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Milne calls for immediate Tarkine listing

The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke must heed the advice of the Heritage Council and immediately protect the Tarkine from future threats, says Australian Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne.

"No area in Australia has been assessed, reassessed and then reassessed again as has occurred with the Tarkine heritage assessment with more than six delays since 2004 and a lapsed emergency listing.

"It seems that current and past environment ministers dither and call for more consultation despite being presented with the facts and the community needs to ask ,why?

"The report on Minister Burke's desk says the Tarkine is one of the most remarkable natural areas in Australia, with the nation's largest tract of rainforest containing more than 50 rare and threatened plant and animal species. It has a globally unique magnesite karst system and is quoted as being one of the world's greatest archaeological sites.

"The Heritage Council is charged with assessing whether the area meets the criteria for heritage listing. As ANU environmental lawyer Andrew Macintosh said, the Heritage Council's job is not to horse-trade with interest groups.

"The Tarkine either has heritage values or not, and the evidence is in, Minister Burke: the Tarkine has the heritage values that make it worthy of listing, but it seems that government ministers do not have the commitment to act, or the political will to do so in the face of mining interests.

"Stop dithering Minister Burke; make the decision to list the Tarkine because delay is effectively a decision not to protect this magnificent Tasmanian wilderness.

"Delay enables the mining proposals to be assessed without consideration of heritage values whilst allowing government ministers to escape the odium or responsibility for permitting the destruction of the Tarkine."

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