Pic: Chris Crerar

Tarkine tourism, a dead duck?

“Huge decisions regarding a wild landscape the caliber of the Tarkine are best made by those have experienced it first hand,” says Mark Davis, co-owner of pioneering walking business Tarkine Trails.

Ten years ago, Tarkine Trails spearheaded the push for the Tarkine to be recognized for its potential to attract a high yielding tourism dollar to the state. Today only 5% of the Tarkine exists within National Park status, the only land tenure type that offers a security that protects businesses like Tarkine Trails from mining interests.

“We have no interest in battling mining companies. They have every right under legislation to seek out and capitalize on the mineral wealth. Yet the tourism industry must have the same rights”.

“It’s time to stand up and be counted, to make sure that Tasmanians know that the Tarkine can go in another direction. This is not a fight between industries, it’s a cultural choice. Which do we value more, economics that keep a wild land wild, or economics that dig it up? There’s no point beating around the bush anymore, we’re losing its potential by the day”, says Davis.

With ten years at the coal face of Tarkine tourism, Tarkine Trails are adamant that without a major overhaul of the Tarkine’s land tenure, beginning with National Heritage listing, tourism potential in the Tarkine is a “dead duck”.

“Let’s stop pretending the Tarkine has scope for tourism, because without some security, any security, the vast proportion of the landscape remains open slather for miners, to be churned up and shipped off to China”, says Davis.

The Cradle Coast Authority commissioned a report into the tourism potential of the Tarkine and found that 1100 jobs could be created with an annual visitor spend of $58.2million.

“Our participants come to Tasmania specifically for our Tarkine experiences. Often, our walks trigger visitors staying for a week beyond their experience with us, spending money in all corners of the state”, says Davis

All three Tarkine Trails experiences operate in areas that are now being assessed for their mining potential

“No tourism operator has any security in the Tarkine”, says Davis

“Is it any surprise that the cue for tourism investment is remarkably non existent? Under current land tenure, the Tarkine is a tourism time bomb. With no heritage listing, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked in favor of mines at the expense of tourism.

“See it for yourself because at this rate, the Tarkine will eventually go the way of the Thylacine, tourism potential extinct!”.

Pic: Eli Greg

• GetUp: It’s simply unacceptable

It’s little known outside of Tasmania. A place of sweeping beaches, temperate rainforest, sand dunes and pristine river systems; along with more than 60 species of threatened, rare or endangered animals – including a certain famous devil, the world’s largest freshwater crustacean and Australia’s largest eagle. It’s the Tarkine Rainforest: a living, breathing relic of Earth’s original super continent, Gondwanaland, and the second largest intact stretch of rainforest in the world. But if we’re not vocal, it will soon be home to some of Tasmania’s newest open cut mines.

So remarkable is this place, that you would think it out of the question that we could willingly destroy or damage it in any way. Yet, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has not even visited the area. Meanwhile, the mining companies want in and the Tassie State government is turning the pressure up on Minister Burke to look the other way. Tell Tony Burke not to buckle, and ask him to visit the Tarkine before it’s too late. We’ve made a video to help pique Tony’s interest and spread the word: HERE .

For the last several years, politicians have been granting the Tarkine emergency heritage status in order to keep the mining and logging companies at bay while they consider whether to permanently protect this valuable region. Earlier this year the Australia Heritage Council made a clear recommendation: protect the Tarkine. But Tony Burke has let its emergency heritage status expire, and has yet to decide what he’ll do next.

Tony Burke has a reputation for being a hands-on politician who likes to visit places and get information on the ground before making decisions. That’s why we have a chopper and a team experts standing by, ready to take him straight into the heart of the rainforest for an insider’s tour he’ll never forget. But we need public pressure to make it happen: HERE. Invite Tony to visit the Tarkine now, and show community support for protecting this priceless yet little-known expanse of pristine nature from destruction.

The mines propsed in the Tarkine rainforest are enormous –one of the three mines planned for development in the next 18 months would be the equivalent of 420 Melbourne Cricket Grounds’ wide and twice as deep as the tallest point on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

It’s simply unacceptable. Watch the video, and invite the Environment Minister to see for himself why we must protect this place before it’s too late. When we hand-deliver your invitation signed by thousands of Australians, we’ll also present him with a giant airplane ticket and ‘National Park Pass’—

• Scott Jordan: Tarkine National Coalition welcomes GetUp! To the Tarkine campaign.

Tarkine National Coalition has welcomed community advocacy organisation GetUp! to the Tarkine campaign.

“GetUp! are a incredibly successful organisation that have produced a phenomenal record of advocacy successes, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them as partners in the campaign to save the Tarkine,” said Tarkine National Coalition spokesperson Scott Jordan.

“GetUp! brings it’s growing activist base of 587,294 members to the campaign, and will play a vital role in allowing the average Australian to have their voice heard in the discussion about the future of the Tarkine”.

The TNC and partner groups (WWF, Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Tasmanian Conservation Trust, Environment Tasmania and North West Environment Centre) resubmitted a Emergency National Heritage Listing nomination last week, triggered by the threats to National Heritage Values of the Mount Lindsay and other mining proposals.

GetUp! members are supporting National Heritage protection for the Tarkine, an calling on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to visit the Tarkine before he decides on it’s future. GetUp! are also raising funds for television advertisements to air in key national markets.


Paul O’Halloran MP
Greens Member for Braddon

The Tasmanian Greens today said the expansion of mining in the Tarkine poses a direct and immediate threat to existing tourism operators whose business are turning the area’s pristine natural beauty into jobs and wealth.

Greens Member for Braddon Paul O’Halloran MP said the Greens share the concerns of operators like Tarkine Trails, whose 10 year-old tourism business in the Tarkine is in danger from a short-term mining cash grab.

“Mining is threatening to strangle tourism development in the Tarkine and put existing eco-tourism operators that rely on this world-class wilderness out of business,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“The tourism industry needs security of access for appropriate developments inside this wilderness area, if it is to continue to create jobs and wealth for the state’s north-west.”

“The fastest diminishing resource in the world is wilderness, not potential mining sites.  Studies show that at tourism in the Tarkine could generate 1100 jobs and $58 million a year, and that’s before we count the sequestered carbon, educational opportunities and other long-term benefits of protecting the region.”

“Placing new mines in the Tarkine would be like putting a mine in the middle of Kakadu or an offshore oil rig on Ningaloo Reef.”

“The Greens believe that the best way to protect this wilderness jewel for future generations would be to declare a Tarkine National Park.”

“The Heritage Council has already recommended protection for the area, but ongoing delays at both the Federal and State levels are leaving the Tarkine vulnerable and eroding its world-class environmental and cultural heritage values,” Mr O’Halloran said.