Tarkine Treasure Reprieved

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Minister Groom in a 'contradictory mess' - Brown.

Media Release 24 December 2014

Yesterday's Federal Court injunction stopping the Hodgman government's order to reopen destructive off-road vehicle tracks on the Tarkine coast underscores the failure of the Minister for the Environment, Parks and Heritage to show basic responsibility for the area's internationally-recognised Aboriginal cultural values, Bob Brown said today.

"For thousands of years the Tarkiner and other Aboriginal groups had a human highway foot track, dwellings, cooking and ceremonial sites concentrated along this thin coastal strip and evidence of this vigorous cultural reality is everywhere. Minister Groom's response to the court's intervention is that he remains determined to let the off-road vehicles through this cultural treasure trove 'in a manner that is respectful of cultural and environmental values’."

"That is like saying he will lead the bull carefully and respectfully through the china-shop. He is in a contradictory mess of his own making. Most of the region is open to off-road vehicles but a driving ambition of this brigade's push to rip and roar through the lot is simply the impulse to go where they should not go. Too much of the Tarkine's rich cultural and natural fabric has already been shredded behind the mudflaps of drivers who measure their success by the depth of the mud in the rut driven through the archaeological sites they couldn't care less about."

"The Minister's use of the word 'respect' in the context of vehicles gouging their way south of Sandy Cape to the Pieman River is no different to the 'respect' he had when backing the  chainsaws destroying the World Heritage values of the forests in Tasmania's Styx and Weld valleys, now key parts of the global attractiveness of Tasmania as a travel destination."

"The eyes of the world are increasingly on the Tarkine and there will be a vigorous campaign to save its remaining intact coastal strip from desecration by motorised ratbags", Brown said.

"The Bob Brown Foundation will do all it can to assist the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to succeed in its defence of these lands", he said.

Bob Brown is chair of the growing foundation which backs action to protect Tasmania's cultural and natural heritage.


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