Visitors exploring caves at Mole Creek Karst National Park
Visitors exploring caves at Mole Creek Karst National Park

Expanding a Tasmanian national park

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​​​The Tasmanian Government is committed to reserve areas of land currently classed as Future Potential Production Forest Land (FPPF Land) that is Crown land and Permanent Timber Production Zone Land (PTPZL) within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

This is outlined in the Strategic Management Statement attached to the TWWHA Management Plan 2016.

As part of this commitment, the Government has announced its support of an expansion to the Mole Creek Kast National Park by reserving, into this important national park, an additional 2,850 hectares (approximately) of current FPPF land.  This area contains outstanding natural geological values, and its inclusion will consolidate what is currently a fragmented National Park, improving natural values protection and management efficiency within the Mole Creek Kast National Park.

The proposed expansion of the Mole Creek Karst National Park will include an area of land known as Solomons Dome, which contains the catchment of the internationally significant Kubla Khan Cave. The expansion will also include land that sits to the south of Solomons Dome and is sandwiched between three parcels of existing Mole Creek Karst National Park. This land contains a suite of karst landforms including rare cave formations not currently captured in the national park.

The remaining parcels of FPPF land, consisting of approximately 22,550 hectares are proposed for approval in the reserve class of either conservation area or regional reserve. Please see map and table.

This is a significant contribution to the Tasmanian Reserve Estate under the Nature Conservation Act 2002. 

The TWWHA Management Plan 2016 contains a suite of general management provisions to protect the Outstanding Universal Values of the TWWHA. As well, the plan contains actions specific to the new reserve areas, which include prohibiting both the harvesting of special species timbers and mineral exploration and extraction.

The reservation of this land does not preclude any future consideration of land return to the Tasmanian Aboriginal People.

The approval of both Houses of Parliament is required before the Governor can declare the land to be reserved.

Click here to view the public consultation report.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What is the process for reserving FPPF land and PTPZL in the TWWHA?

The Government intends to reserve the land in the TWWHA in two stages. 

Stage One involves: 

  • determining appropriate reservation classes (incorporating feedback from public consultation
  • tabling a draft proclamation (which outlines the class of reserve of each parcel of FPPF Land) in both Houses of Parliament for consideration and approval
  • proclaiming the land as a reserve (if approved by both Houses of Parliament).

Stage Two involves: 

  • progressing the reservation of PTPZL once the area containing plantation forestry has been appropriately regenerated to native forest.

Do the reserves make the TWWHA bigger?

No. The areas proposed to be reserved are all within the existing TWWHA boundary and the size of the TWWHA will not change.

What will the reservation of this land mean and will the reservation of the land under the Nature Conservation Act change how the land can be used?

Once reserved the land will be managed in accordance with the TWWHA Management Plan. 

The use, management, and regulation of areas within the TWWHA Management Plan is partly determined by the reserve class and partly determined by the Management Zones. 

The FPPF Land, upon reservation under the Nature Conservation Act 2002, will be zoned as recreation or self-reliant recreation. These zones have been predetermined and are outlined in the TWWHA Management Plan.  

Recreation or self-reliant recreation zoning allows visitor access for recreational activities. In addition, recreation zones allow for site appropriate management infrastructure and high-quality commercial infrastructure that can be utilised by the general public.

The current assessment is that there is no foreseeable impact to current users of the land resulting from the reservation of FPPF land. 

The TWWHA Management Plan came into effect in 2016 and included very clear policy statements regarding activities that are not allowed in the TWWHA. As outlined in the Plan, the Tasmanian Government has a policy position of not allowing commercial logging, including harvesting of special species timbers or mining within the TWWHA. This commitment is given effect through the Management Plan, the Strategic Management Statement and other statutory measures.

Where can I find information on the Management Zones?

Pages 58-93 of the TWWHA Management Plan provides information on defining the Management Zones and how they apply including allowable activities within those zones.

How can I see where these parcels of land are located?

Please see mapand table of the parcels.             

Why does the Government want to extend the Mole Creek National Park?

The Tasmanian Government recognises the outstanding values of the Mole Creek Karst National Park (MCKNP). The expansion will include an area of land known as Solomons Dome, which contains the catchment of the internationally significant Kubla Khan Cave. Also included is land that sits to the south of Solomons Dome and is sandwiched between three parcels of existing Mole Creek Karst National Park. This land contains a suite of karst landforms including rare cave formations not currently captured in the national park.

How did the Tasmanian Government decide on the reserve classes for the remaining FPPF land?

As provided for by the Nature Conservation Act 2002, land may be declared to be reserved land in the class of regional reserve or conservation area if it adjoins a regional reserve or conservation area, or if the land possess the relevant values as specified in Schedule1 of the Nature Conservation Act 2002.

All but two of the FPPF land parcels of land adjoin either existing Conservation Areas or Regional Reserves. It is proposed that these parcels of land are incorporated as extensions to the existing adjoining reserves. 

The remaining two parcels of land have been assessed according to their values and are proposed to be reserved in the appropriate reserve class (one conservation area and one regional reserve).

Reserving the remaining areas of FPPF Crown land as either conservation area or regional reserve is consistent with requirements of the Nature Conservation Act 2002 and the management objectives for the TWWHA

Was the public consulted?

A public consultation period ran for eight weeks from February to April 2021.

Will the submissions from the public consultation be published?

All submissions that addressed the reserving the FPPF land in the TWWHA and a consultation report will be published here

Will any of the land be returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people?

The Tasmanian Government is committed to land return and a meaningful dialogue with Tasmanian Aboriginal people.  The process of land return is achieved through a separate mechanism and the reservation of the land will not preclude this. 

Does this decision put an end to the Kooparoona naira National park proposed by the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania?

Whilst the land subject to this national park proposal have not been considered to contain the values of a national park, they have been declared a reserve tenure under the Nature Conservation Act. This designation does not prevent or preclude management by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

What will the impact be for bee keepers?

There are three current apiary licences on FPPF Land in the TWWHA. The licenses will remain valid. 

Bee keeping is allowed on parcels of land in the TWWHA zoned as recreational. In addition, all roads within the TWWHA are zoned recreational and this zone extends 50 metres either side of the centre line. The Government has committed to continue to work with bee keepers to improve current access, where appropriate.

How long will the process take before the FPPF land is officially reserved under the Nature Conservation Act 2002?

There is a sequence of statutory processes that must be completed, at which point motions will be moved in Parliament. These motions must be approved by both Houses, after which the Governor will be asked to approve the proclamations for the land to be reserved in the proposed reserve classes. The proclamations are then published in the Tasmanian Gazette, which finalises the reservation process. As reservation of the land is dependent on Parliamentary approval, it is not possible to say when the reservation process will be completed.

Published 15/09/2021