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Environment and Communications References Committee
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area

CADMAN, Mr Sean Timothy, Private capacity

HITCHCOCK, Mr Peter Phillip, AM, Private capacity

CHAIR: I welcome Mr Peter Hitchcock and Mr Sean Cadman. I understand that information on parliamentary privilege and the protection of witnesses and evidence has been provided to you. The committee has your submissions. I invite you to make a short opening statement. At the conclusion of your remarks I will invite members of the committee to put questions to you.

Senator MILNE: It may be helpful to the committee if the witnesses give an outline of their credentials in this field because when they say they are here in a private capacity that does not give the committee a sense of their qualifications in this area.

Mr Hitchcock : Firstly, my graduate qualifications were in forest science from the ANU. Since then I have been extensively involved in protected area and World Heritage conservation. For the past 10 years or so I have been a consultant specialising in World Heritage and protected areas. I have been involved in World Heritage matters for more than 35 years. I am familiar with the 2013 additions to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and I have examined the Australian government's submission to the World Heritage Committee for delisting part of that World Heritage area.

Mr Cadman : My background is an environmental consultant. In that role I have worked with a range of advocacy organisations, for governments and for the private sector in resource management projects.

CHAIR: We will move to questions now, unless there is a further opening statement you would like to make.

Mr Hitchcock : I would like to outline my interests and concerns with respect to this subject. Firstly, I refer to the Australian government submission to the World Heritage Committee. I will break it into two parts: firstly, what the submission says and, secondly, what it does not say. In relation to what it does say, when I read it I felt it was quite misleading to the point of misrepresenting the reality of the proposal. The claimed justification for delisting in the submission is that 'the proposed minor boundary modification seeks to remove a number of areas in the extension approved by the committee in June 2013 that contain pine and eucalypt plantations and previously logged forest'. That is basically the extent of the justification that has gone into the submission.

I will quickly pick up a couple of those points. The pine plantation, based on calculations done by my colleague Sean, amounts to 80 square metres, about one-third of the size of a tennis court. The eucalypt plantation, currently estimated to be eight hectares or nine soccer fields, is a very small proportion of the total proposal for delisting. Thirdly, the overall disturbance by logging and associated activity is estimated to be about 9.9 per cent, of which four per cent could be regarded as heavily disturbed and logged. My colleague Sean Cadman will provide a little bit more information about that shortly.

That begs the question: what about the other 90 per cent that is not mentioned in the justification? I am familiar with the 2013 additions. I felt that there was something completely missing, here. I will go to what the submission does not say. Firstly, the submission is extraordinary for a submission to the World Heritage Committee in the lack of information about World Heritage matters. Secondly, the failure to address the important heritage values contained in the submission which proposes delisting raises questions about whether the submission can qualify as a minor modification to the boundary under paragraph 163 of the operational guidelines which govern the World Heritage Committee operations. That requires that any proposal for a minor modification of a boundary does not affect its outstanding universal value. My advice is that the proposal does affect the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage area. Therefore, arguably, it should not be considered a minor modification. I refer you also to the EDO submission on that very point.

The 74,000 hectares proposed for delisting contain numerous important attributes and values that make important contributions to the integrity of the outstanding universal values which make up the World Heritage area. It is not just the very important tall eucalypt forests—because they have been front and centre of the whole exercise—but a range of other important features, such as karsts, caves, glacial features, threatened species and threatened communities. And, from the information I have, there are at least 24 Aboriginal cultural sites—including one Pleistocene archaeological site—which would be removed by the proposed delisting.

I therefore reached these conclusions. The proposed delisting will have a serious impact on the outstanding universal values—as defined in the operational guides—of the Word Heritage area. Firstly, there will be a serious impact on the integrity of the World Heritage area, especially in regard to the tall eucalypt forests. I should point out that at present the tall eucalypt forests in the Tasmanian World Heritage area represent the world's premier example of temperate tall eucalypt forests. The truncation of these forests by the proposed delisting would seriously detract from the outstanding universal value of these magnificent forests.

