Closing 4WD tracks important first step in permanent protection of takayna/Tarkine

Media release 1 March 2016

4WD tracks on takayna/Tarkine coast documented during the past twelve months when a court injunction was in place to prevent access to these cultural significant areas. Photo: Chris Crerar

The Bob Brown Foundation welcomes today's Federal Court decision that 4WD tracks on the takayna/Tarkine coast must remain closed and calls on State and Federal Governments to take real action to protect Aboriginal cultural values from illegal access.

"Today's decision by the Federal Court that 4WD tracks along the takayna/Tarkine coast damage Aboriginal cultural values of the area is a welcome relief for the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, and indeed all Australians who want to see these cultural treasures protected", the Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.

"Preventing off-road vehicles accessing the Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape, part of the National Heritage listing, will need policing by the State and Federal Governments. Even with an injunction in place there has been illegal use of these tracks and ongoing damage to Aboriginal heritage values."

"The State Government has a responsibility to ensure the closure of these tracks is not ignored by lawless hoons, and must increase resources for National Parks rangers to bolster their tireless efforts to protect the values of the area."

"We thank the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for taking this action with the Environmental Defenders Office in the Federal Court. Today's decision is proof that standing up in the face of adversity and Government sanctioned vandalism of cultural and natural heritage is important."

Our Foundation is campaigning for takayna/Tarkine to be protected as a National Park and World Heritage Area, to be returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The Tarkine is one of the world's last great wild places, currently under pressure from logging, mining and off-road vehicle use.

Meda contact
Jenny Weber 03 6294 0620

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Tasmanian Government shows disregard for Aboriginal community, globally significant cultural and natural values

Media Release 20 Feb 2016

4WD tracks on takayna/Tarkine coast documented during the past twelve months when a court injunction was in place to prevent access to these cultural significant areas. Photo: Chris Crerar

Bob Brown Foundation calls on the Tasmanian Premier and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Will Hodgman, to reverse the decision to open off-road vehicle tracks on takayna/Tarkine coast.

Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber stated today, ‘It is internationally embarrassing that a Minister of the Government would support damaging off-road vehicle access to one of Australia’s richest examples of Aboriginal cultural heritage such as we saw today by Minister Adam Brooks.’

‘The thousands of years of indigenous history on the takayna/Tarkine coast is more important than a short generational history of people who have driven damaging vehicles across this vast landscape of wild country that has recognisable global significance. Worse still is the fact that despite a High Court injunction that forced closure of the tracks, there has been ongoing users on these tracks, breaking down fences, trashing middens and zero effort by the Tasmanian Government to bolster resources to police and prevent these acts of vandalism,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Aboriginal heritage sites on the takayna/Tarkine coast are under-recognised, inadequately protected and repeatedly disrespected. Their values are degraded by a lack of funding, mismanagement, neglect and wilful abuse such as vehicular damage to middens, vandalism and theft. Rather than encouraging racist attitudes that purport recreational driving across middens sites and environmental desecration is acceptable. The Government has responsibility to improving the public’s knowledge and understanding of the Aboriginal community’s living cultural connection to takayna/Tarkine, ensuring truthful engagement with Tasmania’s Aboriginal people and recognition and protection of this outstandingly rich cultural landscape,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘We need leaders in Tasmania who make every effort to protect globally significant cultural and heritage values, not poor role models who support racism, Aboriginal heritage desecration and environmental destruction,’ Jenny Weber said.

Contact Jenny Weber
0427 366 929


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TWWHA Damage: Lessons are to be learned

Media Release 11 Feb 2016

‘Premier Will Hodgman reacted far too slowly to the damaging Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area fires and should now have a plan to defend the area from late-summer flare-ups,’ environmentalist Bob Brown said today.

‘In any other state where fires caused global headlines, the Premier, who is also in ultimate command, would have been on or near the area in following days. It took Will Hodgman a month to get there,’ Brown said.

