Logging To Go On At Tasmanian Heritage Site
Logging will go ahead at a stunning bay in Tasmania that was once home to early French explorers despite a decision to include the site on Australia's National Heritage List.
The northeast peninsula of Recherche Bay, near the very southern tip of Australia, was yesterday granted heritage listing and funding for archaeological work.
However, Environment Minister Ian Campbell decided not to stop logging of the peninsula, instead accepting the state Government's decision to protect two archaeological sites with buffer zones.
And there was no heritage listing for the bay's southern Rocky Bay area, where local historians claim a tourist development is threatening other French archaeological sites.
"This decision has totally ignored the argument that this area is Australia's real Botany Bay -- both botanically and anthropologically," said Bruce Poulson, a historian and author who lives near the site.
Tasmanian Greens senator Bob Brown said granting listing while allowing logging was "taking an axe to the nation's environmental standards" and made a mockery of the heritage system.
However, Senator Campbell's decision was welcomed by the private owners of the land, which will be logged under contract with controversial Tasmanian woodchip company Gunns.
"He (Campbell) clearly agrees that the heritage values aren't necessarily attached to the trees that are there -- they are attached to the area," said land owner David Vernon.
Recherche Bay is regarded by several eminent archaeologists as one of the nation's greatest cultural heritage sites. It was the scene of extended, friendly contact between Aborigines and French scientists and explorers who visited the bay twice in the early 1790s, years before Tasmania was circumnavigated and Hobart founded.
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