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Premier Hodgman Shows Total Contempt for Tasmania's First People

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tags: 4WD Tracks, Tasmanian Aboriginals

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson

The Premier has lost control of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, with six members of his newly established Aboriginal Heritage Council resigning in protest over his decision last Friday to seek Commonwealth approval to re-open tracks on the takayna/Tarkine coast.

It has taken less than a month for the Premier's newly established Aboriginal Heritage Council to fall apart due to the Premier's weak, divisive failure of leadership.

In a media statement issued on 16 August, the Premier stated he has 'deep respect' for Tasmania's first people and that he looked forward to working closely with members of the Council and welcomed the wealth of knowledge they bring in Aboriginal heritage management.

Less than a month later, in a massive slap in the face to those same people, the Premier referred an application to reopen tracks in the takayna/Tarkine to the Commonwealth last Friday.

In a blistering statement sent out earlier today, respected Aboriginal community leader and heritage expert, Rocky Sainty, accuses the Premier of playing 'underhanded politics' and showing 'outright contempt' for Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

Mr Sainty states this 'deplorable intention' happened 'without an ounce of consultation'.  So much for the Premier's 'deep respect'.

This after the Premier made so much of his intent to 'reset the relationship' with Aboriginal people.  Mr Hodgman made the mistake of picking favourites - specifically the Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation based in Braddon - and alienating the majority of Tasmanian Aborigines.

This is clearly about politics and the Liberals trying to hold their four seats in Braddon.  The Premier has put base politics ahead of his responsibility to unite Aboriginal Tasmanians, and protect their globally significant cultural heritage.