Drop plans to open off-road vehicle tracks on takayna / Tarkine coast

Media Release 16 September 2016

Midden destruction. Photo: Chris Crerar

Bob Brown Foundation has called on the State Government to abandon plans to re-open off-road vehicle tracks in takayna / Tarkine, following the Full Court of the Federal Court handing down its judgement in the Tasmania Government’s appeal.

“This debacle has gone on long enough, the Government should drop its project and keep this treasure trove of Aboriginal heritage on the takayna / Tarkine coast protected,” Bob Brown said.

“Tasmania’s taxpayers are paying dearly for a petty piece of political obstinacy – in refusing to ask the Federal Environment Minister to tick off its plans to open the tracks in takayna / Tarkine,” Bob Brown said.

Jenny Weber
0427 366 929

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Three State Leaders Invited to Speak at Public meeting to Save Macquarie Island Base

Media Release 16 September 2016


The three state political leaders have been asked to speak at the Hobart Town Hall meeting to Save Macquarie Island base, as well as scientists with experience in Macquarie Island, as the campaign grows to save the base from closure.

"The more scientists reveal about the importance of Macquarie Island base, the more the public can see what a disaster it will be in so many ways if closed," Bob Brown said.

Save Macquarie Island Base
Public Meeting
Hobart Town Hall
Wednesday 21 September 2016
1:10pm - 2pm

Contact Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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Campaign to save Macquarie Island base gets into gear

Media Release 14 September 2016


A Town Hall meeting calling for Macquarie Island Antarctic base to be retained and renewed will be held in Hobart next Wednesday, lunchtime.

The Bob Brown Foundation is hosting the public meeting and will have a range of speakers backing the base and in support of protecting the Macquarie Island World Heritage Area including its large marine protected area.

Speakers from across the political spectrum as well as experienced Macquarie Island expeditioners and scientists are being invited.

“At a time of rapidly rising tourism pressure, illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean and potential for re-introduction of pests threatening some of the world’s largest wildlife colonies, the need for the base is greater not less than before,” Bob Brown said today.

The Macquarie Island base was first established by Sir Douglas Mawson in 1911 as a radio base for attempts to reach the South Pole.

Jenny Weber
0427 366 929


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Call on Tasmanian Government to protect Swift Parrot habitat in secure reserves

Media Release 13 September 2016

Swift Parrot. Photo: Henry Cook


The Bob Brown Foundation has called on the Tasmanian Government to declare secure reserves for all Swift Parrot habitat on public lands in Tasmania as one step to saving the critically endangered parrot from extinction. Conservationists will conduct their monthly Swift Parrot demonstration on Hobart’s parliament lawns today to coincide with the Tasmanian Parliament sitting.

“As the critically endangered Swift Parrots return to Tasmania’s native forests the Tasmanian Government could welcome them by declaring secure protection for all their habitat. Declaration of securely protected reserves on Bruny Island, in the southern forests and Wielangta would help save these critically endangered species. On Bruny Island for example, expanding South Bruny Island National Park to include all the unprotected forests surrounding the Park, can protect critical habitat for the Swift Parrot and remove the temporary stay of execution,” Jenny Weber said.

“Premier Hodgman and Minister Groom have a choice; keep Swift Parrot habitat open for logging and send Swift Parrots to extinction or make a historic move and declare secure reserves for Swift Parrots,” Jenny Weber said.

“We are holding monthly demonstrations on Parliament Lawns with placards of the Swift Parrot to remind the Government that a critically endangered species needs a strong effort to protect it from extinction, including permanently end logging in Swift Parrot habitat,” Jenny Weber said.

Jenny Weber
0427 366 929

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Campaign calls for protection of Aboriginal Heritage in takayna / Tarkine as Federal Court Appeal looms

Media Release 15 Aug 2016


A successful launch of a new campaign to support the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in their fight to protect the Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural landscape in Tasmania’s north-west was held on Friday night in Hobart. More than 350 turned out to the Stanley Burbury Theatre for the launch of a new book titled: takayna – country, culture, spirit.

The new book is a collaboration between Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Bob Brown Foundation, the new book, website and film tells the story of Tasmanian Aborigines living cultural connection to the National Heritage listed, Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape in takayna / Tarkine, and the fight to protect it from Government sanctioned damage.

Launched alongside the book is a new website for community members to send emails to the Prime Minister and Tasmanian Premier, asking them to halt the opening of off-road vehicle tracks between Sandy Cape and Pieman River in takayna / Tarkine.

