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Practical protection for Australia's World Heritage


The Environment, Parks and Heritage Minister, Brian Wightman, this week launched a major biosecurity project to protect Tasmania's precious World Heritage wilderness from pests and diseases.

Seventeen boot cleaning stations have been installed at main entrance points to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Compulsory boot cleaning will help prevent pests and diseases like root rot, frog and platypus fungus, and the didymo pathogen being introduced.

"This is a precious area for Tasmania - both environmentally and economically," Mr Wightman said.

"It needs the best practical protection we can offer, while still being easily accessible for visitors.

"Cleaning and drying boots and equipment will become second nature for people using the area.

"Just like the Slip, Slop, Slap sunscreen message, the new hygiene protocols of Check, Clean, Disinfect and Dry are simple and effective.

"They're a practical step to keep this beautiful area healthy and protected for generations to cherish," he said.

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area covers more than 1.4 million hectares of high quality wilderness.

It was added to the World Heritage List in 1982, and meets more criteria than any other World Heritage property on Earth.

The launch is timed for the busy summer holiday period. Three new specially-designed helicopter pads have also been constructed at the main staging areas. 

The $1 million project is funded by the Australian Government's Caring for Our Country program, with a major investment by project partners.

"These new protocols don't cost much, and don't take much time to follow," Mr Wightman said.

"But they could help prevent environmental damage that's either permanent or takes decades of expensive work to undo," he said.

There's also a focus on educating visitors, with a series of videos on YouTube and various websites.

The CEO of NRM South, Dr Kathleen Broderick, said the videos provide step-by-step instructions on preventative measures.

"The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of the last truly great wilderness areas on earth, and has become intrinsically linked to the Tasmanian brand," Dr Broderick said.

"Prevention is better than a cure and simple measures can make a big difference.

"This summer when Tasmanians, mainlanders and international visitors enter our World Heritage Area, we want them to be part of the solution, not part of the problem," she said.

To see the videos or download the Keeping it Clean field hygiene book, visit www.nrmsouth.org.au.

Practical protection for Australia

Actor and media personality John X, Environment Minister Brian Wightman and NRM South CEO Kathleen Broderick with a boot cleaning station at the launch.