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Here we go again! – More smoke and mirrors, more assault on our wilderness areas.

The Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania has openly announced that seemingly the way ahead for development in the wilderness regions of our National Parks should be addressed by reviewing/modifying the Tasmanian National Parks and Reserve Management Act 2002.

Luke Martin from the TICT has claimed - “through a review of the legislation then that can provide a way for all stakeholders to contribute their perspectives”

Stakeholders hey Martin? – One only has to ponder with alarm on the referred term ‘stakeholders’.

Here’s the dictionary definition of a stakeholder, which hits the nail on the head when it comes to relating about developers’ vested interests within our wild places.

1 an independent party with whom each of those who make a wager deposits the money or counters wagered.

2 a person with an interest or concern in something, especially a business.

Luke Martin states - “I think all stakeholders in our parks acknowledge that it’s dealing with legislation that’s written in the 1970s and 1980s and it’s very convoluted.”

Convoluted Martin? – Obviously the current legislation is not convoluted enough as to give developers/stakeholders the free reign that TICT would advocate. Any review under the current Liberal State government is obviously seen by developers as a way ahead to capitalize and exploit our national parks and wilderness areas.

Apparently Luke Martin doesn’t know that The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970 was reviewed, that’s why it evolved into the Nature Conservation Act 2002, and the National Parks and Reserve Management Act 2002. It’s only been 14 years since there was a review.

Removing the term wilderness from any land management plan seems to be an objective for developers and government!

Here’s one of the TNPRM Act 2002 Objectives that developers would most likely want removed.

(j) to preserve the natural, primitive and remote character of wilderness areas.

Cultural Heritage

Given the Liberal government’s blatant disregard for cultural heritage (particularly in the Tarkine) then the only relative legislation that is outdated and needs to be reviewed is the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975.

Heather Sculthorpe from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Council says: “We’ve been urging a review of that for so long,” As far as community engagement goes: “They haven’t talked to us about our priorities, or how we can get land justice, nor indeed how we can protect Aboriginal heritage”.

It would seem the only convolution is the present dialogue between the Liberal government and the TAC. That’s how a ‘cart before the horse’ government operates.

Here’s what the present TNPRM Act 2002 Objectives state, though it doesn’t seem to be operable with the Liberal party’s agenda –

(d) to conserve sites or areas of cultural significance;

(i) to encourage cooperative management programs with Aboriginal people in areas of significance to them in a manner consistent with the purposes of reservation and the other management objectives;

A Government spokeswoman said the TICT submission would be considered in the context of the budget.

Say no More!

*Ted Mead has been campaigning for the preservation of Tasmania’s wilderness for over 35 years. Although it has become a lifetime commitment, he fully comprehends that having our natural areas protected from Bulldozers, Chainsaws and dam builders is only the first step. Defending our wild places from inappropriate and exploitative development seems to be the neo-paradigm of the foreseeable future!