New stage for Tarkine campaign


By Kylie Moon HOBART — More than 200 people rallied outside Parliament House on January 31, launching phase two of the campaign to save the Tarkine wilderness in north-west Tasmania. The rally was called by the Greens to coincide with the official opening of the Heemskirk Link Road. The road, completed in late December, has ripped open half of the largest tract of rainforest in Australia, encouraging woodchipping, mining and the denial of World Heritage Listing. Speakers included Bob Brown and Peg Putt from the Greens; Aboriginal activist Jim Everett; an independent candidate for Denison, Austra Maddox; and an activist from the Tarkine Tigers. Linking environmental protection and land rights, Everett criticised the Liberal government's recent handing back of 12 sacred sites to Tasmania's Aboriginal people, saying it was a token gesture which does not equal land rights. "Land rights is protecting and respecting mother earth", he said. The campaign will continue to focus on achieving World Heritage protection for the area. This would require federal intervention, a measure which both Liberals and ALP in Tasmania have opposed.