The Tourism Master Plan (TMP) for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) was released by new Parks Minister Jacquie Petrusma on 1st June 2021, and we welcome it’s long-awaited release.
The drafting of the TMP responds to one of the key recommendations of the joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission in 2015 that followed concerns expressed to the World Heritage Committee regarding the then-draft TWWHA Management Plan .
This is the final plan, not a draft for comment. We were expecting the worst (i.e. uncritical endorsement of the state government’s ‘unlock our parks’ policy) which is why we boycotted the consultation on the plan, but are pleasantly surprised by the final outcome. The TMP could certainly be stronger but arguably it puts more emphasis on protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the TWWHA than does the management plan itself and its recommendations on wilderness values assessment (see below) are substantially stronger than those in the TWWHA management plan.
Following are the recommendations on wilderness values assessment in the TMP quoted in full (pages 71-71):
Wilderness values assessments undertaken for both public and private tourism and presentation proposals in the TWWHA are to consider:
- the protection of the integrity and the cultural and natural values of the TWWHA through the retention of large areas of wilderness;
- recreational wilderness values;
- all tangible and intangible wilderness values, e.g. remoteness, naturalness, diversity, systems, cultural landscapes and connections to the TWWHA; and
- impact on Wilderness Value as derived from the current or a future wilderness assessment methodology.
To support the attainment of this policy outcome:
- PWS will continue to require an assessment for all infrastructure and new or modified buildings, including tracks, toilets, huts and so forth, regardless of proponent;
- The current wilderness assessment methodology will be reviewed and consider the following:
- effects of over-flights, landings and expedition ship movements;
- quality of recreational experience;
- protection of wilderness as a contributing factor to the OUV of the TWWHA; and.
- availability and application of the model through improved data and computing technologies.
- PWS will undertake ongoing TWWHA-wide monitoring and reporting.
The downside is that the role of the TMP is only to provide context and guidance on how the Management Plan should be interpreted and applied by the PWS. It will never become a statutory (legally binding) document like the management plan so its contribution to any future repeat of the legal challenge to the approval of the Lake Malbena proposal will be limited.
The full TWWHA Tourism Master Plan can be downloaded here (note it is a 65MB file).