The discovery of Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease on a previously healthy devil in the state's North-West means the Federal Environment Minister can no longer delay his decision on heritage listing the Tarkine, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.
"Alarm bells have now moved on to death knells as the transmissible cancer looks to have crossed the Murchison Highway and now stands on the doorstep of the devil's final stronghold in the Tarkine.
"It is now up to the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke to immediately implement emergency heritage listing the Tarkine as an interim measure whilst permanent heritage listing is organised.
"Without this level of protection, the disease will be offered a free ride into the Tarkine as forestry and mining activities threaten healthy populations through offering arterial access to infected devils.
"Just last week, Venture Minerals delivered to the government their application to operate an open cut mine within the Tarkine. The proposed disturbance area for this mine is roughly the size of 420 MCGs and deeper than the Telstra Tower.
"This is just one application of ten new mining proposals currently before the Minister, which together with the 56 active mining exploration licenses currently granted, will pose a serious threat for the survival of this iconic Tasmanian marsupial.
"It is known that devils congregate in areas where large amounts of carrion occur, such as roadsides and baited forest coupes. Research has shown in these instances the disease can spread rapidly through increased facial biting brought on by competition for food.
"Opening up the Tarkine to environmentally destructive Pilbara-style open cut mines will riddle the region with death-traps and disease for our last healthy population of devils.
"If Minister Burke fails to act immediately on the urgent heritage listing of the Tarkine he may well be the man in government who oversees the extinction of devils in the wild."