Environment

May 10, 2012

Minister’s Tarkine decision a threat to Tassie devil

Tony Burke is expected to decide whether two further components of Venture Mineral’s mining plans for the southern Tarkine require formal approval, write Deb Wilkinson and Andrew Macintosh from ANU.

Environment Minister Tony Burke this week is expected to decide whether two further components of Venture Mineral’s mining plans for the southern Tarkine require formal approval under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC act).

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5 thoughts on “Minister’s Tarkine decision a threat to Tassie devil

  1. Microseris

    Burke’s response on this issue will highlight whether there is any material difference between the Labor and the Coal ilition on environment policy or whether it is only our perception.

  2. Kevin Bonham

    (following as submitted to Comments, clarifications etc)

    In their article on mining proposals in the Tarkine as a supposed threat to Tasmanian devils, Deb Wilkinson and Andrew Macintosh refer to “the fact that the Tarkine is the last remaining stronghold of disease-free devils.” Actually, no matter how many times that mantra is repeated, it isn’t fact. Firstly, large areas of western Tasmania outside the Tarkine – and not just wilderness areas that are seldom visited – are currently free of any known records of Devil Facial Tumour diseased devils. While this does not prove there are no diseased devils in such areas, it is even more doubtful whether devils in the Tarkine are in fact all disease-free. For instance, in February a CODE Green video purportedly showing a diseased devil “near a proposed mine site in the Tarkine” was released by Senator Milne. (see http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-24/parks-investigates-diseased-tarkine-devil-claim/3851518 )

    Surely if a movement has been using the area’s disease-free status as an argument for its protection, and evidence appears that that argument is possibly false, then it is time for that movement to admit that the case for protecting the area based on the devil is weakened. Not so for Senator Milne, who was happy to switch from arguing that the absence of disease justified protecting the area to arguing that the presence of disease justified protecting the area. And indeed, such instrumental uses of the Tasmanian devil as a trump card to attempt to achieve political goals, completely irrespective of the facts, have been rife ever since it was listed as threatened.

  3. Peter

    Burke has a coalition-worthy record. Remember his role as protector of the cruel live export trade, for instance. If there’s a buck to be made out of destroying a wildlife refuge, he’ll happily assist the miners even while they’re campaigning to have his party removed from office.

  4. Peter

    So Kevin – if you can introduce doubt, that’s good enough to go ahead and bugger up another flora/fauna refuge.

    I guess it’s a predictable and proven strategy – it’s already served right-wing politics and their wealthy masters well in preventing action on carbon emissions.

  5. Kevin Bonham

    Peter, I’m not writing to necessarily support any kind of mining or other impact in the Tarkine, just to point out that the devil-based arguments against it are unsound, and to express a wish that opponents of mining would base their case on sounder arguments if they can find any.

    The disease spreads through all land tenures and all management styles and doesn’t give a hoot about human-declared reserve boundaries. The big doubt is whether it will be as pervasive in the west of the state as in the east and the main reason for that doubt is genetic differences between devil populations. If it is going to be as pervasive then it will soon be all over the Tarkine no matter what decisions are taken on managing the area now, and there is nothing that anyone can do about that. If not, then it is unlikely that the addition of the odd road or mine to areas already riddled with logging roads is going to make a great difference to its impact.

    I’ve had a lot more comments about this on various devil threads on Tasmanian Times.

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