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Monday, 4 May 1987
Page: 2257

Senator SANDERS(8.36) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

This paper records the first meeting of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area Council in Hobart on 14 March 1985 which came about as a result of the stoppage of the Franklin Dam and the world heritage listing of the entire area. The Tasmanian Government has been embarrassed by the world heritage listing of the south-west. It does not really know what to do with the asset. It wanted to flood it, strip-mine it or mine it and cut the trees down but now it has a tourist asset of magnificent proportions. It embarrasses the Tasmanian Government. After all, Robin Gray called the area a brown, leech-ridden ditch-yet still people want to see it. It is unfortunate to note that the Tasmanian Government still discriminates against those who supported the salvation of the south-west as a tourist attraction. Morrisons Cruisers in Strahan has had great difficulty in getting its brochures into the offices of the Tasmanian Tourist Bureau because it opposed the dam.

This paper is a report of the Commonwealth and State organisations which are attempting to manage the area. Over and over again it is becoming apparent that the troglodytic State of Tasmania simply does not want to manage the area as a national asset, a national resource, for the good of the people of Australia. On page 5 it is noted:

As an alternative, Mr Cohen suggested that a separate unit within the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service could be clearly identified as having responsibility for the World Heritage area. However, Mr Gray indicated that this was not possible because of the small size of the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The reason the Service is such a small size is that Mr Gray keeps firing people. He especially keeps firing people who do not agree with the rip it off and burn it mentality. The Service is purposely kept small and ineffective. The morale of the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service is absolutely at snakes' arches level. The people there are trying to do a good job but the State Government keeps telling them that if they try to do a good job and protect the wilderness their jobs will be on the line. The Gray attitude is: If it moves, shoot it; if it flows, dam it; and if it grows, chop it down. The paper is a terrible commentary on what is happening in the south-western part of our State. On page 5, under (c), the paper states:

Lands not designated State Reserves-

Council noted Mr Cohen's position that lands vested in the Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC) within the World Heritage area should be re-incorporated as Tasmanian National Parks. The Chairman-

Mr Gray-

indicated that the Tasmanian Government was not planning the incorporation of the land within the National Parks. However, the HEC lands had been managed within the guidelines for the World Heritage area.

In Tasmania the Hydro Electric Commission, which intended to destroy the Franklin, still has control of the Franklin River and will not give it back. With the full support and approval of the Tasmanian Government, the Hydro Electric Commission still controls the land and will flood it at the earliest opportunity. The Premier of Tasmania has expressed his desire to flood it at the earliest opportunity. He prays that a Liberal government will be elected to head this country and hopes that that Liberal government will then allow him to build the dam. This is the desire in spite of the fact that Tasmania already has 300 megawatts of surplus power.

Tasmanian World Heritage Area Council

The Hydro Electric Commission's predictions for energy demand growth have been proved wildly wrong. However, there is proof in this document and in Tasmania that the Hydro Electric Commission still intends to dam the Franklin and will not give the land back for it to acquire national park status. In Tasmania, the phrase `national park' does not mean anything. A national park in Tasmania can be eliminated by the stroke of a pen. Such parliamentary action can eliminate a national park. It would be better if the area had national park status. However, at the moment it is controlled solely by the Hydro Electric Commission. I think that the people of Australia should be put on notice-this report does so-that the Franklin has not been saved permanently. It will take eternal vigilance on the part of the people of Australia to keep the troglodytic Government of Tasmania from destroying this priceless national asset.

Question resolved in the affirmative.