31 January 2012
Environment Minister Tony Burke has the opportunity to show he will act to protect the environment when it counts not just when it would score political points, by emergency heritage listing pristine Cape York, said the Greens today.
“Minister Burke has just announced protection for Victoria’s heritage listed Alpine National Park today, against the wishes of the state Liberal government, yet he refused to continue the emergency heritage listing of Labor-held Tasmania’s Tarkine forest last December,” said Greens’ spokesperson for world heritage, Senator Larissa Waters.
“He has another chance to show whether he is for protecting the environment or simply scoring political points, by acting to protect Labor-held Queensland’s Cape York from the rash of mining proposals which threaten to undermine its future world heritage listing.
“Cape York is one of the world’s last remaining intact wilderness areas with great potential for an indigenous conservation economy, and yet six new mining proposals with associated ports, massive land clearing, dams and vast road networks threaten its natural and cultural values.
“No sensible Environment Minister would allow their commitment to protect the Cape through national and world heritage listing to be undermined, by allowing damaging mining proposals to sneak through while the heritage values of the Cape are still being determined.
“Minister Burke says that emergency heritage listings are rare, but that’s because he’s only made one, and the Cape is the perfect example of when he should act to avoid destruction of the very heritage values he has promised to protect,” said Senator Waters.
Media contact: Dominic Jarvis 0419 626 725