Minister fails to protect the Tarkine

The Tarkine in Tasmania.

This statement was released by The Wilderness Society on February 8.

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The Wilderness Society is deeply disappointed that the Tarkine National Heritage listing does not recognise the extraordinary natural values of this iconic region.

“We welcome the long overdue protection of Indigenous cultural heritage in the coastal areas but the [federal environment] minister [Tony Burke] has abdicated his responsibility to protect the natural values including the largest temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere and one of the last refuges for healthy Tasmanian devils,” said Wilderness Society national director Lyndon Schneiders.

“This listing protects only 4 per cent of what the Australian Heritage Council recommended for listing.

“What is the point of having a Heritage Council if the minister completely ignores its recommendations? The minister can't just throw his hands up and say the Tarkine is too hard. What is he going to do to protect this Australian icon?”

Wilderness Society Tarkine Campaigner Liz Johnstone said: “This listing has more to do with guaranteeing mining rather than trying to ensure the survival of the Tasmanian devil and Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle and another 60 threatened plant and animal species.

“The Tasmanian devil is already at risk of extinction from the facial tumour disease. It doesn’t need any more stress put on one of its last disease-free stronghold.

“The Tarkine National Heritage listing is a sham because it doesn’t stop any new mining. The Tarkine is a complete interconnected ecosystem, and any new mining will have destructive knock-on effects throughout the region.

“This listing has only increased our resolve to continue to campaign for real protection for Tasmania’s Tarkine.”

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