You are here

takayna/Tarkine - Four-Wheel Drive Tracks

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Tags: Aboriginal Heritage, Tasmanian Aboriginals, takayna / Tarkine


Last Friday afternoon's referral to the federal minister to reopen four-wheel-drive tracks on the Aboriginal cultural landscape of the takayna/Tarkine coastline details a host of major earthworks, rehabilitation and other engineering to allegedly avoid damage to Aboriginal cultural heritage.

This includes: 4.6 kilometres of combined linear works in an incredibly remote and hostile landscape; 2.26 kilometres of four-wheel-drive track hardening or new tracks to divert around Aboriginal heritage sites; plastic matting and gravel hardening to cover middens so vehicles can drive over them; the digging and placement of culverts, construction of drainage, water bars and other earthworks to drain major wet areas; closure and rehabilitation of braided and seriously eroded tracks; 3.05 kilometres of fencing around irreplaceable and scenic Aboriginal heritage sites; barging in, driving in and helicoptering in excavators to cover the 17-plus kilometre stretch of coastline in question.

While the Greens and the majority of Tasmanian Aborigines do not in any way accept that these works will protect this precious cultural landscape, we are interested to know what is the total estimated cost of these construction works and which agency's budget will they be drawn from?


Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I repeat the point I made yesterday that the referral should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It was part of our commitment to ensure that there could be an appropriate, sustainable reopening of tracks that were shut. As the Leader of the Greens has detailed in her question, it is one which also comes with a number of measures put in place to remediate and to protect the important Aboriginal heritage and cultural assets and values of this area. The referral supports the reopening of tracks. Under our proposal a number of conditions are to be applied to ensure the protection of the area.

We can provide the House with the detailed breakdown of the cost of the measures. There are strict rules to adhere to for driving in this area, such as restricting access and allowing access only between the non-winter months. There is a requirement to obtain special permits for certain tracks, there are remediation works in the area proposed to protect areas as well as measures such as fencing and so on.

The question highlights the fact that there is a lot to be done to ensure that not only can the tracks be reopened, but that there are measures in place to ensure appropriate protections. We can provide information on how we intend to do those things. It demonstrates our commitment to strike the right balance to allow access and additional measures and personnel to provide the support to ensure greater protection to this area.

Our position is clear. It is not agreed to by everyone. We took it to the election. It is what we stand for. This is another example of where Tasmanians can know clearly what we stand for. They certainly know what the Greens stand for. However, if you listened to Leader of the Opposition on the radio this morning you would have no idea what the Labor Party stands for on this issue. We welcome an explanation from the Leader of the Opposition.