Secondly, there is a serious loss of boundary integrity. Notwithstanding statements to the contrary in the submission, the new boundary that would result from the proposed delisting is ill-considered, and would be regarded as seriously compromising the integrity of the existing World Heritage boundary.

Finally, there is a matter here of opportunity—that is, presentation. There is a requirement under the World Heritage Convention for state parties to have regard for presentation—that is, to provide opportunities for people to appreciate a World Heritage area. Some of the areas that have been proposed for delisting I would regard as being prime examples of opportunities for nature based tourism and general presentation. In particular, the Upper Florentine, the Weld, Mount Wedge and, especially, the Navarre Plain, are all areas which—because they are on the eastern side of the World Heritage area and are already accessible from Hobart—would be opportunities foregone. In the case of the Upper Florentine there are already world-famous walking tracks through the area that is proposed to be delisted.

I would just like to finish by offering up a number of photographs that support what I have been saying. Firstly is an image of a forest in the Weld Valley, which I regard as one of the most outstanding examples of a tall eucalypt forest anywhere. Secondly is an image of the upper Florentine Valley on which I have plotted the boundary of the area proposed to be delisted. It quite clearly shows an extensive area of pristine tall eucalypt forest. Thirdly is an image of the Navarre Plains, in particular the Bedlam Wall area where you have a very important glacial feature which is wholly within the World Heritage area at present. You may have already heard from Dr Kiernan on that. The new boundary would dissect that feature, so you would go back to the old days where the value was partly in and partly out. It would also greatly lengthen the boundary of the World Heritage area. There is a second satellite image of the very same area showing the greatly increased length of boundary from the glacial feature. Finally, there is a satellite image showing the areas which are proposed to be delisted in a whole-of-Tasmania context. I offer those up as exhibits.

Mr Cadman : First of all, as I foreshadowed in my submission, I have undertaken some further analysis of the data that I have available to me. I would like to table that for you. Just in brief, from the preliminary work that I did, which was to digitise the boundaries of the areas proposed for excision, and then the subsequent work since I put the submission in, I can conclude the following. Firstly, the level of disturbance overall is low. Only four per cent of the area was identified as being heavily disturbed. The majority of the 7,300-odd hectares that have been logged since 1960 has recovered or is recovering. A number of the individual blocks actually show little or no disturbance. Many of the outstanding universal values that have been identified will be compromised, as indicated by Peter. For all intents and purposes the areas proposed for retention and excision are in similar condition and contain similar values. The most significant difference is the amount of potentially available timber in the areas proposed for excision compared to the areas proposed to be retained.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: In terms of your expertise in the area, are you aware of the government's proposal to delist the World Heritage area having been peer reviewed by any other experts?

Mr Cadman : As far as I can determine from everything that they have published, there appears to have been no external peer review. The department may have sought advice privately , but I am not aware of it.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: So they have not published any other information that you are aware of?

Mr Cadman : No.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Are you aware of any other experts in this field who may have reviewed perhaps not the government's submission for delisting but the actual World Heritage extension in the first place?

Mr Hitchcock : None of the people who I am aware of who are familiar with the topic have been consulted.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: There is a chance for you to perhaps state your case on record, but we have had people giving evidence today who have perhaps questioned whether the evidence from people such as yourselves has been impartial. Certainly Senator Colbeck has been on record in the media as saying that you are anti-logging experts. Have you got anything to say to that?

Mr Hitchcock : As an impartial expert, I would like to draw attention to the fact that I specialise in world heritage. I work in various parts of the world on world heritage. I have worked in South America, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, the Middle East and Madagascar, for various clients, including governments, UNESCO and IUCN. I also have been engaged from time to time by IUCN to conduct monitoring missions to World Heritage sites in other parts of the world, so I am recognised, I think, as an impartial expert on the topic.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Have you—or Mr Cadman—been consulted by the government to provide advice on their delisting of the extension?

Mr Cadman : No, I was not contacted and I would like to put on the record as well that I reject the sentiment expressed that I am anti-logging. As the chair of Forest Stewardship Council Australia twice and a founding member of that organisation whose role is to promote the use of sustainable timber, I think it would be a little hard to substantiate that claim. I, like Peter, have worked in heritage assessment for the last 30 years—eight years as the Australian Heritage Commission's research officer in Tasmania, working for the Australian government; three years working directly for the Australian government department of environment in Canberra on forest policy and forest assessment; and then subsequently back in Tasmania for five years working on the Bushcare program.

