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Tuesday, 25 November 1986
Page: 3715

(Question No. 4576)


Mr Burr asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 18 September 1986:

(1) How many personnel are used for surveillance of the Western Tasmanian World Heritage Area (WTWHA).

(2) Are they sufficient to police any illegal use of the area's resources on a commercial basis.

(3) Has he considered using Landsat satellite imagery to monitor changes to surface conditions in the WTWHA; if not, would this be an effective way to police illegal use of the area's resources.


Mr Cohen —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) At the end of September 1986 there were 19 rangers, 7 park assistants, 1 full-time gatekeeper and 2 part-time gatekeepers employed in the field in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area.

(2) No practicable level of surveillance could guarantee that illegal activities would not take place in an area as large as the Tasmanian World Heritage Area. However, the lack of vehicle access to the greater part of the Area is an effective deterrent to illegal commercial exploitation. Staff employed in the Area monitor it carefully and would expect to detect signs of illegal commercial use. They are assisted by aerial surveillance undertaken during the fire danger period and by boat patrols conducted in the Lower Gordon area.

(3) I am advised that although Landsat imagery is used by the Tasmanian Lands Department for mapping in the World Heritage Area, it is not used specifically for surveillance purposes. The Australian Centre for Remote Sensing has advised it would be feasible to use satellite imagery for surveillance purposes. Imagery is available on a 16 day cycle. The currently available resolution is approximately 80 metres. Landsat imagery could allow detection of illegal uses involving changes to the reflectance of the area, such as vegetation clearing. However it would not detect activities not significantly affecting reflectance at the scale of resolution, e.g. small scale effects on activities under the forest canopy.