Updated: February 24, 2013
Australians share the love on ValenTarkine's Day
Less than a fortnight after Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke’s bizarre decision to ignore protection for the beautiful Tarkine wilderness in north-west Tasmania, concerned Australians gathered around the nation on the first ValenTarkine's Day to express their love for this spectacular corner of the country.
Tarkine Community Campaigner in Victoria, Kevisato Sanyu, says the support on the day was overwhelming and the messages of love are still pouring in.
"It is clear that the campaign to protect the Tarkine is not only living in the hearts of Tasmanians, it also resonates with thousands of people across this country," said Kevisato.
"From the number of photos, signatures, and messages of support we've received, there's a lot of love out there for the Tarkine."
ValenTarkine's messages streamed in from all over Australia and around the world, including as far away as an Emperor Penguin colony on Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean!
The Tarkine contains the Southern Hemisphere's largest tract of temperate rainforest, yet despite the expert advice of the Australian Heritage Council to formally list more than 430,000 hectares of the Tarkine for protection, Minister Burke will list less than four per cent of the region based on cultural values alone. While this is a great thing for protecting the incredible Indigenous heritage along the Tarkine's beautiful coastline, it still ignores the overwhelming evidence of the obvious outstanding natural values.
Even pro-mining groups have come out and stated that they would’ve accepted a more balanced decision with greater wilderness protection included.
This decision is the clearest indication yet from the federal government of their intentions to favour the mining industry over a long-term sustainable ecotourism industry operating in and around the Tarkine. Many ecotourism operators are now in limbo and putting expansion plans on hold as mining takes over. There are currently over nine open cut mine proposals across this region and close to 60 exploration licenses in effect.
Liz Johnstone, our Tarkine Campaigner in Tasmania says the natural values of the Tarkine are clear.
“The natural values of the Tarkine have long been studied and repeatedly recommended for National and World Heritage significance.
“Mining, including open cut mines in existing conservation reserves, threaten to fragment the Tarkine and seriously impact on those heritage values, including habitat for our endangered state icon, the Tasmanian Devil.
“People love the Tarkine and will always stand up to protect it. On ValenTarkine's Day, people all around Australia highlighted the incredible values of the area and the Federal Government’s refusal to protect them,” said Liz.
From the thousands of photos and messages of support collected on the day, we’re going to collate a virtual scrapbook and send it directly to Minister Burke. Hopefully some of the love will rub off on him too.
We won’t rest until the Tarkine gets the protection it deserves, this is far from over!
Sign up for our special Tarkine updates for all the latest developments
See a selection the best photos from the day
Make a tax deductible donation to the Wilderness Society today and help us fight this atrocious decision
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc
130 Davey Street, TAS, 7000 Australia
Phone: (03) 6224 1550 | Fax: (03) 6223 5112