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Liberals, Labor & Lambie turn back on Aboriginal cultural heritage

Media Release
Nick McKim 12 Sep 2017

The Liberals, Labor and Jacqui Lambie have voted down a Greens motion to defend the priceless Aboriginal cultural heritage in the takayna/Tarkine against the Tasmanian Government's senseless vandalism.

"It is deeply disappointing that all Tasmanian Labor Senators and Senator Lambie chose to ignore the huge damage that will be done if the tracks in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area are reopened," Greens Senator for Tasmania Nick McKim said.

"These are globally significant areas that need to be protected against hooning - both legal and illegal."

"This is a slap in the face to Tasmania's Aboriginal community."

The full motion, moved by Senator McKim and Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, read:

That the Senate—

  1. notes that:
    1. the Arthur Pieman Conservation area in the takayna/Tarkine region of Tasmania has globally-significant Aboriginal cultural heritage values,
    2. 15 recreational vehicle tracks in the area have been closed since 2012 to protect the cultural heritage values of the site,
    3. this decision was upheld by the Federal Court after the Tasmanian government tried to reopen three of the tracks in 2014,
    4. despite the ban, there has been ongoing damage to these sensitive areas by illegal and reckless drivers of off-road vehicles,
    5. the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and other Aboriginal groups oppose the tracks being reopened,
    6. the Tasmanian government has applied to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for approval to reopen tracks 501, 503 and 601 under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 [Cth], and
    7. the Tasmanian government has failed to consult with the Aboriginal community prior to making the application;
  2. agrees that:
    1. any reopening of the tracks would inevitably lead to more damage to environmental and cultural heritage values, and
    2. it is grossly culturally insensitive for the Commonwealth to even consider the Tasmanian government’s application, while flagging increased penalties for interfering with European cultural history; and

calls on the Commonwealth Government to reject the Tasmanian government’s application to reopen the tracks.

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