Tony Burke's National Press Club speech today in which he outlined his intention to consider the heritage listing of many sites throughout Australia was incomplete without mention of the Tarkine region, Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said.
"How can the Environment Minister stand in front of our national broadcaster and say that on one hand we must add a layer of environmental protection that acts well in advance of searching for endangered species, whilst on the other hand denying the Tarkine any immediate protection from the current Tasmanian mining rush"
"The Tarkine has already been shown to hold World Heritage values, and it already has an identified population of the only disease free devils left in Tasmania as well as many other endangered species. Why then has it been omitted from the Minister's list?
"Minister Burke proudly announced in his response to the Hawke review of the EPBC Act that recognising ecosystems of national significance would now be added to the list of federal intervention triggers.
"This means that an ecosystem must be proven to have an overall significant function, rather than a singular focus on species and ecological communities.
"The Tarkine is already identified as an ecosystem of national significance with the largest tract of temperate rainforest in the Southern Hemisphere and a karst system recognised for its global significance."
"With nine new mine proposals and 56 active mining exploration licenses currently granted, the Minister must recognise the adverse impacts this will have on the overall Tarkine ecosystem."
"The Minister's focus on certainty for developers and deliberate avoidance of any mention of the Tarkine in the context of ecosystem protection must put all Tasmanians on alert that this region remains at high risk of destruction."