Forest protection group Groundswell released the statement below on October 3.
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A group of activists gathered at the federal government's community cabinet forum on October 3 in Launceston to send a clear message to the Labor government that the Tarkine needs an emergency world heritage listing.
T-shirts reading “TARKINE HERITAGE LISTING” were displayed outside the community cabinet forum at Launceston College on Brisbane Street. Members of the newly formed environmental advocacy group GroundSwell maintained a silent peaceful vigil as the cabinet continued inside.
GroundSwell is a grassroots community direct action organisation advocating the protection of Tasmania’s natural environment and is based in Northern Tasmania. The purpose of the action was to call on the Julia Gillard government to immediately nominate the Tarkine to UNESCO for world heritage.
“Panel ministers Gillard and [Tony] Burke should be ashamed that under their leadership, the Tarkine will be opened up to a new wave of open cut mining operations,” GroundSwell spokesperson Dr Lisa Searle said.
“The Labor government has so far failed to act on protecting the Tarkine; the second largest remaining tract of cool temperate rainforest in the world. We are not prepared to stand back and watch as our precious ecosystems are decimated for short term profit.”
The independent assessments of the Tarkine area have proven its world heritage and natural value.
In 2007, the Australian Senate formally recognised the World Heritage significance of the Tarkine. It has been recommended twice for national heritage and has been independently verified as an area of significant natural and environmental value.
Mining leases already granted in the Tarkine are scarring the landscape and the proposed open cut mines will see the destruction of vast swathes of pristine forest, the pollution of water catchments and ecological devastation to Tasmania’s unique environment.
“It is time for people to stand up and be actively involved in protecting the Tarkine, before it’s too late”.