Tasmanian Reserve Management
The Tasmanian reserve management system is one of the most comprehensive and sophisticated in Australia. The Nature Conservation Act 2002 (NCA) and the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 (NPRMA) are the two key pieces of Tasmania legislation that empower reserve management.
Tasmania has eight separate public reserve classes with each class having detailed values and purposes for reservation defined in legislation. Just because a parcel of land is placed in the formal reserve system, does not mean that all activities are banned within the area. Some reserves, like National Parks, are set aside for conservation as well as ecologically sustainable tourism. Game reserves are set aside for conservation purposes and also allow of the ecologically sustainable taking of designated game species (i.e. hunting).
Regional Reserves and Conservation Areas are both reserve classes aimed at conserving biological and geological diversity whilst also allowing for mining and the controlled use of other natural resources including sustainable harvesting of special timbers.
The Tasmanian Director of National Parks clearly explains the legislative history surrounding sustainable harvesting of special timbers in Regional Reserves and Conservation Areas below;
“The management objectives for conservation areas and regional reserves (s5 and s7, Schedule 1 NPRMA) have included ‘the controlled use of natural resources’, since the NPRMA commenced in 2002 and prior to that they were in the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970. Similar words are also reflected in the purposes of reservation for these two types of reserves under the NCA (Schedule 1, s5 and s6). Special species timber harvesting fits within the ambit of ‘controlled use of natural resources’, so harvesting of special species timbers has effectively been permitted by authority in conservation areas and regional reserves since the management objectives were first legislated.
The NPRMA and NCA were amended by the Forest Management (Consequential Amendments) Act in 2013 to explicitly provide for special species timber harvesting in regional reserves (if permitted by order made under s 19(2) of the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Act 2013). This was to create explicit reference to special species timber harvesting, rather than have it implied. The Tasmanian Forests Agreement Act 2013 was proclaimed following extensive consultation and agreement from the leading conservation groups and the forest industry. The Act included provision for the potential harvesting of special species timber from Special Species Contingency Areas within the TWWHA.
Under the recent Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Act 2014, amendments to the NPRMA and NCA removed references to the Tasmanian Forests Agreement Act 2013, since that Act was repealed, and instead provide a definition of special species timbers. The amendments also provide consistency between the management objectives and purpose of reservation for regional reserves and conservation areas in relation to special species timber harvesting. The 2014 legislation did not provide anything that was not already implicitly or explicitly provided for in regional reserves and conservation areas.”*
(*Report from the Director of National Parks and Wildlife to the Tasmanian Planning Commission on Public Representations Received on the Draft Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 2014, page 16)