Senator RUSTON: I am just interested, Mr Hitchcock: you have obviously provided a lot of advice to various groups and bodies over the years in relation to the Tasmanian Wilderness Area. I am just wondering if you could maybe give me a brief snapshot of your involvement in the most important components of some of these listings. What advice have you provided and who have you provided it to?

Mr Hitchcock : A potted history: in 1988-89, I was appointed as a commissioner to the commission of inquiry into the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests—

Senator RUSTON: Was that the Helsham report?

Mr Hitchcock : and I published a minority report. The minority report was based on legal advice that I received about the correct way to interpret the legislation; whereas my other two commissioners had taken a different interpretation. I certainly found that a substantial part of the forests that was in that legislation was qualified to be World Heritage.

Subsequently, I have been involved in a number of consultancies both for NGO groups and through government, providing advice on various aspects of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and, especially, an evaluation of additions that have been proposed by NGOs. More recently in 2013, I was variously engaged by the Commonwealth, together with my colleague Sean, to work on detailed aspects of the boundary to ensure that we had the best possible World Heritage boundary.

Senator RUSTON: Is this the 2013 report you are referring to now?

Mr Hitchcock : Correct.

Senator RUSTON: So you were contracted by the Australian federal government to provide advice in relation to that process to them?

Mr Hitchcock : Correct. I was also engaged by the federal government as a consultant adviser to the Australian delegation that went to the World Heritage Committee in Phnom Penh.

Senator RUSTON: You have not actually provided advice directly to the IUCN or the World Heritage—

Mr Hitchcock : Directly to the?

Senator RUSTON: To the IUCN or any of the international bodies; only to the Australian component of it?

Mr Hitchcock : From time to time I may have provided advice, yes, particularly during the assessment in, I think, about 1990. IUCN sought advice from me, basically as follow-up to the commission of inquiry.

Senator RUSTON: At the same time that you provided this advice to these bodies, did you also provide advice to the organisations that were seeking for the boundaries to be changed? For instance, have you been providing advice to the Wilderness Society, Environment Tasmania or the Australian Conservation Foundation?

Mr Hitchcock : On separate occasions, yes—obviously not concurrently. I do have a sense of loyalty to whomever it is that I am being employed by at the time.

Senator RUSTON: I was just trying to get to the bottom of this—and Senator Whish-Wilson raised the issue of impartiality. I think the concerns that have been raised have been more around the fact that you potentially could have been involved in setting the agenda for the application and then, in your role as somebody who assessed that application, you sat as judge and jury on your own submission.

Mr Hitchcock : When I provide advice on what constitutes World Heritage—that is, what constitutes outstanding universal value—I provide that to whoever is seeking that advice. That is my specialty and I am a professional consultant in that field.

Senator RUSTON: When you were providing that advice to the Australian government in the lead-up to the 2013 application, did the Australian government also seek advice from a consultant who perhaps was not as committed to increasing boundaries as your reputation suggests you are and that you committed to in your dissenting report in 1989? Obviously, you have a position that you clearly adhere to. Did the government at the same time, as far as you are aware, seek to have somebody give it advice who perhaps was not so wedded to the position that you obviously have been all your life?

Mr Hitchcock : You would have to address that to the department. The department obviously was in contact with a lot of different people, including in the Tasmanian government at that time.

Senator RUSTON: It just appears as if your advice has perhaps been most influential in the outcome.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: That is because he is one of the global experts in this area.

Senator RUSTON: Possibly it is. You are the one who raised the issue of impartiality. I am just trying to establish exactly that. Do you want to continue, Mr Hitchcock? Or should I ask Mr Cadman a question now?

Senator MILNE: I think Mr Cadman wanted to say something to you.

Mr Cadman : There was an impartial expert consulted; it was called Forestry Tasmania. For 4½ months, Mr Hitchcock and I sat down with Forestry Tasmania and officials from DIER to go through the boundary literally on a metre-by-metre basis, which is why it took four months, to establish those boundaries in as best position as possible to exclude as much disturbance as possible.

