The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
05 March 2004
Dr David Kemp, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, today demanded Paul Lennon show true leadership on environmental issues in Tasmania and match the record funding that is being provided to Tasmania's environment by the Howard Government under the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP).
“In other states, governments have joined the Commonwealth in both the cost and the effort in helping regional groups deliver programs under the $2.7 billion NHT and $1.4 billion NAP. In Tasmania, Labor has barely lifted a finger,” Dr Kemp said.
“In terms of the NAP, there has been a singular failure so far to commit to matching the Commonwealth's proposed $12 million boost for Tasmanian environmental projects.
“Paul Lennon complains that base-line World Heritage has been reduced – but in fact no other Commonwealth Government has ever spent so much money on the Tasmanian Environment including over $150 million under the NHT and over $100 million as part of the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA) process.
“If Paul Lennon is serious about the environment he will match the $12 million on offer or risk losing it. We're in the fourth year now and they've only made $1.8 million available. In light of Mr Lennon's comments today, that's pathetic.”
In 1982, the original World Heritage listing of the Tasmanian Wilderness was a decision that had a huge impact on Tasmania. Accordingly, the Commonwealth agreed to provide special assistance in the form of a specific funding agreement, which lapsed in the 2001/2002 financial year. Other State-managed properties must seek Commonwealth World Heritage Assistance on a demonstrated priority needs basis.
“Today the Tasmanian Wilderness, which back in 1982 was considered an economic liability, has been transformed into a great asset, delivering valuable eco-tourism dollars into the State's economy,” Dr Kemp said.
“The number of state-managed World heritage properties has also changed increasing from five in 1982 when the agreement was first struck, to 10 today. Clearly there is a need to ensure that all states get treated fairly.
“In addition to the money made available from the national component of the NHT, this year, under the new NHT arrangements, all state-managed World Heritage properties will be eligible for funding support from the Bushcare program under national/state and regional delivery mechanisms.
“It's time the Tasmanian Government fulfilled its commitment to properly fund its environmental programs.”