The book, takayna – country, culture, spirit is a collection of portraits by Matthew Newton, Jillian Mundy and Paul Hoelen of members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, a forward written by Heather Sculthorpe and moving essay by Sharnie Everett, landscape photographs by Rob Blakers and Peter Dombrovskis, and introduction by Bob Brown.

The Tasmanian government adopted a policy to reopen 90km of off-road vehicle tracks across the dunes and middens of the remote takayna / Tarkine coastline. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre took the Tasmanian government to court and won. Now both the Australian and Tasmanian government are appealing the March 2016 Federal Court ruling. The appeal is due to go before the Federal Court in Hobart on August 22 and 23.

See more about takayna – country, culture, spirit here.


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Call to improve efforts to save Swift Parrot from extinction

Media Release 7th September 2016


More can and should be done in Tasmania to try and ensure the survival of the Swift Parrot whose plight is being highlighted on National Threatened Species Day by the Bob Brown Foundation, Markets For Change, and the Environmental Defenders Office.

Newly fledged Swift Parrot. Photo: Elaine McDonald

Measures needed are:

  • Cease all logging in Swift Parrot breeding habitat
  • Regulate firewood cutting and step up measures to tackle illegal cutting in reserves
  • Finalise and implement a strong Recovery Plan for the species
  • Allocate adequate funding to efforts to ensure the survival of the Swift Parrot

“First and foremost the continued destruction of the Swift Parrot’s breeding habitat must cease,” said Jenny Weber for the Bob Brown Foundation.

“Forestry Tasmania has continued to schedule logging in the birds’ breeding habitat in the southern forests on the Tasmanian mainland, making only a limited effort with its temporary logging moratorium on Bruny Island.”

“Logging must end permanently in Swift Parrot breeding habitat, which comprises blue gums with nesting hollows together with foraging trees that they rely on for food.”

“When the Forest Stewardship Council found a major non-conformance with their standards in the way that Swift Parrot and other endangered species are dealt with in logging it was a key reason that FSC certification was not granted. This has yet to be satisfactorily rectified,” Ms Weber concluded.

“Recent destruction of nesting trees inside a reserve by illegal firewood cutters has also put the spotlight on the illegal, unlicenced and unregulated firewood trade, which must be hauled into line,” said Peg Putt, CEO of Markets For Change.

“Dry east coast firewood can come at the cost of species survival, something householders need to be careful about.”

“We need Tasmania to put in place some regulation of the firewood trade that is capable of preventing destruction of vital habitat and ensure that such destruction is not profitable,’ Ms Putt concluded.

“Despite its critically endangered listing, a revised Recovery Plan for the Swift Parrot has yet to be finalised. This must be a top priority to ensure more effective management of the threats,” said Jess Feehely of the Environmental Defenders Office.

“Strong, targeted action is needed by both the State and Federal Governments and to prevent extinction of the species,” Ms Feehely concluded.

For information about law reform actions to provide better protection for critically endangered species, read the EDO Tasmania / Bob Brown Foundation report, Critically Endangered:  Under Protected


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Wattle Day Speech 2016

Media Release 1st September 2016


Bob Brown calls for memorial of invasion, new flag and national day.

Former Greens Leader Bob Brown has called for the nation to build an exhibition centre in or near Canberra to display the impact on Indigenous Australians of the two centuries since the British invasion.

“Australia will inevitably come to better terms with the disaster which overtook the ancient occupiers of this land. We will mature as a nation when we have a dedicated place where all Australians can go to see and experience the unembellished facts of the dispossession of First Australians from so much of their land and culture.”

The Bob Brown Foundation is campaigning for the protection, World Heritage nomination and return to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community of the Tarkine wilderness in northwest Tasmania.

Brown also renewed the call for a new national flag which retains the Southern Cross but replaces the Union Jack with Australia's most internationally recognised symbol, the flying red kangarooo, as used by the Royal Australian Air Force.

He said that September 1st, Wattle Day, would be a good date for a new national day of celebration which Indigenous Australians could celebrate along with everyone else.

Bob Brown is giving the 11th Wattle Day speech in Parramatta today.

Media contact
Steven Chaffer 0408 855 261


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Bob Brown calls on Malcolm Turnbull to stop BP’s oil drilling plans in the Great Australian Bight



John Butler adds his voice to growing opposition to drilling for oil in Bight

Former Greens Leader Bob Brown today issued a challenge to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to step in and stop BP’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight after sailing through the Bight on board Sea Shepherd vessel MY Steve Irwin which has just docked for the first time in Adelaide’s port.

