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Federal Government Must Intervene at Brighton

Media Release
Christine Milne 7 Aug 2010

"The Brighton Bypass fiasco demonstrates that Tasmania's indigenous heritage in the lower Jordan valley is not valued or respected at the state level and so the federal Government must intervene to stop the work whilst the alternative routes are assessed, "Senator Christine Milne, Australian Greens Deputy leader said today.

"All Tasmanian should be celebrating the discovery of a cultural site at the Jordan River levee which reveals continuous settlement for 42,000 years. It is not just a wonderful site for Tasmania, it is of significance to the world because it provides insight into what life was like for hunter gatherer communities 42,000 years ago and through the ages."

"Protection and proper interpretation of the site should be the first priority, not excuses about how much it will cost to fix the mistakes of the Tasmanian government."

"There will be a cost in re routing the road and responsibility for that should be sheeted home fairly and squarely to the Tasmanian government and the incompetence of its departments in building a road before it had assessments, approvals and permits. Why should we all suffer the loss of our precious heritage because of government incompetence?"

Minister Garrett must come to Tasmania before the election and make clear the Commonwealth's position since he has had a heritage listing application on his desk for weeks."

"In a week when we have secured a World Heritage Listing of the convict sites because they are of "outstanding universal value," what does it say about us as Tasmanians if we don't stop the road works whilst alternative routes are investigated?"

"In the late 1800's Port Arthur was allowed to fall into disrepair and as recently as 1989, there was no protection of the Coal Mines site because they were not valued, now they are on the world's list of special places."

"It is fundamentally wrong that 3 million Aboriginal artefacts aged up to 42,000 years old should not be protected by our heritage laws because indigenous heritage is specifically excluded."

"Heritage is a window to our past, and the Indigenous community of Tasmania have just had theirs smashed thanks to the state's Heritage Act which discriminates against the protection of indigenous heritage sites."

Senator Milne attended the launch of a campaign to save Lower Jordan Valley Aboriginal heritage at the Parliament House lawns in Hobart today.

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