Senator RUSTON: Who are Forestry Tasmania?

Mr Cadman : Forestry Tasmania is the former land manager for that area which is proposed for excision and in some cases still officially is.

Senator RUSTON: It is a government department under the direction of the minister? Or is it a separate—

Mr Cadman : No, it is a government business enterprise with a board and a CEO.

Senator RUSTON: Under the direction of the minister?

Mr Cadman : It answers to the Parliament of Tasmania.

Senator RUSTON: I am once again interested in your interpretation of 'independent' under that situation, because, of course, any government enterprise, whether it be a business enterprise or a department, is subject to the direction of the minister and the will of the government of the day.

Mr Cadman : When I worked the Australian Public Service, which I did directly for three years, one of the principal tenets I was told and required to meet was the idea and the practice of giving free, fair and independent advice.

Senator RUSTON: You do not need to tell us that, Mr Cadman.

Mr Cadman : No, but I would like the record to reflect it.

Senator RUSTON: Of course. It is a very honourable intention.

Mr Hitchcock : I would also like to make a point if I could. I have independently, in other parts of the world, conducted World Heritage assessments, where areas have been nominated for World Heritage. I have conducted the field assessment, and there have generally been about 10 experts that have independently done desktop analysis. In each of the cases, my recommendations were upheld by those independent experts from around the world. So I do have a track record, I hope, of getting it right in terms of what constitutes World Heritage and what does not.

Senator RUSTON: I am sure you do within the space that you believe, and I am not questioning for a moment that you believe in what you believe. I am just suggesting that there are always two sides to a story, and I today seem to have heard over and over again one side of the story and there seems to have been little regard given to the other side of the story. That is all my point was: that we do not seem to have seen a lot of consideration given to the impact on some of our community in Tasmania of just continuing to put more and more land into World Heritage.

Mr Hitchcock : That is a matter for the government. That is not something that I come to do an assessment of on World Heritage.

Senator MILNE: I would like to go to this question of the integrity of the boundaries. A lot has been said today about the 2013 nomination, the minor boundary adjustment, having been political, but I would argue in fact that every boundary up until 2013 had been highly political and the 2013 minor boundary adjustment was the first time we tried to get boundaries that maximised the integrity of the site. Would you like to comment? You said you went over it metre by metre in drawing this up. Are we closer now to having a World Heritage site with boundaries that give the site integrity than we ever have been up until now?

Mr Hitchcock : The matter of the eastern boundary has been an issue ever since the World Heritage area came into existence. The 2013 additions I saw as having primarily the responsibility for ensuring effective conservation of the tall eucalypt forest ecosystem, but a very important secondary matter was to establish a credible, appropriate eastern and northern boundary, something that has escaped us for years. So it was a matter of melding those two issues together—the forest conservation issues and the boundary. The boundary arrived at after 2013 was not a perfect boundary—far from it—but it was so much better and it was quite acceptable, for the most part, as an appropriate boundary.

The proposed delisting creates absolute havoc, creating a boundary which in some cases is quite laughable, unfortunately. It would turn the clock back in a lot of places, adopting quite inappropriate boundaries. I tabled the matter of the Navarre Plains, where it re-creates a boundary which was previously seen to be quite inappropriate, not just in terms of management but in terms of protection of that important glacial precinct. In other situations, it would turn the clock back to a contour boundary that runs around a mountain side, which is a highly inappropriate boundary and as well as that actually excludes a lot of important eucalypt forest on the eastern side.

There is an example on the Great Western Tiers. The removal, which appears to be very ad hoc, of a number of areas on the Great Western Tiers means that the boundary now becomes quite inappropriate. In places, the boundary runs along the top of the cliff, dives down to the bottom of the hill, down to the low lands, follows the low lands for a little while and then goes back up to the tops of the cliffs. In other words, it becomes a completely inappropriate boundary for any World Heritage area. We largely solved that problem with the 2013 editions, and again we have gone backwards to create a very much longer and very much more complicated boundary, as well as leaving out important items of conservation value.

