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Secrets in the Southwest

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Tags: Parks EOIs, Aboriginal Heritage, Tasmanian Aboriginals

On March 10, 2022 Parks Minister Jacqui Petrusma MP, was asked if an Aboriginal Heritage Report covering the proposed South Coast Track luxury lodge development had been commissioned by the government. At the time she stated;

“When we get the final RAA and undertake the assessments, the expectation is that Aboriginal cultural values assessments will be undertaken on each site because that is a requirement for any development that would happen in the TWWHA”

A recently released Right to Information (RTI) request reveals the secrecy over Expressions of Interest (EOI) proposals continues unabated, and an Aboriginal Heritage Assessment has been undertaken of the South Coast track.

The RTI, which is 738 pages long and has 658 pages fully redacted, contains a statement confirming that among the redactions is, in fact, an Aboriginal Heritage Assessment Report.

Asked today whether she knowingly misled the house back in March or whether she was being kept in the dark by Jason Jacobi, Secretary of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service – Ms Petrusma avoided directly answering the question.

It is an absolute travesty to our democracy that crucial information about public land is being kept secret from the Tasmanian people.

The South Coast Track is a heartland and creation place of the palawa people. To have ASX listed companies from Queensland, along with a government that’s rolled out the red carpet to rent-seekers trying to exploit this special place for commercial gain is disrespectful, to say the least.

This proposal will degrade one of the world’s last great coastal wildernesses, cost tens of millions in track upgrades and continue the tawdry process of turning the Southwest National Park into a Disneyland for the white shoe brigade. It can’t stand and the Tasmanian Greens won’t stand for it.