World Heritage push clouded

IT REMAINS unclear whether World Heritage nomination for more than 130,000 hectares of Tasmania's forests will proceed, two weeks before the deadline.

The nomination, due by the end of the month, is a key conservation outcome of the state's forestry peace deal and, without it, green groups are likely to withdraw their support. 

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke interrupted his holiday to meet  the state government and signatories to the agreement yesterday. 

Mr Burke said the delay caused by the Legislative Council's decision to hold an inquiry into the enacting legislation complicated the matter.  

He was frank about the dilemma now faced.

``Some people say that if a nomination doesn't go forward that that would effectively blow the entire agreement apart,'' Mr Burke said. 

``Others say that if a nomination were to go forward, it would run the risk of wrecking the balance of industry outcomes keeping pace with environmental outcomes.''   

The nomination won't proceed unless all signatory groups back it.

Mr Burke indicated financial support for industry could flow before the Legislative Council voted on the bill, in exchange for industry's support for the nomination. 

``I didn't want any money to roll out until we had certainty as to what the outcomes would be. If a World Heritage nomination were to go forward, there's potentially certainty for that part of it.''  

The potential extension of the World Heritage area would take in the controversial Styx Valley, the Weld, Upper Florentine and Great Western Tiers.

Mr Burke has asked industry groups to consider what parts of the agreement that benefit them should be triggered by the nomination going ahead.

Mr Burke's visit coincided with the third day of the Legislative Council inquiry's hearings, but he said he was not here to lobby MLCs. 

Forestry Tasmania told the inquiry it expected to be able to provide only a fraction of the 12,500 cubic metres of specialty timber demanded by industry in the next two years. 


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