Developing the Tarkine’s Future – Why minding is better than mining

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Save the Tarkine and the Bob Brown Foundation are pleased with the positive reception at the forum Developing the Tarkine’s Future – Why minding is better than mining yesterday in Wynyard.

Speakers included Adam Thompson and Ashley Murray from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, economist Richard Dennis from The Australia Institute, Bob Brown from the Bob Brown Foundation, and Scott Jordan from Save the Tarkine.

Richard Dennis
Richard Dennis

Mr Dennis spoke about the need for Tasmania to engage with it’s real economic opportunities going forward, and not tie itself to subsidy dependant native forest logging and mining industries. Mr Dennis pointed out that around 1% of Tasmanians are employed in native forest logging, and less in mining, compared to 20% of Tasmanians employed in tourism and hospitality. Mr Dennis went on to say that even if Tasmania doubled the number of jobs in the declining native forest logging and mining jobs, they would still be a tiny proportion of the Tasmanian workforce and would not change Tasmania’s high unemployment, and that you can’t address big, modern economic challenges by continued subsidising of tiny, old economy industries.

Mr Jordan discussed the economic mythology that had been built around proposed mines in the Tarkine.

“We have seen the real jobs growth happening in tourism in the Tarkine right now, but it is being hampered by a blind commitment by governments to pro-mining policy that ignores the trajectory of ore prices”, said Mr Jordan.

“Iron ore prices are $40 a tonne below the prices needed for Shree’s Minerals’ failed Nelson Bay River mine or Venture’s Riley Creek or Livingstone mines to be viable, and if you apply current tin, tungsten, iron and copper prices to the Venture Minerals’ business case, then investors can expect a return on investment below the rate you would receive from a guaranteed term deposit at your local bank. Investors are walking away from these projects because they just don’t stack up”.

“If we want the community and policy makers to truly value tourism as an industry, we need to challenge the way we see tourism jobs, and start recognising that accommodation, restaurants and public toilets needs plumbers – plumbers are tourism jobs. Rental cars, buses and delivery trucks need mechanics – mechanics are tourism jobs. Farmer and fine food and beverage producers are essential to the success of the tourism sector – farmers are tourism jobs”.

Bob Brown spoke of the appeal of the Tarkine.

“The Tarkine is one of the world’s most desirable wild places. The big problem for the Tarkine will be managing the thousands of people who want to visit it. Our first task is to protect it”, said Dr Brown.

Adam Thompson
Adam Thompson

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s Adam Thompson spoke of the value of tarkanya (Tarkine) to Aboriginal people, and their hopes to see it protected and returned to Aboriginal ownership and management.

“It has been recognised that Aboriginal tourism opportunities exist and although commercial tourism has never been high on our agenda in the past, we see it as an opportunity that can contribute to our goal of being economically independent from government. We also see tourism as a way to generate the income necessary to fund our land management and heritage monitoring and protection activities”, said Mr Thompson.

Save the Tarkine and Bob Brown Foundation acknowledge that the meeting took place on Aboriginal land, and pay respect to the palawa people, and to the Elders past and present.

For more information or comment:

Scott Jordan, Save the Tarkine, 0428300324

Jenny Weber, Bob Brown Foundation, 0427366929

Adam Thompson, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, 0429862653


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