Federal environment minister Tony Burke has rejected National Heritage listing for the Tarkine wilderness.
On February 8, Burke announced 10 new mines proposed over the next five years for the Tarkine wilderness area. Nine of these 10 mines will be open cut leaving scars of devastation in an area of north-western Tasmania.
“The Tarkine is one of the world’s great wild places. It is an expansive 447,000 hectare wilderness area of recognised World Heritage significance in the North-West corner of Tasmania, Australia’s island state. The Tarkine contains remarkable natural and cultural values, including one of the world’s most significant remaining tracts of temperate rainforest,” said the Tarkine National Coalition.
The Tarkine is a place of unique natural and cultural significance and was nominated for World Heritage listing by the Australian senate in 2007.
The Tarkine has been recognised by prominent bodies including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Tasmanian Department of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage and environment groups such as The Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
The Australian government has recognised the Tarkine’s outstanding national significance through listing the Tarkine on the register of the National estate.
As the Tarkine National Coalition says Burke only "listed a paltry 4% of the 433,000 hectares recommended to him by the inquiry".
Since February 8, Burke has granted the first two of 10 mining permits to Venture Minerals for three iron mines at Mt Lindsay and granted Shree Minerals an iron ore mine proposed for Nelson Bay River.
Successive environment ministers have failed to put forward an assessment by the Australian Heritage council for Heritage listing with UNESCO leaving these areas of “outstanding natural and cultural value” vulnerable to the policies of Burke.
A national day of action on February 14 and a campaign in local media helped to expose the plight of the now endangered Tarkine and reverse this environmentally catastrophic decision.
Venture Minerals and Shree Minerals are driven by the profits to be made from these proposed mining ventures in the Tarkine. But the Tarkine has far more long-term value as a wilderness area and should continue to benefit all.