CHAIR: Mr Hitchcock, in your report you outline many natural assets that will not be protected if the government's application to delist 74,000 hectares is successful. Could you tell me those about which you are most concerned—the natural assets that will not be protected should delisting go ahead?

Mr Hitchcock : The most important one, of course, is the tall eucalypt forest. It should not be seen as simply patches of different pieces of forest disjunct. They are in fact part of a continuum up the eastern boundary, which takes in the full altitudinal range, from near sea level at the bay to more than 1,000 metres in the Upper Derwent. It is a corridor of forest and you simply cannot take out pieces without having a serious impact on the integrity of those values, and that is what is being proposed. It is like taking a section of highway and pulling out sections. You no longer have a highway; you have bits and pieces of pavement, but you do not have a corridor. The corridor was one of the most important aspects of the conservation of the tall eucalypt forests, both along the eastern boundary and, to a certain extent, also along the northern boundary, so that you have a subregional continuum of forest right along the Great Western Tiers.

Some of the other values that are important that would be lost as result of the delisting include some caste areas. It includes that glacial area on the Navarre Plains. It includes a glacial area on the Broad River, on the northern side of Mt Field, where once again you have a glacial feature which is partly in Mt Field and partly outside, or that is what would happen. There are the Eddy Creek caves, which is a rare case of caves in dolomitic marble—the only example of its kind in Tasmania. That would be a serious loss of something that would contribute to the integrity of the outstanding universal value caste areas in the World Heritage area.

There are threatened species communities. For example, there is a very rare and threatened species of fish in the Clarence River. A section of the Clarence River is a critical habitat and that is proposed to be removed through this delisting. That is certainly a backward step, because that is a species which is very dependent upon active management to prevent introduction of exotic trout species.

There are the Aboriginal sites—in particular, the proposed removal of the Nanwood archaeological site. Nanwood is located in the middle of the Upper Florentine forest on caste country. There is a case where, in the Upper Florentine, you have tall eucalypt forest which is growing on caste, which itself is an important attribute, and within that caste is an archaeological site of international significance. It is one of only two Pleistocene Ice Age archaeological sites on the eastern side of the World Heritage area. It is one of two and one would be taken out. That would be a distinct loss. There are Aboriginal sites on the northern side, in the lowland country, on the Great Western Tiers and Warners Sugarloaf. These are no doubt important contributions to the overall integrity of the cultural heritage of the World Heritage site.

CHAIR: Thank you very much.

Mr Hitchcock : I think that has covered it pretty well.

CHAIR: I interrupted Senator Milne.

Senator MILNE: Thank you. I want to just go back to the issue of the integrity of the boundaries. Given what you have just said, and the impact on the integrity of the whole site by the loss of the karst areas, the geological formations, some of the threatened species and of course tall eucalyptus, can you see any rhyme or reason for this proposed excision of the 74,000 hectares, other than logging? Is there any rationale that you can see other than that?

Mr Hitchcock : Not that I can see. It just does not seem to add up to any logic. Some of these areas have forest with commercial potential, yes, but then you have other areas like the Navarre Plains that are largely devoid of commercial forests. Why remove an area that has very few trees on it? And those trees that are there are beautiful snow gums that people stop and photograph and appreciate. There is no logic in it from what I have been able to see so far.

Senator MILNE: So there is no logic in the proposed 74,000-hectare excision, except, as we have heard, as a commitment to get it out for logging. In your experience, and you have considerable experience with World Heritage consulting to governments around the world, has a case like this gone before the World Heritage Committee before?

Mr Hitchcock : I have seen one for commercial logging. There is one pending at the moment—it has been an argument with President Putin for a few years—which is the proposal to remove part of the Virgin Komi Forests for mineral prospecting. But that is still very much on hold, and the Russian government is still looking at that one. It will no doubt come up again in Doha.

