The Australian Government has lodged a report with the World Heritage Committee that misrepresents the extent of logging in forest surrounding the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said today.
"The Australian Government is putting forward a submission to an international committee that essentially does not tell the truth about what is happening in Tasmania's forests," Senator Brown said.
In the report to the committee the government claims in relation to the Tasmanian forests intergovernmental agreement:
Under the terms of the Agreement, significant iconic areas adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area will be given interim protection from logging activities, including the Upper Florentine, and areas within the Styx, Huon, Picton and Counsel River Valleys, while an independent verification process to assess the values of these areas and available timber reserves is undertaken.
"There are some 18 coupes totalling over 800ha that are being logged, have been logged or are due for logging in the areas the government claims have been protected," Senator Brown said.
"Some of these coupes are within just 1km of the World Heritage Area, which contrasts with the picture the government paints of a secure shield buffering the area from the impacts of logging.
"I have written today to the World Heritage Committee outlining exactly what is happening in Tasmania's forests, including the list of coupes.
"I expect the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, to formally explain to the committee his error in the report," Senator Brown said.