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Tarkine Tourism Future for NW, not Forest and Heritage Destruction

5 Feb 2017

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Tourism spokesperson

Environmentalists and members of the Aboriginal community gathered in the North West today to call for takayna/the Tarkine to be protected from destruction.

Unique wilderness values and globally significant Aboriginal heritage are being directly threatened by the Hodgman Government's divisive, political agenda.

The Liberal Government is pushing ahead with its publicly funded court battle over 4WD tracks in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area.

Each time the courts find Aboriginal heritage sites, like middens and hut depressions, require protection, the Liberals appeal at public expense.  Tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being thrown at the Liberals' political Tarkine agenda.

Most Tasmanians would prefer the State's financial resources were spent on health and education, not fighting an unwinnable, destructive legal battle with Tasmania's First People.

Mining has almost disappeared from significant tracts of the Tarkine, leaving acid producing waste in its wake.  Meanwhile, failed mining companies have walked away, pocketing nearly $22M in public subsidies.

The Liberals' next destructive plan is Minister Barnett's push to log the Tarkine.  This unique and precious area was voted by CNN as the world's number one wilderness.

The four new coupes scheduled for logging in the Tarkine will be another cost the taxpayer, and will mean a serious loss of threatened species and biodiversity.  That loss comes at a cost to the potential for a sustainable tourism industry.

People come from across the globe hoping to see Tasmanian devils, wedge-tailed eagles, masked owls, spotted quolls and the unique, blue giant freshwater crayfish.  Destroying the habitat of these creatures would damage the State's tourism brand irreparably.

North West Tasmanians can't risk politics killing the future of the Tarkine and the long term, sustainable jobs it offers. 

With secure tourism jobs, wildlife and Aboriginal heritage protected, the future economic prospects of the Tarkine look positive.

The Liberals must stop playing politics with North West Tasmanians, and protect the tourist gem that is the Tarkine.