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Adjournment - Bob Brown Foundation and Patagaonia Environmental Petition

28 November 2018

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Speaker, I have the 
great pleasure tonight to table the largest environmental petition in 
Australia's history. It is not in the correct form of the House - 

Madam SPEAKER - You need to seek leave to present that. 

Ms O'CONNOR - Well, it is not a petition in the form but I seek the leave 
of the House to present Australia's largest-ever environmental petition. 
It is the coordinated work of the Bob Brown Foundation and Patagonia and 
has on it 252 000 signatures, which is just under half the population of 
Tasmania. 

Ms Courtney - Cassy, can I clarify if that is the one that has been seen 
by us? No? 

Mr Ferguson - We haven't seen it. Do you want to show us the petition? 

Ms O'CONNOR - Sure. Just while other members are having a look at it, 
Madam Speaker - and it is a legitimate petition - in June 2018 Patagonia, 
an outdoor company, and the Bob Brown Foundation launched a campaign 
calling for Premier Hodgman to nominate takayna/Tarkine for World Heritage 
protection. Over the following months 252 000 people as at midday on 27 
November signed the petition. Just over 72 000 were Australian residents 
and the remaining were from 136 countries around the world, and 
parliamentary records and the research that has been commissioned show 
this is indeed the biggest environmental petition ever tabled in 
Australia's history. 

This is no longer a local campaign. The Tarkine as a wilderness and place 
of extraordinary natural and cultural heritage is a place that people all 
over Tasmania, Australia and the world recognise for its extraordinary 
universal values. It is a wilderness on our doorstep and tragically for 
the Tarkine and all those who defend it, it is a wilderness that the old 
parties in this place want to log, mine and, from the Liberals' point of 
view, open up 4WD tracks and close tracks in the Tarkine that would damage, 
often permanently, sacred archaeological treasures of Tasmania's first 
peoples. The Tarkine, or takayna, is one of the world's great 
wildernesses and is under threat at this very day. There are rainforest 
reserves and conservation areas in takayna that this Liberal Government 
wants to log. They want to let logging companies in to log myrtle, 
sassafras and celery top, those extraordinary trees that are part of our 
rainforest estate in Tasmania. 

It is very disappointing to everyone who participates in this campaign 
that the Premier would not take the time to receive this petition that was 
started in June. Patagonia and the Bob Brown Foundation were seeking an 
opportunity to meet with the current Premier, Will Hodgman, to hand over 
this petition, but that opportunity was denied, which is why we have 
brought it into the House tonight. 

For members who have not paid attention to the details of this beautiful 
place right there on our doorstep, the Tarkine is a 495 000-hectare region 
in north-west Tasmania and one of the last undisturbed tracts of ancient 
rainforest in the world. It also includes one of the highest 
concentrations of Aboriginal archaeology in the hemisphere with evidence 
on that coastline of Aboriginal heritage dating back tens of thousands of 
years. 

This area is critical habitat for 60 of Tasmania's rare and endangered 
species, including the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish, the Tasmanian 
wedge-tailed eagle and the iconic Tasmanian devil. Despite the takayna/
Tarkine's immense archaeological and cultural values it remains 
unprotected and at the mercy of destructive extraction industries 
including logging and mining. 

The Minister for Parks and current Premier, Will Hodgman, has the 
responsibility to protect this landscape in perpetuity as a World Heritage 
Area and national park that is owned and managed by Tasmania's first 
people. Researchers have already identified that takayna/Tarkine meets 
several of the 10 outstanding universal values criteria for world heritage 
listing. A world heritage area designation would benefit the ecological 
and cultural integrity of the landscape and it would create economic 
opportunities for the north-west coast community as a result of increased 
sustainable tourism.

I commend the petition to the House. I also, on behalf of the Tasmanian 
Greens, thank the Bob Brown Foundation, the Tarkine National Coalition and 
Tasmanians and Australians from all walks of life who defend that 
beautiful place, recognise it is a wilderness that is precious to the 
world, to our children and our grandchildren and will defend it with their 
last breath, so extraordinary is the takayna/Tarkine. I commend the 
petition to the House. Further, I acknowledge that Tarkine defenders 
gathered in their hundreds on the lawns of parliament last night. I 
congratulate them and thank them for bringing their protest and their 
campaign back to the lawns of parliament. 

If you would like to prevent the largest environmental petition in the 
country from being tabled, do have a crack at it, Mr Barnett.

Mr Barnett - We support you tabling it and we would like you to show us 
the petition.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you. I will find the front page. They are the words 
on the front page of the petition. If you are happy for me, in good faith, 
to bring that back to you tomorrow, I will do that. Thank you, Mr Barnett.