UNESCO concerned at Tasmanian Government rezoning wilderness areas to allow development; Ellen Coulter; ABC News

Australia – Tasmanian Wilderness

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has raised concerns about Tasmania’s wilderness areas being rezoned for tourism developments and called on the State Government to speed up a Tourism Master Plan requested in 2015.

Conservationists said a recent UNESCO document highlighted serious risks to Tasmania’s wilderness brand.

The draft decision, published by the World Heritage Committee this week, welcomed the implementation of some recommendations made after a 2015 Reactive Monitoring Mission to Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

But the committee has urged the Tasmanian Government to expedite development of a Tourism Master Plan, which was first called for in 2015.

“Limited progress has been achieved to date with the development of a Tourism Master Plan,” the committee said in the recent analysis.

“While the timeline for its finalisation by December 2019 is noted, it is of concern that this key strategic document is still lacking.”

In the document, the committee also raised concerns about the State Government’s rezoning of some wilderness areas to allow for tourism opportunities and wider aircraft access.

The report refers to areas being changed from “wilderness” to “remote recreation”, which the Wilderness Society’s Vica Bayley understands refers to new “self-reliant recreation zones”.

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