene epochs. The earliest cave sites are evidence of what are currently understood to be the southernmost people in the world during the last glacial period, who were part of the forefront of the first expansion of modern humans across the globe”.

The Government opened a tender this weekend for a cultural assessment plan.

Rainforest glade in Tasmania's  Wilderness World Heritage AreaPHOTO: Logging plans in the World Heritage Area have been ditched. (ABC: Selina Bryan)

The project, led by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage Centre, involves developing a costed, multi-year plan for cultural surveys of sites and landscapes within the TWWHA.

Environment and Heritage Minister Matthew Groom said the Government was delivering on the commitments they had agreed with the World Heritage Centre.

“This project is significant because it is about identifying everything from significant sites and landscapes, to how connections with the land and history can be identified,” he said.

“We also recognise that these values are not just in the sites that the TWWHA contains but also the landscape, seascape and skyscape have incredible meaning and value, as well.”

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage Council was appointed to oversee the study last year, to the chagrin of other Aboriginal groups.

The survey plan is due for completion by mid-2017, and the Government had said it would form a major part of a submission to the World Heritage Committee.

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