nipaluna debate exposes takayna tracks double standards on reconciliation

The intervention of Premier Will Hodgman in the debate over the dual naming of nipaluna/Hobart demonstrates a breathtaking hypocrisy over reconciliation and the actions of his government to bulldoze ahead with plans to build 4WD tracks across Aboriginal heritage on the takayna coast, against the Aboriginal community’s wishes and in the face of two Federal Court losses.

Premier Hodman is quoted as saying, “I am concerned that there are sections of the Aboriginal community who do not support such a thing [as dual naming nipaluna/Hobart] so if we’re to talk about advancing reconciliation you would hope that would come from a starting point where the Aboriginal communities themselves are in agreement.”

“Premier Hodgman should be reminded that a broad cross-section of the Aboriginal community expressly opposed his plans to build 4WD tracks across Aboriginal heritage on the takayna coast, including laying rubber mats over Aboriginal middens so vehicles can drive over them,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

“As a white Tasmanian who desperately seeks progress on reconciliation, I am dismayed and disgusted by this double standard and lack of leadership.

“What this demonstrates is that Mr Hodgman thinks it’s okay to destroy Aboriginal heritage on the takayna coast despite overwhelming Aboriginal opposition, including by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre who took him to the Federal Court, but dual naming nipaluna/Hobart can’t happen unless there’s consensus across the Aboriginal groups. This politically motivated hypocrisy is breathtaking."

During the recent state election campaign, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre called-out Premier Hodgman’s betrayal of reconciliation with a TV ad in their own language that highlighted the takayna tracks and called for leadership. In response, Premier Hodgman offloaded the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio to insulate himself from criticism.

“As Reconciliation Week wraps up, Premier Hodgman could make a simple, tangible step in the right direction and drop the politically motivated plan to expand destructive 4WD tracks on the takayna coast.”