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Barnett Gets Hysterical Again

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 4 August 2017

Tags: Mining, Tourism, takayna / Tarkine, North West Tasmania, Environment

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader 

As the State election draws closer Resources Minister, Guy Barnett, is becoming more and more desperate and hysterical.

To claim the Tarkine is 'ripe for mining' and to ignore sound conservation practice is to fundamentally misunderstand that this wilderness is recognised globally for its outstanding natural and cultural values

Mining gross value added in North West Tasmania has, in fact, declined under the Liberals.

While mining revenue has crashed on this Minister's watch, he continues to point the finger at conservationists in order to whip up fear and loathing in the community.  Scapegoating is an old trick often employed by the hard right to demonise political opponents.  

The use of a government agency to produce a politically motivated assessment of the Liberals’ interpretation of another party's policy is an appalling use of public resources.

The Liberals are already using public funds to publish political propaganda in newspapers and on roadside signs around the state.

It begs the question, the closer we get to the election, how much taxpayer money will the Liberals be squandering on these projects?

What is particularly telling is that Mr Barnett needed to push out the modelling on to a twenty year timeframe.

An independent assessment commissioned by the Circular Head Council in 2007 found that Tarkine tourism had the potential to generate $58 million per year.

To use the Liberals' cynical timeframe this is $1.1 billion over 20 years.

Private operators and tourism dependent businesses stand to gain far more from the takayna/Tarkine's protection than a proliferation of extractive boom-bust industries.

We need to have a mature conversation about the economic future of Tasmania’s regions, one that acknowledges opportunity cost and, sadly, one neither major party has the courage to engage in.

The future social and economic wellbeing of the North West of Tasmania lies in better protecting its natural and cultural assets, which will increasingly attract visitors from all over the world.