Releasing photos including of the destruction of Devils Gullet near Lake McKenzie, Brown said that ‘one of Tasmania’s most dramatic lookouts has been incinerated.’

‘We applaud Tasmania’s fire fighters. However, the government has to learn from this. There have been three major lessons in preparedness.

  1. The immediate threat is not over. Twenty-six fires are still going and the government agency says that ‘much was still required to make the (Lake McKenzie) fire edge safe’.
  2. Preparation for future wildfires needs an immediate response factor.
  3. Climate Change is a serious factor: this needs to be acknowledged and remedied by government action.

Photographs attached taken by Rob Blakers on 9 Feb 2016

Devils Gullet near Lake McKenzie. Photo: Rob Blakers


Photo: Rob Blakers


Photo: Rob Blakers


Photo: Rob Blakers

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Brown offers Colbeck best safety solution

Media Release 10 Feb 2016


As Senator Colbeck wants everyone to be safe, including the priority residents of Lapoinya, he should prevail on Premier Will Hodgman to have the violent invasion of the Lapoinya Forest by Forestry Tasmania called off, environmentalist Bob Brown said today.

"Richard means well, but has not been in the forest, does not know the people of Lapoinya, has no vision for Tasmania and will not be footing the bill for this unnecessary destruction of the habitat of rare Tasmanian species like the Tassie devil and giant Tasmanian crayfish. But, no doubt, Ta Ann will like their interests being fostered by the senator at Tasmania's expense."

Jenny Weber
0427 366 929

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Tasmanian forests are not fuel for furnaces



‘Tasmanian Government Minister Paul Harris has today revealed a nightmare scenario to generate electricity from the destruction of Tasmania’s unique native forests and wildlife habitats by pushing for a forest furnace in the southern forests. Tasmania’s unique forests are not fuel for furnaces. We call on Minister Harris to rule out public funding and subsidies for forest furnaces in Tasmania,’ Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.

‘A forest furnace on the banks of Tasmania’s Huon river is a last century proposal, biomass generated by burning native forests is not clean and green, it is dirty and destructive,

Biomass electricity generated by burning native forests in forest furnaces is not renewable energy, it would be dangerous to human health and Australians don’t want it,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘For the public it’s a choice between ending industrialised logging in Tasmania’s native forests and wildlife habitats or forest furnaces for decades to come,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Tasmania’s native forests are globally unique, as intact forests across the planet are vanishing at a rapid rate. Intact forests gather and store carbon. Protecting native forests is a solution to Tasmania’s reduced rainfall and increased climate change impacts not the Tasmanian government proposal for forest furnaces from logged endangered species habitat,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Minister Harris’ absurd proposal to entrench logging of native forests for forest furnaces across Tasmania would deplete valuable forest carbon stores and have devastating impacts on biodiversity, climate, communities and local economies,’ Jenny Weber said.

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929


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Paul Harriss: invader

Media Release 28 Jan 2016

"The Minister for Forests Paul Harriss is invader-in-chief at Lapoinya", Bob Brown said today.

"Harriss is in charge of the bulldozers and chainsaws which have invaded the previously peaceful Lapoinya Forest and he has done it against the wishes of the good citizens of Lapoinya.

"He is leading from behind: he refused to visit Lapoinya before over-ruling and overrunning the people's heartfelt pleas.

"This minister's behaviour has been rude and bloody-minded and is a loser for Tasmania in terms of jobs, the economy and the environment.

"Premier Hodgman should now overrule Harriss and call off this counter-productive operation at Lapoinya," Brown said.

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929


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Brown challenges Hodgman on Lapoinya costs

Media Release 26 Jan 2016


Environmentalist Bob Brown says he and other Lapoinya Forest defenders have had a nationwide response backing the Lapoinyans making a stand for their forest despite the Hodgman government's draconian laws against peaceful protest.

"The Lapoinya arrests, beginning with those of a grandfather and a mother, have spurred indignation.

"There is a wide disbelief that people defending their local forest and endangered wildlife should be being bulldozed by a Premier and ministers who have never been near the place.

