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Article by BLAIR RICHARDS in The Mercury June 23, 2015
ENVIRONMENTALISTS say the State Government is damaging Tasmania’s tourism reputation by allowing logging in the Tarkine.
But the Liberals have labelled the protest a ploy to gain support for a Greens Senate preselection candidate.
A small group of protesters from Save the Tarkine and the Bob Brown Foundation gathered outside the Executive Building in Hobart this morning to highlight what they said was “subsidised logging”.
Save the Tarkine campaigner Scott Jordan said Forestry Tasmania was logging in old-growth forests and rainforests in the region.
“The equivalent of 40 AFL football grounds is being lost right now in the Tarkine,” Mr Jordan said.
Alleging widespread logging was occurring in the Tarkine, Bob Brown Foundation campaign manager Jenny Weber said the logging activity flew in the face of the Government’s desire to increase tourism to the region.
Read the full article on The Mercury.
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After some remarkable adventures in the Southwest Tasmanian wilderness in the 1970s, Karen Alexander volunteered to organise the Melbourne office of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society after its formation in 1976.
Karen Alexander deep in her beloved southwest Tasmanian wilderness
From upstairs rooms in Hardware Street, Karen gathered and united a large contingent of fellow volunteers as the campaign to save Tasmania's Franklin and Gordon rivers from a series of dams grew out of Tasmania into a nationwide environmental furore.
Melbourne became pivotal to saving Tasmania's wild rivers. Karen was the all-important co-ordinator of that campaign which culminated in rallies of up to fifteen thousand people in downtown Melbourne, including on the eve of the 1983 federal election.
Karen emceed the final rally, welcoming Opposition Leader Bob Hawke to the podium where he declared that, if elected, he would stop the Gordon-below-Franklin dam then being built in the Tasmanian wilderness. Famously, Hawke's wife Hazel put on 'No Dams' earrings while standing next to him. A fortnight later Hawke swept to victory and made good his promise.
Years of remarkable commitment by Karen and her team culminated in these crucial river-saving events in Melbourne. Without that campaign, the wild rivers of Tasmania would have been destroyed. Karen's award of an Order of Australia is as belated as it is so richly deserved.
Karen Alexander celebrates the 'Walk for Wilderness'
Franklin campaign with Bob Brown and Margaret Robertson, 1982
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An article by JOHN LAWRENCE in The Mercury June 16, 2015
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Article by Bob Brown in Cygnet Classifieds, March 2015.
Federation Peak with snow. Photo: Bob Brown
Wilderness is the wild Earth. It is a large tract of natural country, essentially unmarked by modern impacts such as roads, fences, power lines, buildings, dams and mines. It is where we all began.
Our ancestors flourished in wildness. That's why our ears are curled - to pick up the faintest sound from the forest floor. It is why we give flowers to express our love and devotion, rather than chainsaws. It is why parents like their children to be watching Attenborough rather than Abetz. Wilderness is an avenue to understanding ourselves.
It is also why, on a finite planet now grazed by 7.4 billion people, the biggest herd of mammals in Earth's history, the richest people are willing to pay big money to helicopter into wild, remote places exclusive from ordinary people.
Yet helicopter landing sites, robust 'huts' (with heating, hot showers, fine meals and wines, drying rooms and comfortable beds), and motorised craft degrade the wildness and therefore the wilderness. Knowing this, the Hodgman government plans to remove all reference to wilderness, and particularly to wilderness protection, from the time-honoured Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage (TWWHA) Management Plan.
The state is offering private profiteers their option to grab plum scenic and remote sites and turn them into exclusive enclaves at peppercorn rents at the expense of wilderness and the Tasmanian public which owns the TWWHA.
Yet a 2011 government survey of mainlanders thinking about holidays showed that the single most attractive feature of Tasmania is its wilderness. This is also borne out by the fact that while jobs in logging and mining continue to fall, jobs in tourism are soaring and, last year, more than a million visitors came here primarily to enjoy Tasmania's wild and scenic beauty.
