You are here

takayna / Tarkine

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 23 March 2023

Tags: takayna / Tarkine, Tasmanian Aboriginals

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, more fool me; I thought that the matter of public importance debate today was on the Tarkine/takayna. We did not hear much about it from the alleged member for Franklin, Mr Young who, on one of his first MPIs in this place, does not come in advocating for his community, does not come in come in talking about, for example, the struggle that his constituents have finding an affordable home or getting into a hospital through the emergency department when they need help. No. He lets himself be wheeled out like the former member for Braddon, 'Terry' Brooks, to talk about the Tarkine - no relationship to his electorate of Franklin.

Perhaps Mr Young could, for example, go in to bat for the Cygnet Sea Dragons Junior Soccer Club, which has no toilet, hardly any facilities and would not mind a bit of help from their local member. No. What we got from this guy was a highly political diatribe written by someone in someone else's office on the eleventh floor.

Mr BARNETT - Point of order, Mr Speaker.

Ms O'Connor - What is the point of order?

Mr BARNETT - We need to follow the Standing Orders, Mr Speaker. I ask that she refer to the member in the usual way, not with a flippant, condescending remark, which is a pattern of behaviour from the member.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I referred to Mr Young as 'this guy'. Actually, speaking of guys, I found this article from the Mercury from 2019 -

Mr SPEAKER - You should be referring to him as the member for Franklin.

Ms O'CONNOR - This is the article where Mr Barnett, in an extraordinary power grab, tried to abolish the Nomenclature Board and become the sole arbiter of place names in Tasmania. You want to talk about overstep, Mr Speaker? You have it right here in minister Barnett.

As for calling the Tarkine/takayna the 'so-called Tarkine', poor Mr Young does not know his history and does not understand the facts. The Australian Government Heritage Database describes the Tarkine as 'the Tarkine Wilderness Area'. It is 'the Tarkine'. Not that we heard anything about this from either Mr Young or Dr Broad, but it is also a landscape of enormous archaeological Aboriginal cultural heritage significance, as is recognised by the Australian Heritage Database, which describes the Tarkine as:

one of the world's richest archaeological sites, with the diversity and density of Aboriginal sites ranking it among the world's great archaeological sites.

It also talks about other values of the Tarkine that we will never hear from the major parties in this place. We did not hear any recognition of rednecks trashing the Tarkine and Aboriginal cultural heritage while the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs wrings his hands and does nothing because he is compromised because he is the member for Braddon.

This place has the largest tract of rainforest in Australia, the largest wilderness dominated by rainforest in Australia, with 190 000 hectares of rainforest in total, which both the parties in this place would be happy to flatten and burn. It is the northern limit of Huon pine, has a high diversity of wet eucalypt forests including large contiguous areas of Eucalyptus obliqua, a great diversity of other vegetation communities such as dry sclerophyll forest and woodland, buttongrass moorland, sandy littoral communities, wetlands, grasslands, dry coastal vegetation and sphagnum communities, and a high diversity of non-vascular plants, including at least 151 species of liverworts and 92 species of mosses.

It has a diverse vertebrate fauna including 28 terrestrial mammals, 111 land and freshwater birds, 11 reptiles, eight frogs and 13 freshwater fish - all these miraculous creatures neither Mr Young or Dr Broad could give a tinker's cuss about. They could not care less about the miracle that is takayna/the Tarkine. They only see it in terms of what they can rip out, flog off and sell off at a loss to the people of Tasmania. The Tarkine/takayna also has over 50 rare threatened and endangered species of flora and fauna, including the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle and the giant freshwater crayfish. It has complex and diverse invertebrate fauna, with at least 16 species found nowhere else on Earth, the largest freshwater invertebrate on Earth, Astacopsis gouldii, the giant freshwater crayfish, one of the richest anthropod - which is a tiny crustacean - fauna diversities in the world.

It has globally unique magnesite karst systems, excellent examples of joint controlled drainage features, significant coastal features such as the Sandy Cape dune field, which rednecks, of course, are being allowed by this Government to trash on a daily basis, unregulated, unchecked, in complete contravention of the wishes of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, totally disrespectful. The Aboriginal Affairs minister sits on his hands and in fact, by so doing, eggs on the rednecks, because he is part of a government that wanted to open up that area to four-wheel drives and other off-road vehicles because they do not care about the natural and cultural values of one of the most miraculous, special, rare places on Earth.

The Tarkine also has dolomite karst systems and incredible karst landforms. That is why it is on the Australian Heritage Database. That is why it should be World Heritage and a national park. That is why there is a group of Tasmanians of all ages, from all walks of life, who will defend takayna to their last breath. We will defend it from people like minister Barnett, who gives illegal leases over Helilog Road to a Chinese state-owned company. He lost the portfolio and we think that is partly why: because he broke the law. We will defend takayna/the Tarkine. We will stand with Aboriginal Tasmanians and defend that spectacular place to our last breath.