THE federal government today nominated to add 170,000 hectares of forest to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced the nomination this afternoon, with the backing of the state's forestry industry, as part of the forest peace deal negotiated in December.
Tasmanian Parliament is yet to pass legislation that underpins the deal, but Mr Burke said the nomination and concessions for industry couldn't wait until the Legislative Council inquiry finished.
``The layer of environmental protection which is added today is truly iconic. While it only represents around a 12 per cent increase to the total existing world heritage area and a significant part of it is already in national parks this still provides the highest level of international protection for some of the most extraordinary forests on earth,'' Mr Burke said.
``This is to grow jobs now and protect iconic old growth forever.''
Mr Burke has also backflipped on his vow not to unlock another Commonwealth dollar under the forest peace deal until the state legislation passed. Instead, $18 million, of almost $200 million set aside to progress parts of the deal, will be handed over now.
That money will be used to:
- Help Forestry Tasmania reschedule planned logging;
- Find a use for woodchips and other residues from logging;
- Create a speciality timbers plan;
- Plan what $100 million set aside for regional development projects spent on; and
- Make offers to buy back sawlog quotas.
MORE REPORTS IN THE EXAMINER TOMORROW