There have been cases where proposals have been put up for removal of an area for shall we say non-commercial purposes, and in my experience they have generally been knocked back. There is one notable exception, which was in Australia, where there was a proposal to amend the boundaries of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage area. Now since I was involved in drawing up the boundaries of that World Heritage area—it was so long ago—I know the background to it. It was simply that because of the geomorphology values that were being mapped, they were still very new and we did not have a complete identification of where everything occurred, and so the advice was to come up with a temporary boundary and that boundary which be shrink-wrapped later, once the archaeological and geomorphological values had been properly mapped. And that was the case, so there is nothing particularly remarkable about that because it was foreshadowed at the time of listing. It was a case of everyone was very keen to get on and list Willandra Lakes because of its very, very special cultural values. That was cultural, that was not about forests.

Senator MILNE: We have a proposed excision which adversely impacts on the integrity of the World Heritage area for all the reasons we have said. We have no rationale for the replacement boundary. We have virtually no precedent internationally for a country to excise part of a World Heritage area for logging. Have you had a chance to have a look at the Australian government's submission to the World Heritage Committee, in which it argues for this excision?

Mr Hitchcock : As I said in my notes, I could really see no rhyme or reason. I did not accept the argument that was being present for the delisting, which was because of its disturbance and the existence of pine plantation, eucalypt plantation and logging disturbance. But what about the other 90 or 95 per cent? The other 95 per cent which is not addressed in the submission is what we are arguing about.

Senator MILNE: When you go to the Australian government's submission, is the level of documentation, data and detail that supports its submission up to scratch? When you consider the work that went in compared with the work that went into the proposed boundary modification, how does it stack up against that?

Mr Hitchcock : It is hard to compare the two because the current submission is so devoid of information, particularly about any impact on World Heritage values. It refers to disturbance from logging and so forth. I can assure you that some of the areas that are listed in that submission as having been logged or disturbed have not been logged or disturbed. For example, the Dove River. Sean and I have looked at images repeatedly and we can find no evidence that it has ever been logged.

Senator MILNE: Are you saying that the Australian government's official submission to a global body like the World Heritage Committee actually completely misrepresents the situation on the ground, that the logging or disturbance of the Dove River is not a matter of fact?

Mr Hitchcock : They are harsh words but I have said in my submission that I think it really misrepresents the reality of the situation. It is one thing to look at the submission, which is very short on information particularly in World Heritage values, but it is another thing if you have a look at the maps. You then get a sense that there is something going on here. But the maps do not really tell you much unless you have a background knowledge of those areas like Sean and myself have. We know those areas and we know, for example, from the photograph I showed you of the Upper Florentine that it is outstanding tall eucalypt forest. In that image there is pristine, unlogged forest. The other unlogged area, we are saying, is where the World Heritage values are and that is where the impact will be if you delist those areas.

Senator MILNE: Given that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature is the expert body that will advise the World Heritage Committee with regard to this, it will of course be aware of those discrepancies between what the Australian government says is the situation on the ground and the actual situation on the ground. Where does that leave Australia in our global reputation in the world heritage context?

Mr Hitchcock : First of all, there would be the reputation of the World Heritage Committee if they moved to approve the delisting based on just that existing submission. I think the credibility of the World Heritage Committee would be at stake because they would not have the full information. But hopefully through IUCN and ICOMOS and others they would have that information. I think there is a prospect that the World Heritage Committee could reject the submission as proposed.

I pointed out in my notes that I believe that a strict reading of paragraph 163 of the operational guidelines would mean that the World Heritage Committee should not even be considering this delisting proposal because it requires that any such proposal for boundary change does not affect its outstanding universal value. My contention is that this delisting will impact upon the outstanding universal values of the existing World Heritage area. I will use the example of the tall eucalypt forest: if you take something away, a substantial part of the tall eucalypt forest, then of course you impact on the outstanding universal value of that particular feature. It is the same with casts and the same with the glacial features.

CHAIR: I am aware that senators have questions for Mr Cadman as well as Mr Hitchcock. Senator Whish-Wilson.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: We are aware in public statements that the government wants to excise some areas because land owners are unhappy with the new boundary being in line with their private land boundaries. How many of those situations are you aware of?

