In take-out-the-trash week, Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has today announced the first step in the trashing of the world renowned Tarkine wilderness.
"We can now expect Minister Burke to approve several more mines, and excise their footprint from any Heritage listing, once again putting short term profits ahead of the long-term interests of the Tarkine and the communities who depend on it," Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Mining the Tarkine will create profits for a company outside Tasmania, employ only a few dozen people for a short time, and do terrible damage to the livelihoods of all those who depend on the Tarkine's beauty and the state's clean, green image for their business.
"National Heritage listing for the Tarkine, recommended by the Heritage Council, has been kicked from one Environment Minister to the next for the last decade and still Tony Burke has not moved to protect it, but, in a cynical pre-Christmas, bury the bad decisions move, has approved the Shree Minerals mine anyway.
"It was clear when Tony Burke allowed the Emergency Heritage listing of the Tarkine to lapse without consultation with the Heritage Council that he intended to prefer short-term mining over long-term conservation outcomes and that is precisely what he is doing.
"There are six threatened species on this site, including the wedge-tailed eagle, the spotted quoll and the Tasmanian devil, and there are 16 threatened species within a 5 km radius of the site.
"It's laughable to claim that conditions including ‘raising environmental awareness' amongst mine employees is going to save these threatened species when the open cut iron ore mine, which will be 1km long and 225m deep, is dug out.
"Under the EPBC draft guidelines, it was recommended that the company study the hydrological implications of its mine proposal on threatened vegetation, particularly orchids. It refused to do so, and the Minister has approved the mine anyway.
"With this decision following last night's announcement of cutting foreign aid to pay for cruel treatment of refugees, you have to wonder what tomorrow holds."
Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson, said "It doesn't matter how many ‘conditions' you place on this, it's still going to destroy the region's wilderness values and threatens the potential for other more long-term economic activity such as tourism."