Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Closing 4WD tracks important first step in permanent protection of takayna/Tarkine

*PICS: Matt Newton, http://www.matthewnewton.com.au/




*Pic: Heather Sculthorpe speaks to media after the court ruling

The Bob Brown Foundation welcomes today’s Federal Court decision that 4WD tracks on the takayna/Tarkine coast must remain closed and calls on State and Federal Governments to take real action to protect Aboriginal cultural values from illegal access.

“Today’s decision by the Federal Court that 4WD tracks along the takayna/Tarkine coast damage Aboriginal cultural values of the area is a welcome relief for the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, and indeed all Australians who want to see these cultural treasures protected”, the Foundation’s Jenny Weber said.

“Preventing off-road vehicles accessing the Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape, part of the National Heritage listing, will need policing by the State and Federal Governments. Even with an injunction in place there has been illegal use of these tracks and ongoing damage to Aboriginal heritage values.”

“The State Government has a responsibility to ensure the closure of these tracks is not ignored by lawless hoons, and must increase resources for National Parks rangers to bolster their tireless efforts to protect the values of the area.”

“We thank the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for taking this action with the Environmental Defenders Office in the Federal Court. Today’s decision is proof that standing up in the face of adversity and Government sanctioned vandalism of cultural and natural heritage is important.”

Our Foundation is campaigning for takayna/Tarkine to be protected as a National Park and World Heritage Area, to be returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The Tarkine is one of the world’s last great wild places, currently under pressure from logging, mining and off-road vehicle use.

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  1. Russell

    June 26, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Aiden, have you considered using some of the thousands of kilometres of disused mining and forestry tracks in Tasmania for your 4 wheel driving?

    They can be quite challenging and there are plenty of them, and you can’t trash them any more than they already are.

  2. Robin Charles Halton

    March 3, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Dear Editor,
    ref Mercury Thursday March 3rd page 12, there is an important media release including a map “Plea to stop track battle. Tours still go ahead after decision.

    Could you please include this relevant information with the article.

    Thank you from Rob Halton as a supporter of traditional recreation in a reasonable sense.

  3. S.

    March 2, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Could you please post the ruling by Fed Court. Most people commenting prob haven’t read it.
    Who is “the Aboriginal community”? What does “returned to the Aboriginal Community” mean? The people who are closest are the Circular Head community who the TAC doesn’t recognize as Aboriginal. Who is actually managing this area now and where are the existing 4WD tracks? What actual sites are people trying to protect from 4WDs. As a sceptic commenter said: what is shown is tracks in sand, not Aboriginal sites. The west coast is full of Aboriginal middens all along the coast as that’s where the people lived. Are all of them to be protected? Are 4wd drivers excluded from everything? Are non-Aborigines to be excluded from these areas if it is “returned to the Aboriginal community”? These are the issues that need to be addressed before white people rejoice about the TAC winning the case. The people who we have evidence of knowing most about how Aborigines lived in this area are GA Robinson and Ian Mcfarlane the historian who published a book about it. The Aboriginal middens are clear for all to see. They need to be protected, but why couldn’t there be 4WD tracks in the area, avoiding them too?
    People go fishing there, and holiday in shacks. How are they supposed to get there and get around if not in 4WDs?
    First of all, I’d like to see the judgment please Lindsay.

  4. Chris

    March 2, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    “So, a bunch of pissed inbred morons wrecking the scenery in Tonka Toys is Traditional Recreation?”

    Yep that’s it for sure.

    • aiden

      June 25, 2019 at 1:27 pm


      Aiden, obscenities contravene Tasmanian Times’ Code of Conduct.

      — Moderator

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    March 2, 2016 at 12:40 am

    The great social divide widens between those who claim to be the aboriginal community and the general public as access to PUBLIC LAND is removed to suit a few.
    Total denial for legitimate recreational vehicular usage will have unfortunate repercussions, that is for sure!

    As I clearly stated earlier, why wasnt the permit system introduced for PWS to administer and that would have solved the problem by introducing reasonable rules of engagement for recreationalists and maintaining 4×4 clubs with fair and reasonable off roading environmental ethics, their continuing right of access to PUBLIC LAND.

    The Federal Court ruling will only create further ill feeling dividing the Circular Head community further as a part of the attraction was the opportunity to visit the Tarkine Coast as a part of their initiative for attracting badly needed tourism activities in the region.

    I would imagine that the local Council and Chamber of Commerce will be up in arms over the Federal ruling being forced down their throats without sufficient broader public consultation.

