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The Case to Change has No Merit

Opinion piece by Ray Mostogl, published in The Mercury on Tuesday June 20


The case to change has no merit.

Hats off to the clever marketing campaign by the BBF and other conservationists to portray a mythical location into what some would believe must be a wonderful pristine piece of paradise which must be locked up before it is spoiled by plunderers of earth’s natural resources.

The so called Tarkine tag was used in the 2013 failed attempt to list it on the National Heritage list. At that stage, the Tarkine was 403,000 hectares (I guess ten years of CPI has seen that increase). The federal Minister at the time, Mr Tony Burke upon visiting a variety of locations in the Arthur Pieman Reserve (official name) “Visiting legacy mine sites in the Tarkine, had conflicted with ‘nothing but rainforest’ impression.”

There are many people in Tasmania who have generations of family members who lived and worked the land in the Arthur Pieman Reserve and must cringe when the area is portrayed falsely as pristine and untouched. Those same families would acknowledge there are stands of outstanding biodiversity – and these locations make wonderful backdrops for photos. But there are numerous other different scenes to be considered.

I know this to be true after having spent some time with a representative of one of those families – who has researched and collated hundreds of pages outlining many land use examples throughout the Arthur Pieman Reserve.

The point is the land has been used to support human existence for tens of thousands of years. Whether that is the first nations people or in the last 200 years, miners, foresters, agriculture, and hunters. Even ChatGPT knows the area is not pristine – try this for yourself, type in, “Is it accurate to call the Tarkine pristine?”

Putting aside claims and counterclaims, surely, we can say it is nothing short of remarkable the Arthur Pieman Reserve is and can continue to be an excellent example of multi-use. If we as a state can legitimately claim the area has areas of outstanding biodiversity, surrounded by historical, current, and potentially future modern mine sites, roads, buildings and HV transmission lines all in one area then we have something to be proud of.

The current laws and regulations prove we can co-exist in the Arthur Pieman Reserve and support a range of outcomes with balance. The current case to change ignores facts.

This is a photo taken inside the Arthur Pieman Reserve. It highlights that while much of the area being labelled as Tarkine is pristine (and rightly protected), there are locations which have been disturbed by recent and historical human activity, and locations which have low value biodiversity. As such we need to keep the debate balanced and all land should be given the same considerations for sustainability, rehabilitation, flora and fauna.
This image is Natone Creek, just near Rosebery but not on the other side of the river that designates the Tarkine. This area put forward by campaigners as a better potential site for a tailings dam should be treated with just as much respect as any land use anywhere.