Updated: September 11, 2012
The Tarkine wilderness – too special to mine
Mining booms come and go, but their scars can last forever. Not all of these scars are immediately evident though – some can take years or decades to surface, effectively setting off a chain reaction that can never be reversed. Pristine wilderness slowly decays, habitat is lost, and species become extinct.
Case in point: The World Heritage quality Tarkine Wilderness and its vulnerability to highly destructive strip and open-cut mining developments.
The extraordinary Tarkine is one of those places that can change you as a person. It’s a living, breathing thing. A giver of life and an inspiration to all who visit its ancient Gondwanic rainforests and experience the sights and smells of a world unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. Quite simply, the Tarkine is one of the most significant remaining tracts of temperate rainforest left in the world.
Recently, the Australian Workers’ Union has been campaigning to promote mining in this globally important conservation area. The Wilderness Society Tasmania's Tarkine campaigner, Liz Johnstone responded with her take on the issue.
“There are many reports, recommendations and research that clearly recognise the Tarkine’s unique National and World Heritage quality based on significant environmental and cultural values that are directly threatened by these new mining proposals.
“In today’s world, strip and open cut mines are simply not compatible with protecting threatened species like the Tasmanian Devil, safeguarding ancient cultural values, securing pristine waterways and maintaining wilderness areas.
The Australian Heritage council, the World Heritage expert from the Government initiated Independent Verification Group, and others have officially recognised the national and global importance of the Tarkine area.
Yet, here we are, staring down the barrel of the Tarkine’s destruction. It’s just not good enough.
“The reality is that many of the mine proposals in the Tarkine are located in pristine areas that are already protected in reserves that have loopholes to specifically allow mining” said Vica Bayley, Tasmanian Campaign Manager for the Wilderness Society. “Others rely on destroying pristine rainforest that many across Tasmania’s community have worked for decades to see properly protected.
“While fly-in fly-out campaigners such as the AWU want to hook Tasmania’s future to the mining boom it places us all at serious risk of the inevitable bust. Reliance on one big industrial saviour has repeatedly failed Tasmania in the past.”
“The mining industry needs to realise that Tasmania’s future rests with properly protecting and respecting its environment and opening up new regional economic opportunities that diversify regional economies,” added Vica.
Tasmania is well placed to take advantage of the benefits that come along with environmental reform and a green economy. This inevitable sustainable future will go a long way to protecting globally significant environments like the Tarkine while setting up new opportunities for communities. We’ve certainly got the will – all we need is the support.
You can help directly by telling mining companies to stay out of the Tarkine. Sign our online petition to make your voice heard. Together we can make a difference!
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc
130 Davey Street, TAS, 7000 Australia
Phone: (03) 6224 1550 | Fax: (03) 6223 5112