Hunt told to visit logging sites

FEDERAL Environment Minister Greg Hunt has rejected claims Australia is engaging in ``political horse-trading'' in its bid to remove 74,000 hectares of forests from the Tasmanian World Heritage Area.

Greg Hunt

Greg Hunt

While in Tasmania spruiking funding for a different World Heritage site - the Port Arthur historic site - Mr Hunt said the government would pursue its promise to reduce the size of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area on its merits.

``We make our case. We do these things on their merits,'' Mr Hunt said. 

On Saturday, a draft decision made by the two expert advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee rejected the federal government's request. 

The final decision will be made by the World Heritage Committee when it meets in Qatar next month. 

Environment Tasmania spokesman Phil Pullinger said Mr Hunt should have visited the World Heritage sites the government was trying to log during yesterday's visit. 

``Mr Hunt is visiting the wrong World Heritage site,'' Mr Pullinger said.

``He shouldn't be in Port Arthur, he should be in the Upper Florentine valley.''

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said the federal government should drop its bid to save further damage to Australia's reputation.

``Australia engaging in global political horse-trading in the lead-up to the final decision would be a disgrace,'' Senator Milne said on Saturday.

Mr Hunt said the federal government rejected the international process. 

Mr Hunt will not fly to Qatar for the World Heritage Committee meeting.

``Australia will be well represented,'' he said.


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