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Press conference: Tasmania becomes 15th National Landscape

Senator Christine Milne addressed the press to respond to environment minister Tony Burke's announcement that Tasmania would become the 15th National Landscape




Subjects:  National Landscape, Tarkine

JOURNALIST: What's your reaction to the news today by Tony Burke that Tasmania, most of Tasmania's been added as the 15th National Landscape ?

CHRISTINE MILNE: Look I'm really pleased that Tasmania has been recognised for the fantastic natural area that it is and that it's going to be our 15th National Landscape. However it's now incumbent upon Minister Burke to protect the Tarkine. You simply cannot go out there with a brand Tasmania which says look, this state is a fabulous natural landscape and then turn around and allow the destruction of an area which you've already been told and advised at the highest level has both cultural and natural heritage significance and ought to be listed as such. This clearly puts into context the campaign by Paul Howes and others to try and end any suggestion that we protect the Tarkine. Either we go with a strategy which says that Tasmania's brand of clean, green and clever depends on listing us as a natural landscape, gives us a push into the international community, or you go with the thing that says no we're going to trash the brand, we're going to go with short-term mining interests and we don't care about the longer term. This is the time to choose, this is the time when Minister Burke cannot any longer get away with a strategy on the one hand of saying, great let's have a brand and tourism promotion exercise of a national natural landscape and on the other hand not protect the Tarkine for its cultural and high conservation values.

JOURNALIST: Therefore you still don't accept that mining can coexist with other elements in the Tarkine?

CHRISTINE MILNE: Federal politicians have been grappling with the Tarkine for last decade, it has been flipped past from one environment minister to the next, every single time they say they're going to go back and do more assessment. Every time that assessment turns up with even greater cultural and natural heritage values. The Tarkine is a fantastic area, it would give the north-west coast such a boost in the context of now being part of the 15th national natural landscape but instead of that we've got a minister who wants to go with the tourism and brand of nature and on the other hand not prepared to protect it. We simply can't have that, let's have some authenticity here, let's have brand Tasmania which really is a celebration of our wonderful environment, of our world heritage area, and let's protect the Tarkine and our forest at the same time.

JOURNALIST: Three Capes Track has been opened again today as well, another boost for tourism in the state, therefore what do you think about that as it's being celebrated for its environmental effects and impacts or the fact that those impacts are low, what is your reaction to the opening of that today?

CHRISTINE MILNE: The Tasman Peninsula is a really beautiful part of Tasmania, it's somewhere that we've been proud of for a long time because of its fantastic coastal vistas. I think it's terrific that we have an investment in new walking track infrastructure. There are still issues though about the level of accommodation that's going to be provided in the area because we want to make sure that local businesses actually benefit, that we have actually a win-win, that is new opportunities, new experiences in the landscape, but actually supporting and growing local businesses



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