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Evidence of off road motorists joyriding over middens protected by fences and signs in Tasmania's Tarkine

Video & Multimedia
Peter Whish-Wilson 3 Jun 2015

Off-road motorists are taking down protective fences to ride roughshod over Aboriginal middens. Video evidence gathered by Senator Whish-Wilson has revealed that some motorists are not just continuing to flout the law by using banned tracks in the 100,000-hectare Arthur Pieman Conservation Area, they are joyriding over middens protected by fences and signs.

The Greens senator flew over the area on Tasmania's north-west coast looking for evidence of illegal access to banned tracks. While he saw no vehicles during the flyover, he found fresh tracks.

"We saw evidence of continued damage to both the tracks leading into the Sandy Cape area," Senator Whish-Wilson said.

"And we saw what looked like deliberate vandalism of areas of cultural significance to the Aboriginal community that had been fenced off.

"The fences are there to prevent anyone from accessing specifically the dunes at Ordinance Bay, which is the largest midden site in the world, and those fences have been ripped down.

"The entire midden site has been criss-crossed with four-wheel-drive tracks.

The Hodgman Government's bid to upgrade and reopen the tracks was halted after the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre lodged Federal Court appeal and won an interim injunction. The case is due to be heard in August but a ban on using the tracks has stood until a court decision rules otherwise.

Senator Whish-Wilson, who was accompanied by Jarrod Edwards from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, says the Tasmanian Government is ignoring the problem.

"While Will Hodgman turns a blind eye to policing this area, while no people are being fined for this kind of transgression, we essentially have state-sponsored vandalism of our precious cultural heritage in Tasmania," he concluded.

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