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takayna / the Tarkine

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 24 June 2021

Tags: takayna / Tarkine

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, I start by reasserting the importance of using the proper words when we are talking about this place takayna/Tarkine. The local Aboriginal people have always referred to this place as takayna. That term has been in use for some tens of thousands of years. It is an ancient landscape shaped by the people who have lived there for tens of thousands of years. That is why it is referred to as takayna. Why it is referred to as the Tarkine is because it was gazetted as such on 8 July 2009. When place names were assigned, the place name of Tarkine was assigned to a locality within the west coast that was geographically bounded as stated in the gazette.

The minister, Mr Barnett, who continues to use 'so-called' is perpetuating a myth. In reality, this place is bounded, it is described as such within our state records but, more importantly, it has always been referred to as takayna by the people who have lived here for tens of thousands of years.

Those people are the starting point for this campaign, which is only now beginning, against the MMG tailing plant. The people who have lived there, know and are very clear, that this is a place of immense beauty and importance, not only for the animals and plants that live there now, not only for the fact that it is the largest temperate rainforest intact on the planet, but because it is a place of sacred Aboriginal existence and culture.

On that basis and for all of those reasons, it cannot be used to dump toxic tailing remnants, when there are alternative sites that the company is refusing to look at because it would cost them a dollar more.

We reject the idea that the Premier is doing what he can to further the best interests of Tasmanians because if he were, he would be making it a first order priority to speak to MMG about those alternative sites, making it clear to the people of Rosebery that there are alternative futures. But the future that he is offering as Premier of this State, is one of division and it has only just started. We really need to understand this. This campaign is building to be the scale of a Franklin Dam.

When you have people of the breadth -

Members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. The member should be heard in silence. Order.

Dr WOODRUFF - and the scale of the people who have put their bodies on the line right now. When you have people of the importance and breadth across the Tasmanian community, you will come to understand that this campaign has only just started, 37 people arrested over 37 days.

When you have Anthony Houston, respected Tasmanian businessman, respected agriculturalist. When you have Pete Hay, respected former Labor Party adviser, writer and a man who has so much wisdom. When you have cricket groups forming again, 40 to 50 years after people played together, as they were yesterday. Four people were arrested for mates who played cricket together, glad to do what they could. Glad, as many people have said, older people who have been arrested, to stand up at a time that they should have done earlier, but never late than never, to keep this beautiful Island lutruwita, to keep this extraordinary rainforest in the Tarkine/takayna intact for future generations.

They see young people putting their bodies on the line and they realise it is a grave mistake if older people do not take responsibility for the legacy that we are leaving our children. That is why you have the football team who have got together, people who are now running tourist accommodation places around Tasmania, people whose very businesses rely on the quality of what Tasmania has to offer to tourists, a clean, green brand, they want a future for their tourism industry. They do not want it to be sullied by the noxious brand that the Liberals are intent on stamping on Tasmania, fully backed by the Labor Party, who are clearly of incapable of imagining that you could do anything other than say 'yes whatever you want' to an international mining corporation. What is wrong with standing up for our island and saying 'no. There are alternatives, go and find them.' Of course, there are alternatives. You do not bend over for Rio Tinto and MMG and other international mining corporations and give them what they want without standing up first of all and protecting your own place for the future and for the people today.

So, 50 to 60 people, growers last night were there at a meeting. We have got young people and older people, there are alternative sites. Thank you to the Bob Brown Foundation for the Tasmanian devil monitoring work that they did with those meat traps, doing what they need to do to understand the extent of the threatened species that live in this place, when we are protecting them on Maria Island, we need to protect them in their home in the Tarkine and the Greens are continuing to support the BBF and protestors.