We can have the best of both worlds. The TWWHA wilderness should be protected and visitor access, such as tracks and camping sites, maintained by the government for all-comers, including commercially-guided trips.
Private boutique and top-shelf resorts should depend on the free market. There are stunningly-good wild country options available. For example, in my old home valley at Liffey with its towering crags, pristine river and platypuses, forests and waterfalls. Or the wild west coast of King Island. Private and remote blocks of land also routinely come up for sale on the snowy Central Plateau, adjacent to the tall forests and scenic coastlines of southern Tasmania and even in the Tarkine.
Premier Hodgman should have intervened when Minister Harriss purloined the $7 million federal money earmarked for managing the extended TWWHA. Harris diverted this public fund to the loggers. It should have instead gone to opening up the Styx River's Valley of the Giants, with a visitor centre like those at Cradle Valley and Mt Field and wheelchair-friendly trails through the giant trees.
Like Westminster Abbey for England, the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is our island's globally-famous attraction. Both places deserve government protection and treating with the respect their beauty, spiritual values and ancient history deserve. Let the commercial profiteers exploit the excellent tourism options elsewhere.
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ABC Online 5 Feb 2015
The Tasmanian Government has dumped plans to change the law to allow corporations to sue for defamation in the face of public opposition and a lack of support from other states.
The Government had planned to break away from national defamation laws to give corporations with more than 10 employees the right to sue groups or individuals who made false or misleading claims about their products.
It was an election promise designed to protect the forest industry from damaging market campaigns by environmental groups.
But the move prompted a backlash from the legal sector which feared "forum shopping" where corporations from elsewhere would file suits in Tasmania.
Read the full story on the ABC website.
Article by Bob Brown in The Mercury. 29 January 2015.
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Photo: Dan Broun
Tasmania's Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities alike have a diversity of views on nature versus development. So Emma Lee's opinion (24 January) and criticism of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society and me and our role in protecting the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) is welcome in the arena of public debate and invites a reply.
Our campaigns, and crucial Aboriginal campaigning, did save the Franklin River from damming, Precipitous Bluff from mining for cement, and the Alma River forest from clearfelling.
However Emma wrote no criticism of the Hodgman government's intention, powered by Simon Currant's Tourism Council, to open the door to future logging, mining and monopoly tourism in the TWWHA through removing the wilderness status and other protections won so long ago.
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in The Guardian Jan 2015
"Tasmania wants to break ranks with uniform defamation laws to allow companies to take action against individuals. Where’s Tim Wilson when we need him?"
"To further restrict the ability of public interest campaigners to press their case, as the Tasmanian government proposes, is to make Australia’s free speech landscape deeply depressing."
Read the full story on theguardian.com
Bob McDonald, Naturalist. Article in tasmaniantimes.com: Jan 14, 2015
Bill Gammage’s popular book ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia’ contains many fundamental flaws and represents ‘blind advocacy’ for repeated burning’ because ‘Aboriginal people did it’.
Like Keith Windshuttle’s ‘Fabrication of Aboriginal History’, Bill Gammage only pursued references - and interpretation of references - that supported his ‘hypothesis’. For Gammage that hypothesis is that all Aboriginal people farmed all of Australia using fire. This proposition was first published by Rhys Jones in an article in Australian Natural History in 1969 ‘Firestick Farming’ - and the references Jones used have as little merit as Gammage’s.
Jones used a painting of Lesueur from 1802 to show landscape burning by Tasmanian Aboriginal people when the painting is clearly of smoke signals. He quoted Peron observing the Derwent River ‘ablaze’ while Peron stated that ‘Tasmanians’ lit the fire to see them off. Bill Gammage now travels the country advocating frequent burning. He is not in any way qualified to do so and often does not look at the bush in these places before he advocates burning. He quotes no Aboriginal people or stories and ignores scientific evidence that cast doubt on his theories.
Read the full article on tasmaniantimes.com