The Abbott government's argument that large areas of Tasmania's World Heritage Area are degraded and should be delisted has been blown out of the water by its own Environment Department at a Senate hearing in Canberra today, say the Australian Greens.
"The Environment Department has confirmed that only 4% of the area the government wants to remove from the Tasmanian World Heritage Area had been disturbed," said Greens Leader and Tasmanian Senator Christine Milne, who initiated the inquiry.
"This backs up what other witnesses have told us and is in stark contrast to the assertions from Senator Richard Colbeck that the area is ‘riddled' with logging coupes, roads and powerlines.
"The government is pursuing an ideological goal in opening up the World Heritage Area to logging, in the face of scientific expertise that demonstrates the area has outstanding universal values.
"This is an international embarrassment for Australia," said Senator Milne.
"The World Heritage Committee is a much respected global organisation but Australia has given it a flimsy submission devoid of detail and scientific evidence to back up its delisting request."
The Senate inquiry has conducted two public hearings and is due to report to the public on 15 May 2014.