Image for Twin revelations highlight government failure on Tarkine Protection

No action on 2007 World Heritage assessment. No action on a 2003 recommendation for a National Heritage Listing

Tarkine National Coalition has responded to revelations that three successive Environment Ministers have failed to act on the 2007 unanimous motion of the Senate calling on the Minster to direct the Australian Heritage Council to commence an assessment of the World Heritage values of the Tarkine, and that a 2003 recommendation from the Australian Heritage Council called for the Tarkine to be included on the National Heritage list.

The revelations in an article in today’s Age newspaper, refer to information gained through freedom of information requests by Tom Arup at the Age.

The article quotes former chairman of the Australia Heritage Council, Tom Harley, as saying that the council had formed a view in 2003 that the Tarkine should be put on the national heritage list, but a decision was held up in dealing between the federal and state governments.

A decision is now eight years late.

In 2010, the Australian Heritage Council recommended a 433,000 hectare Tarkine National Heritage Area, but the listing has not been made by Minister Tony Burke, citing a need for further consultation. The Australian Heritage Council has previously conducted two rounds of public consultation in making it’s recommendation.

“It is clear that there is a ridiculously long history of ministerial failures and unnecessary delays that have served to leave the Tarkine unprotected” said Tarkine National Coalition’s Campaign Coordinator Scott Jordan.

“This is Nero-esce and has to end. The Tarkine is facing as many as eight new mine proposals over the next eighteen months and failures to act leave this area exposed to large industrial mining in sensitive and globally significant areas, including the last disease free refuge of the Tasmanian devil.”

“Right now there are up to a dozen exploration drill rigs working in the Tarkine, and without a National Heritage listing none of them are subject to Commonwealth environment scrutiny.”

“Minister Burke must act now to list the Tarkine on the National Heritage list, and commence the assessment of World Heritage values.”

The Minister has now had the TNC’s March 2011 nomination for Emergency National Heritage Listing of the Tarkine before him for two months.

• Christine Milne

Senator Christine Milne

Wednesday 25 May 2011
Burke must initiate Tarkine world heritage assessment

The federal Minister for Environment must explain why a review of the Tarkine’s world heritage values was never made despite a pledge to do so almost five years ago, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.

In 2007 a motion by former Democrats Senator, Andrew Bartlett, to recommend the Tarkine be assessed for world heritage values was passed by both major parties.

“Former Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull told the parliament that he had asked for this assessment to be done. It is now revealed that he did not do so and every environment minister since has failed to tell the Tasmanian people that it was never done.

“Why have Ministers Garrett and Burke done nothing to implement this to date? Minister Burke must act now and do what the Tasmanian community thought was already completed and hidden in the department.

“With exploration drilling going unchecked in the Tarkine and eight new mine proposals on the cards, it is imperative that the minister must change his course now.

“I recently asked Minister Burke if he had a recommendation that the Tarkine be considered for World Heritage listing. He denied this, but neglected to mention that its absence was due to the fact that he and previous ministers had failed to act.

“This latest news will leave many in Tasmania with a bitter taste of ministers doing profile pieces and photo opportunities in the bush whilst pandering to boom and bust mining operations rather than sustainable industries such as tourism.

“Minister Burke must realise that of the million visitors to Tasmania in 2010, very few of them would have come to visit the environmentally destructive mines.

“Tasmania’s brand and the $1.5 billion of annual tourist revenue are dependent on the pristine forests and wilderness sold to tourists as our unique advantage.

“Choosing between a mine for ten years and a sustainable tourism industry that continues lining the state’s purse for many years more is an easy decision.

“I urge the minister to initiate the long-overdue review of the Tarkine’s world heritage values. It makes good economic and environmental sense.”

Download: Tarkine_motion_release.doc

Long-Overdue Review of Tarkine Waiting Since Tri-Partite Senate Support in 2007
Paul ‘Basil’ O’Halloran MP
Greens Member for Braddon
Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Tasmanian Parliament to rally behind the important wealth of job creating opportunity of the Tarkine rainforest, and urge Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to implement the tri-partite Senate decision in 2007 to initiate a long-overdue review of the Tarkine’s world heritage value.

Greens Member for Braddon, Paul ‘Basil’ O’Halloran MP, said former Senator Andrew Bartlett recommended the Tarkine be assessed for world heritage value and this was never done by then Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, or subsequently, every Environment Minister since.

“Tasmanian politicians need to recognise and value to the amazing benefits and value that the Tarkine rainforest bring to this state in revenue, and urge the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to initiative the long-overdue review of the Tarkine’s world heritage values,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“The motion to review the Tarkine’s world heritage value was passed in the 2007 Senate with tri-partite support. The then Environment Minister, Mr Turnbull, never sent this request from this successful motion to the Australian Heritage Could, nor did any subsequent Environment Minister.”

“Tasmania’s brand and the $1.5b of annual tourist revenue are dependant on the pristine environment such as our rainforests, mountain ranges and amazing cave and karst systems, which is what we sell to our tourists as our competitively unique advantage that we must protect.”

“Choosing between an open mine that may provide 10 years of economic prosperity shadows at the value of the perpetual tourism dollars that a world heritage listed Tarkine rainforest can provide.”

“It is high time we stop gambling with our unique, rare and natural assets, and utilise them in a healthy and sustainable way to provide ongoing benefit to Tasmania and the tourism industry,” Mr O’Halloran said.