The Tasmanian Greens today demanded that Tony Abbott fund the management of Tasmania’s new reserves, including the new World Heritage Area, as agreed between the State and Commonwealth governments.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that the initial payment of $7 million from the Commonwealth was due in September this year, but not a cent has been forthcoming from the Liberal Abbott government.

“This money is needed to protect and enhance the natural and cultural values of Tasmania’s reserves, including reducing the risk of bushfire,” Mr McKim said.

“It would also create many new jobs in Tasmania for rangers and scientists.”

“This overdue payment is an ominous sign that the Federal Liberals do not intend to honour the Commonwealth commitment to provide to Tasmania an annual indexed payment of $9 million for the ongoing management of our world-class reserve system.”

“The signed funding arrangements between the Commonwealth and the State is a formal contract, and it is incumbent on Prime Minister Abbott to honour this contract with the Tasmanian people.”

“Tony Abbott must declare he intends to make the overdue initial payment to the state as swiftly as possible, and commit to the future $9 million each year.”

“This goes to show that the Liberal Party does not understand the value of our reserve system to our economy, to job-creation or for its intrinsic value as a world-class wilderness area.”

Reference: The National Partnership agreement for the implementation of the TFA, signed by then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Lara Giddings on the 23rd of May this year, committed the Commonwealth to an annual $9 million indexed payment for reserve management; plus an additional $2 million for the development of a contemporary management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

(National Partnership Agreement on the Implementation of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement 2013; pgs 7-9).
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader