World Heritage Area approval

AN international committee voted this afternoon to extend Tasmania's World Heritage Area by 170,000 hectares.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee made the decision with the support of five participant countries in Cambodia just after 1pm Tasmanian time.

The extension will grow the more than one million hectare South-West World Heritage Area by just over 10 per cent.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke nominated the area for an extension in January and logging in the nominated areas ceased last month.

Extending the World Heritage Area by 123,000 hectares was a key plank of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, and that area was expanded by the Australian World Heritage Committee to create a smoother boundary to the protected area. 

The extension areas will become reserves under Tasmanian law as part of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Act.

The Liberal Party and a number of independent MLCs have spoken out against the nomination, saying Mr Burke did not consult with the community and had no mandate to put the nomination forward.

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