Mr Cadman : The two most obvious examples of that are on the Great Western Tiers where the village of Meander sits between Mother Cummings Peak, where there is a significant deslisting proposed, and Warners Sugarloaf and Archers Sugarloaf, where they want to completely remove those outlier hills which are part of the landscape system of the Great Western Tiers. There is a very well-known and very vocal family there, the Johnson family, who have land directly adjacent to the World Heritage area. The cousin of one of the people with that adjacent land is the president of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association.

The second really obvious situation like that is the whole of the proposed removal of the eastern facing escarpment. A fairly well-known Tasmanian, Roderic O'Connor, owns one of the largest properties in Tasmania which directly abutts that. I met with Mr O'Connor to discuss the boundaries with him in the lead-up to the listing to try to reassure him that none of his land was going to be captured within the World Heritage area boundary. But he appears to have won the day in terms of the government's approach to removing these areas. Other areas which are not contentious have not been removed.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: We are only talking about a couple of landowners here and the potential delisting of this entire extension, 74,000 hectares?

Mr Cadman : Those are two very public examples. The Johnson family have been very publicly vocal and Roderic O'Connor has also been publicly vocal.

Senator MILNE: On that, is it not true that the major adjacent property manager is Forestry Tasmania for the overwhelming majority of the boundary?

Mr Cadman : Yes, overwhelmingly. The only situation where that does not pertain is on the northern and eastern fall of the Great Western Tiers. For the rest of the area, the manager will be Forestry Tasmania and a small amount of private land will become adjacent in the Tyenna Valley, but that is it.

Senator MILNE: So that argument essentially that no proper consultation took place with neighbours is wrong because overwhelmingly the neighbour is Forestry Tasmania and there was consultation with the other neighbour. So it is only in a couple of areas where anyone would argue that—is that correct?

Mr Cadman : You are going to political issues here, but the government chose to go to those issues in its dossier and, as I put in my submission, I think it is not appropriate or relevant in terms of the context of assessing the maintenance of outstanding universal value.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: You have clearly pointed out the areas that have been logged or harvested and others that have not. Do they correlate with the boundaries along private property areas? I refer to that four per cent or that 9.9 per cent you mentioned. Do they correlate with the boundaries around private properties?

Mr Cadman : I give you the example, and I have given you the data to support that, that there is actually very little difference in the impact on the production forest areas—the state forest areas that are used for timber production—between the areas that the government is proposing to retain and the area it is proposing to excise. Like with everything that is to do with state forest in Tasmania, the pattern of logging that has historically occurred basically follows the planning schedules of the forestry commission, who became Forestry Tasmania. That is the pattern of disturbance that is reflected on the Great Western Tiers. It is the pattern of logging planning.

Senator RUSTON: Mr Cadman, did you have any official involvement in the preparation of the evidence for the 2013 listing?

Mr Cadman : Yes. Like Peter, I was engaged to do work on the boundaries. The area that I was consulted in was my GIS geographic information system background, which I have a long history in, to ensure that the data that was collated, collected and archived for the independent verification group could be applied to help establish the values within the proposed extension and, again, to actually help with the technical negotiations with Forestry Tasmania around where exactly those boundaries should be to ensure that we could have good management on both sides of the line so that we could have good forest management that would not impact on the World Heritage area and that the Parks and Wildlife Service would be able to conduct good management to make sure that they did not impact on the lands held by Forestry Tasmania.

Senator RUSTON: So you were employed by the IVG to provide them with technical advice in relation to boundaries?

Mr Cadman : One of the roles I fulfilled with the IVG was to actually do an assessment with Michael Lockwood, from the university, of the social values and the questions that go to long-term management of the potential future reserves.

Senator RUSTON: What is your background in terms of your qualifications that would have led them to seek your advice?

Mr Cadman : I have a Bachelor of Science from the Oxford Polytechnic, which is now Brookes University. In fact, you can go and google me on Linkedin if you like.

Senator RUSTON: I have googled you, by the way.

Mr Cadman : My qualification is in food technology and nutrition and biology. Basically, I rejected a career in the food industry—although have latterly gone to it with my eco-lodge venture—and instead pursued a career in natural resource assessment. I did eight years as a research officer at the Australian Heritage Commission. I have been involved in the development of forest policy and forest assessment work for the last 30 years.

