TASMANIA’S Tarkine wilderness is set for a Franklin Dam-style showdown after talks between green groups and unions over disputed mining projects collapsed yesterday.

A 90-minute meeting in Sydney between delegates led by Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes and Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson ended with each side accusing the other of being unwilling to compromise.

Scott Jordan, of the Tarkine National Coalition, part of the conservationist delegation, said his group had little option left but ”direct action”.

He said he ”absolutely” stood by previous remarks he has made warning of Franklin Dam-style blockades of mining projects in the area in north-west Tasmania.

The stoush ups the stakes for Environment Minister Tony Burke, who is at present considering parts of the area for heritage protection.

Mr Howes’ delegation proposed to the conservationists that, as an act of good faith,

they drop their protests against an iron-ore project by Venture Minerals, which could begin work as early as the start of next year.

Mr Jordan said this mine, and two other planned projects of the company, were the Tarkine group’s biggest concern in the area.

”You can’t give up your worst-case scenario as an act of good faith,” he said. ”It was clearly not an offer they thought we could seriously accept.”

Mr Howes told The Age there was no point in further talks.

Read more:

• Groundswell: No new mines in the Tarkine

Groundswell is a grassroots community based direct action organisation, advocating for the protection of Tasmania’s natural environment. We recently mobilised driven by two principle concerns; the imminent mining and logging of the Tarkine in North West Tasmania and the destruction of Tasmanian forests after the eroded Intergovernmental Agreement failed to produce any lasting formal forest protection.

Most recently we have been active in the Tarkine region, inciting conversation about the unacceptable and detrimental effects that mining will have in an area of recognised national heritage and ecological significance. We want to see….


To promote Tasmania’s natural environment Groundswell have initiated an awareness raising campaign, employing Non Violent Direct Action tactics and applying our skills as alternative media curators, to reach people with our message and inspire others to take action into their own hands.

We appreciate every group member, as the more people there are, the more we can do to protect our wild places, habitat, and ecosystems for the future.

Please feel free to come to our meetings, and events, gatherings and workshops, ranging from climb training to banner painting. Come and meet the other crew and be part of an inclusive and consensus based community movement.

‘Like’ us on … Facebook Groundswell Tasmania… follow us and keep informed.

For more information and to get more involved, please contact us at

Thanks for your support,

Groundswell Tasmania

T-shirts are $15 , all funds raised go directly for resources and putting on events to advocate for Tasmania’s wild places