"The response has also been international.

Brown called for the Tasmanian government to release its detailed accounts showing that taxpayers aren't actually paying to have the 49 hectares of Lapoinya Forest clearfelled and burnt and the wildlife eradicated. Private economic assessments show the logging will cost up to $200,000. Last year Forestry Tasmania was handed $30 million by the Hodgman government to help cover its annual debt for logging forests which cost FT nothing.

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Urgent Letter to Malcolm Turnbull from Bob Brown

Hon. Malcolm Turnbull,

Prime Minister of Australia.


Dear Prime Minister,

The bushfire threat in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is extremely alarming. If between now and the end of April Tasmania experiences a heat wave with strong winds some of the most beautiful places on the high Central Plateau and in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and beyond will be incinerated. They would take centuries, if ever, to recover.

The heart of the Tarkine wilderness to the west of the World Heritage Area but containing its own World Heritage values is also alight and similarly threatened.

Urgent national assistance to douse the current fires before catastrophic conditions arise is warranted. Tasmania's resources are already stretched to the limit.

We urge you to take immediate action to send to Tasmania the necessary equipment - there is no shortage of water in these fires' localities - and personnel to bring the situation under control before it is too late.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Brown.

Pencil Pine at Lake Balmoral. Photo: Geoff Law

Here's how you can help!

Call or write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Contact your local federal Coalition MP. Tell friends who have seen the glories of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area or Tarkine.

Thank you all,

Bob Brown.


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Hodgman's Draconian Laws Snare Typical Tasmanian Rural Community

Media Release 20 Jan 2016


The Hodgman government's draconian laws to deprive Tasmanians of the centuries-old right to peacefully protest have created community havoc at the first test, environmentalist Bob Brown said today, after Jessica Hoyt, who was raised in Lapoinya was arbitrarily arrested in her local forest.

The forest is a previously safe habitat for rare and endangered species including the Tasmanian devil and giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish.

"The arrests and mandatory fines handed out today and yesterday at Lapoinya show a government which has lost touch with its rural heartland. Will Hodgman, also out of touch with Tasmania's natural bounty, has only himself to blame. He was led by the logging companies, with a ring through his nose, to host these draconian laws."

"The Hodgman government has underestimated the love of place which is at the heart of many Tasmanian communities."

"One independent economic analysis estimates the cost to taxpayers of this unnecessary invasion of the Lapoinya forest at $50,000 but, with Forestry Tasmania's bid for FSC certification undermined, the flow-on costs will be much more”, Bob Brown said.

There will be a small rally to support the Lapoinya community in Hobart's Parliamentary Lawns tomorrow, Thursday, from 12.30 to 1.00pm and the public is welcome: no one will be arrested.

Media contact
Steven Chaffer 0408 855 261


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Will Hodgman twists the facts

Media Release  19 Jan 2016


In this evening's media release under the banner and authority of Premier Will Hodgman but purporting to be from backbench novice Joan Rylah, the premier has striven to twist the facts.

First, his implication that logging is the best option for jobs is patently wrong. Tourism and hospitality based on Tasmania's wildlife and scenery produces many more jobs than logging. His conservative Liberal agenda is anti-jobs.

Second, it was the Hodgman government, including novice Rylah which moved the goalposts when it voted down the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Having destroyed that agreement they look pathetic continuing to claim that those who signed it should stick to it.

Third, Lapoinya was selectively logged decades ago and the native forest is regrowing. Now the premier has licensed clearfelling and burning in order to deliberately destroy the native forest and its wildlife including threatened species like the unmentionable giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish.

Fourth, this is not sustainable forestry, it is the utter destruction of 49 hectares of ancient Tasmanian forest ecosystem and its wildlife against the dismissed wishes of the local residents.

If Premier Hodgman would like to debate his job-losing, economically irresponsible environmental vandalism by coming from behind Ms Rylah's cover then I would be very happy to take him on - for Tasmania's sake.

Bob Brown.

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