“Here’s a challenge for the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to intervene and keep the Great Australian Bight free of BP’s oil spill threat,” Dr Brown said.

“The Prime Minister should come and see what the Sea Shepherd has seen in the last month, just a trip to the head of the Bight to see the southern right whales and their calves in the nursery that would be destroyed by an oil spill.

“It’s very easy, all he would have to do is walk to the top of the cliffs of the Bight and there they are below you. His intervention would be defending a huge national marine park and South Australian wilderness areas.

“It should not be left to an agency, NOPSEMA, that does not have the national interest at heart. It’s a national asset of the state. He should be looking at the World Heritage values as part of this process. Go, Malcolm.

Renowned musician John Butler will board the MY Steve Irwin on Monday as it makes its way to Kangaroo Island and will headline a Bight campaign fundraiser at Port Adelaide’s Flour Shed tonight.

“I’m here to try to stop a company that has a notoriously bad reputation for the world’s largest oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico from bringing the world’s largest oil rig into the Great Australian Bight,” Mr Butler said.

“These waters are more remote, rough and deeper than the Gulf of Mexico. It’s not a matter of if but when there’s a major oil spill in the Bight.

“The Bight is one of the last great wild places on the planet, full of marine sanctuaries and endemic and endangered species and home to one of the world’s largest oil nurseries.

“Why risk all this on a company with such a horrible reputation and an industry that’s caused enough damage and is only adding to global warming?”

The Bight’s pristine waters are home to 36 species of whales and dolphins, including the world’s most important southern right whale nursery, as well as many humpback, sperm, blue and beak whales. The Bight also supports sea lions, seals, great white sharks, giant cuttlefish and migratory seabirds.

For more information, contact Sea Shepherd media adviser Adam Burling on 0409 472 922

Or Wilderness Society media adviser Alex Tibbitts on 0416 420 168


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Malcolm Turnbull's Maria Island praise should sink fish farm plan: Brown

Media Release 12 Aug 2016


Malcolm Turnbull's past promotion of World Heritage status for Maria Island's convict heritage at Darlington should, of itself, put paid to plans for industrialisation of Okehampton Bay and the Mercury Passage on Tasmania's east coast, Bob Brown said today.

Dr Brown has written to UNESCO pointing to Mr Turnbull's advocacy of Darlington, opposite Okehampton Bay. In 2007, when Australia's Minister for the Environment, he placed the Darlington convict heritage on Maria Island on the Australian National Heritage list, claiming that ‘with a natural environment setting that has few competing elements, the precinct possesses a rare sense of place.’

As Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull should insist this damaging proposal be subject to federal scrutiny under provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).

'The setting and precinct which is vital to an appreciation of the convict heritage on Maria Island would be degraded by fish farm industrialisation marring the view field toward mainland Tasmania, day and night,' Brown said today. His foundation is writing to UNESCO quoting the Prime Minister's previous accolade and citing Tassal's plans for fish farming as an ascertained and and potential danger to the World Heritage site which would be 'irrevocably compromised should the proposed industrial fish farm proceed'.

The Tasmanian government's decision to subject Tassal's proposal to review should be the plan's death knell, even though it has no community environmental representation. However, in making his announcement, Tasmanian minister Jeremy Rockliff backed more regional fish farms despite the despoiling impact they are having on marine, and coastal lifestyle, environmental and recreational values for regional communities in Tasmania. 'It was hardly the balanced announcement needed to reassure Tasmanians,' Brown said.

Media contact
Steven Chaffer  0408 855 261


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New book showcases threatened National Heritage Listed Aboriginal landscape in Tasmania

Media Release 10 August 2016


Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Bob Brown Foundation will launch a new book in Hobart this week, titled: takayna – country, culture, spirit. It is the story of Tasmanian Aborigines living cultural connection to the National Heritage listed, Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape in takayna / Tarkine, and the fight to protect it from Government sanctioned damage.

‘This new book is a moving call to action to protect one of the world’s most spectacular and culturally significant places. State and Federal Governments need to reverse plans to reopen the off-road vehicle tracks between Sandy Cape and Pieman Heads on takayna / Tarkine coast,’ Bob Brown Foundation’s campaign manager Jenny Weber said.

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