Senator RUSTON: Apart from your work with the independent verification group, did you do any other work with the Australian government or with any of the ENGOs that were involved in the preparation or making of the application and then subsequently the preparation of—

Mr Cadman : Subsequent to the work of the IVG, I was engaged—as Peter was—by the federal government to work on the boundary identification, making sure that we captured the values that had been identified through the IVG process, and we made the most of those in the submission that went up in 2013.

Senator RUSTON: As Mr Hitchcock said before, have you been engaged to undertake work either paid or unpaid for any of these ENGOs who originally sought to have the submission submitted—for example, the Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation? Are you a member? Do you work for them? Do you consult to them?

Mr Cadman : I have never been a member of any political party. So let's put that on the table.

Senator RUSTON: I was not asking about political parties.

Mr Cadman : And I am not a member of any ENGO. However, I have worked for almost every large ENGO in the country as a consultant and, in the case of the Wilderness Society, for 2½ years as their forest campaign coordinator. I have also worked for the Commonwealth government and for private individuals. I am a consultant.

Senator RUSTON: Finally, on your comment about me googling you, I did google you and I found that you run guided walk tours. Just for the record, whereabouts does your business occur and could there be any suggestion that you could possibly be benefiting financially in your own personal venture from—

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Like a private landowner.

Senator RUSTON: Excuse me, I am speaking.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Sorry, I cannot control my cynicism sometimes.

Mr Cadman : I am quite happy to answer the question.

Senator RUSTON: Thank you.

Mr Cadman : Yes, I am blessed to live in the valley of Jackeys Marsh—which has been at the centre of a storm of political controversy around logging for 30 years—and proud of it. My wife and I set up an eco-lodge at the base of Quamby Bluff in order to demonstrate there were economic alternatives to generate income from the forest than logging. Long before the IVG was set up I came to a commercial arrangement with Forestry Tasmania in respect of the areas which we use for our business. So the short answer to your question is, no, there was no conflict of interest. We had already secured our interest before this process began.

Senator RUSTON: But you might have to concede that there could be those who might think that there is a conflict of interest.

Mr Cadman : Senator, this is Tasmania!

Senator RUSTON: I am not sure whether I should ask you to qualify that!

Senator MILNE: I want to go back to the issue of areas that the Australian government have said in their submission to the World Heritage Committee have been degraded or logged where you know that is false and they have not been disturbed. We have the example of Dove River. Can you let the committee know for what other areas the incidence of disturbance has been exaggerated or just plain lied about.

Mr Cadman : The north-facing slopes of the Mersey Valley spring to mind. We found maybe five hectares of disturbance in that proposed excision. The snowy range was particularly spectacular as well. There was almost nothing there—maybe on the edge a bit. For the Florentine obviously only two per cent of that area that had been disturbed. Those were the ones that really stuck out.

Senator MILNE: Are those the ones where the evidence we took this morning said that of the 74,000 hectares 40 per cent is old growth forests and so highly desirable for the logging industry? Are those areas you have just mentioned particularly rich in that?

Mr Cadman : This is, again, the kind of random nature of the work that was done. Some are and some are not. If I might venture a comment, I think Senator Whish-Wilson probably went to the heart of the issue, which is that it seems that certain people's favourite places have been removed and other people's favourite places to hate have been kept. When you look at the data, beyond the obvious one that it potentially frees up a lot of timber, it is very hard to see a rational reason for most of these removals.

Senator MILNE: I am interested in the O'Connor boundary. Which areas there have been claimed to be disturbed that have not been?

Mr Cadman : In lake river country, which is the area in question, there has been some logging over the last 10 or 15 years which has had a significant impact. There is no question about that. If you go to the data, that is what it shows you. But the escarpment as a whole is intact. The connectivity is intact. In other words, the values which have been claimed are there and intact. I think the issues there reflect a fear or lack of trust in a change of land manager. It is not a change of tenure; it is a change from one land manager to another. I know the gentleman in question had had plenty of issues with the previous land manager, Forestry Tasmania. I think that is the reason. So, it is all about perceptions rather than realities.

CHAIR: Thank you very much gentlemen for your attendance today and for your submissions.