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Minister Plibersek Must Muscle Up on Malbena, Save Skate and Swift Parrot

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 29 June 2023

Tags: Threatened Species, Swift Parrot, Fish Farms, Lake Malbena, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

From the moment Tanya Plibersek stepped off the plane in Hobart yesterday, she has been handwringing on critical areas of her portfolio responsibility in Tasmania. 

It culminated in her awkward interview on ABC statewide radio this morning, where she talked down the threats to World Heritage wilderness, threatened species and the island’s biodiverse forests. 

It’s up to the Federal Environment Minister to save the Maugean skate from salmon farming, the Swift parrot from logging and the World Heritage Area from big tourism and privatisation. The Rockliff Liberals won’t do a thing – they’re too busy facilitating the threats! 

The Maugean skate is on the brink of extinction, its only habitat – Macquarie Harbour – being suffocated and poisoned by fish farms. The Swift parrot’s nesting trees are being deliberately logged right now in the Eastern Tiers.  

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area’s future is sitting on the Minister’s desk in the shape of a luxury helicopter tourism proposal, and all Ms Plibersek could do was equivocate. 

Minister Plibersek could only say to Tasmanians that they had to get the balance right and listen to everyone’s perspective. 

If the Minister wanted to listen to everyone, why wouldn’t she meet with environment groups on her Tasmanian trip? 

This follows her last trip to the island where she refused to meet Dr Bob Brown and the takayna defenders, but went to dinner with the MMG executives. 

Lutruwita is an island of breathtaking beauty, with rich cultural and natural heritage and biodiversity. This island and its unique species deserve to be protected. They need a strong federal Environment Minister. 

Tanya Plibersek has ministerial responsibility for preventing extinctions and we urge her to take that extremely seriously. 

Long after the current Minister has left Canberra behind, we hope she can tell her grandchildren she helped to save the Maugean skate and Swift Parrot, and protected the globally significant TWWHA.