A story in today’s (Wednesday’s) Mercury covering Braddon Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley’s complaints about global retailer Patagonia’s film on the Tarkine went without comment from the Bob Brown Foundation.
However, in reply, Bob Brown says the Liberals’ Whiteley is a product of last century thinking who doesn’t know the Tarkine and has his facts wrong.
• The Tarkine has large tracts of pristine forest, not least the largest temperate rainforest in Australia. The Whiteley/Hodgman/Liberals contention that these are not pristine is demonstrably wrong. The film highlights logging and mining in non-pristine, devastated parts of the Tarkine.
• Patagonia and the Bob Brown Foundation, advocating a Trans Tarkine Track, want the Tarkine protected as a future drawcard for people from around the world. It is the Hodgman government which, as the film shows, has put in locked gates to keep the public out of the forests it is clearfelling and fire-bombing.
• The Liberals’ complaint that the film is ‘one-sided’ is silly and of their own making. Their Minister for Forests, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania and logging recipient Ta Ann turned down invitations to take part.
• Last Friday Premier Hodgman pulled out of a long-arranged meeting with senior figures from the US company and its Australian operations 30 minutes before the meeting was due.
• World Heritage status for the Tarkine would create more jobs than logging or mining. ‘Just as the protection of the Franklin and Gordon Rivers from damming is now a wellspring of jobs and business in Strahan and Queenstown, so saving the Tarkine will be to Smithton, Waratah and Burnie. But the same negative knockers who were shouting down protection of the rivers are now trying to shout down saving the Tarkine,’ Brown said.
• The film is going on show across the USA and will be screened in Hobart at the Friends School on Saturday 23 June.
• Brown has issued a public invitation to take Whiteley for an extended walk in the pristine rainforest which Whiteley says does not exist.