Bob Brown challenges Brett Whiteley to front up

Media Statement 3.12.2015


Noting Brett Whiteley's parliamentary tour-de-force this week, Bob Brown has issued the following statement:

Brett Whiteley owes taxpayers far more than the Tarkine National Coalition ever could owe mining companies. Mr Whiteley and his party have lost more than $400 million of taxpayers' money, propping up the job-losing logging industry in Tasmania. More than 5000 jobs have been shed in recent decades. Then there are the vast sums of money (via tax deductions) the Liberals have moved into the logging industry through the disastrous forestry management investment schemes.

The question is: will Mr Whiteley start paying that back to Tasmanians by allocating 10 percent of his taxpayer-funded income, for starters?

Each year Mr Whiteley and his party put millions of dollars more of taxpayers' money into tax breaks and subsidies (for example, mining companies get a 38 cents per litre tax cut on diesel which ordinary people in Burnie, Devonport and Smithton don't get) into mining corporations to benefit  the pockets of interstate and overseas shareholders. Will Mr Whiteley put another 10 percent of his parliamentary income to help pay that loss off?

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (opposed by Whiteley) is now Tasmania's biggest international attraction and core to the tourism and hospitality industries which are creating many times more jobs for Tasmanians than mining and logging. Yet Whiteley also opposes the Tarkine winning this global status. He has consistently backed the wrong horse, using taxpayers' money. So picking on the Tarkine National Coalition for its recent court loss is self-invested hot air.

Is Mr Whiteley offering to be guarantor for Shree Minerals and Venture who have not yet proceeded with their proposals?

The Tarkine when protected will transform into the Northwest's own local superlative tourism drawcard. Brett Whiteley's opposition to it being nominated for World Heritage is holding back the region's economic and employment development.

He has challenged me in parliament. l test his courage outside the 'cowards castle' by challenging Whiteley to a debate in the public arena on this real and important issue of the Tarkine and its potential for all of Tasmania.

I might begin by asking him and the Liberals to pay up for mining and logging companies which have not met court or other public-burden costs in recent years. I will prepare a list.

Bob Brown.

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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