Tasmania's Tarkine rainforests are important for their flora which has links to the ancient continent of Gondwana, and for their lichens and fossils which help tell the story of Australia's ancient flora and its evolution.
Mining companies like Venture Minerals are desperate to exploit the minerals beneath Tasmania's environmentally significant Tarkine area. Demand for metals being placed above the value of the environment.
The Tarkine region is located in the north-west of Tasmania. The area encompasses 447,000 hectares of wilderness including the Southern Hemispheres largest single tract of temperate rain forest, a wild coastline with an extraordinary wealth of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage sites. It's the habitat for over 50 threatened species.
The extensive rainforests, beautiful river gorges, buttongrass mountain tops, flowering heathlands and long wild beaches combine to make the Tarkine one of the world's great treasures.
These rainforests are important for their flora which has links to the ancient continent of Gondwana, and for their lichens and fossils which help tell the story of Australia's ancient flora and its evolution.
The Tarkine is a sensitive region rich in mega-diversity. It's one of the world's last remaining temperate rain-forests, the home of the Tasmanian Devil and many other precious species.
National Heritage a must:
The Tarkine must be put on the National Heritage List. The heritage assessment of The Tarkine will help ensure that the heritage values are considered in decision-making, so heritage protection is balanced with the social and economic aspirations of the Tasmanian community. Short-term economic benefits should not be at the expense of the un-quantifiable value of ancient woodlands, rugged coastlines, and forest habitat destruction.
Mining companies like Venture Minerals are desperate to exploit the minerals beneath Tasmania's environmentally significant Tarkine area.
Demand for metals being placed above the environment:
Chinese demand for base metals such as gold, iron, tin, zinc, lead, copper is at an all time high, and this would mean logging, pollution, roads, and heavy traffic destroying the landscape and pristine rivers.
Environment Minister Tony Burke was called on to immediately include the Tarkine on the emergency National Heritage Listing amid concerns about the impact on the Tasmanian devil population of a revised tourist road project. He denied that he made a promise to do so. His predecessor, Peter Garrett, first gave the Tarkine wilderness a one-year emergency listing, which Mr Burke let expire. Since then he has let a British mining company test drill in the area.
Mr Burke says the new plan for a tourist road is not the same as the original 132-kilometre loop road plan that was subject to a now lapsed emergency listing. One road is not similarly destructive an another?
Mining and road proposals threaten to carve up Tasmania's unprotected the Tarkine wilderness area, local defenders say.
Venture Mineral's Mt Lindsay tin, tungsten and iron mining proposal, coupled with the revival of the controversial Tarkine link road proposal, should have given Mr Burke grounds to reinstate Tarkine's emergency National Heritage listing. Heritage listings would not stop mining, but developments would have to pass more rigorous and critical environmental tests.
The Mount Lindsay tin project is the largest of several mines planned around the Tarkine in an emerging new Tasmanian environmental battle. The Tarkine National Coalition said up to nine new open cut mines are in development there. Venture Minerals predict $1 billion in revenue, with more than 500 jobs in construction and 200 in operation.
Surely the threats of mining are enough reasons for an emergency heritage listing for the Tarkine?
Mr Burke says the principle that a heritage listing automatically locks out all development is wrong. He says with or without a heritage listing, environmental protection remains. "Developments" and "protection" are inherently contradictory.
Mr Jordan who heads the Tarkine National Coalition says Mr Burke's decision to lift the heritage listing means other mining companies will not be scrutinised as closely as Beacon Hill Resources. The whole area should be protected as a national park.
The interests of miners are being placed above the Minister's obligations to the environment. All three proposed mining projects will have secured Commonwealth environmental permits during the 18 month period he had at his disposal, allowing them to avoid scrutiny against National Heritage criteria. They will also be allowed to continue exploration drilling and associated access roading without need for Commonwealth assessments.
The mining will cause havoc to the pristine condition of the area. There is nothing "sustainable" now. It's just window-dressing. What about the costs and long term damage of these industries and jobs? Mr Burke is supposed to represent the environment, not the mining industries. As with his population strategy, that come to nothing, he is now abrogating his duty to protect one of the last temperate rain-forest areas in the world.
It is wrong to destroy sacred and holy places to plunder their riches, and the same applies to Nature's sacred places.
Getup - Save the Tarkine
Please email Minister Burke Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au