  6. Doug Nichols

    March 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Re #13, I’m not across the facts you state,but I’m with you on the general gist Simon. Whether or not some people alive today can trace their ancestry back to the people who lived (seasonally?) on that coast is, to my mind, largely irrelevant when assessing the importance of what’s there and the need to protect it and treasure it. If it were otherwise, that would be tantamount to saying that in the absence of any direct descendants (which you say may in fact be the case) the importance of the site is much reduced and we probably don’t need to worry too much.

    Nonsense! What’s on that coast is of importance to all of us. It’s human history. The Greens were quoted as saying the other day that we must protect what’s there out of respect for the aboriginal community. I don’t think that’s right either. We protect it because it is a remarkable record of a way of life of the planet’s most isolated people.

    When Roman or neolithic remains are dug up in Europe, nobody feels the need to talk about the descendants and the significance of the site to them. It is simply part of the story of human occupation of the land, and is valued and protected and studied because of that.

    I think it is time our ancient sites of human occupation are looked at the same way.

  7. john hayward

    March 1, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Most of the terrestrial world has already been appropriated for human uses. Is a human claimant really needed to protect natural and historic places from the most frivolous, destructive, and obnoxious recreational activities?

    John Hayward

  8. Vica Bayley, MR posted by Editor

    March 1, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    takayna/Tarkine 4WD decision should be respected

    The Wilderness Society today welcomed yesterday’s Federal Court decision that rules against the expansion of destructive 4WD tracks on the remote takayna/Tarkine coast, and paid tribute to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for challenging the Hodgman Government’s track expansion plans.

    The Society calls on Mr Hodgman and the 4WD community to respect this decision and notes that privileged 4WD access still exists and is to be maintained to Sandy Cape.

    “Congratulations and thank you to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for having the vision and courage to take this case and challenge the decision to expand 4WD access that would expose sensitive areas to damage,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

    “A National Heritage-listed cultural landscape, this decision protects awe-inspiring Aboriginal heritage that demonstrates a legacy of Aboriginal ownership and occupation for many millennia.

    “Given the antiquity of Aboriginal heritage and the fact it is embedded across the landscape and intertwined with the environment, this decision will also help protect important natural values from the negative impacts of 4WD use.

    “History demonstrates that 4WD access has facilitated and sad lack of respect for Aboriginal heritage in north west Tasmania. On and off-track vehicle damage, wilful vandalism and theft have all negatively impacted on irreplaceable heritage values.

    “This decision is comprehensive and clear – expanding tracks will damage values. Government and the 4WD lobby should accept this decision and respect its direction.

    “There remains 4WD access to spectacular and sensitive parts of the coastline and those initiatives Government promised to ‘manage’ the impacts of the expanded 4WD tracks should still be rolled out to increase awareness, education and above all respect for Aboriginal cultural heritage.

    The Society also acknowledged the work of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) in assisting the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre with the case, and notes the critically important role the EDO plays in ensuring laws that protect natural and cultural heritage are upheld.

    Vica Bayley
    Tasmanian Campaign Manager
    The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc.

  9. Pilko

    March 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    The TAC actioned a successful case in the Federal Court which prevents the reopening of more than 80 4WD tracks in the Tarkine & Braddon Lib MP Brett Whiteley tells Leon Compton this morning that TAC’s views are “of no consequence”. Obviously Brett, obviously.

    Darwin award for Brett please?

  10. Simon Warriner

    March 1, 2016 at 9:33 am

    The claim that today’s aborigines will continue their cultural practices tied to this particular bit of land is most interesting.

    If one were to read Dr Ian Mc Farlane’s doctorial thesis on the aborigines of the NW Coast they would, as I did, learn that in order to be a genuine descendant those people a person would need to be able to trace their lineage back to one Tynedic, who was last seen boarding a ship bound for London. That is not just my interpretation, I questioned the good Dr about it and was assured I was correct in my reading of it.

    The TLC, TAC and others are not the original owners, if Mc Farlane is correct.

    Not to say the heritage should not be treated with more respect, but embedding a fiction in a legal decision is not the smartest of moves.

    It was that fiction that was used to challenge a land claim on Sundown Point in the high court a few years ago. That case did not proceed.

  11. Robin Charles Halton

    February 29, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    I thought that the area was to be managed by Parks introducing a permit system including a GPS attached to vehicles using the track network.

    I disagreed with an open system which has caused the problems of track damage and going into sensitive places where vehicles should not go.

    Denying access has not solved the problem at all as there will be revenge from the wrong types who will disperse rough justice on members of the already aboriginal communities in Circular Head and the far NW region.

    Responsible 4×4 clubs who obey the rules and often carry out track maintenance are denied access, I cannot believe it is possible.

    (comment challenged and edited for incendiary and offensive content)

  12. Clive Stott

    February 29, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Scott Jordan #2:
    It is interesting the ‘fringe group’ slur was applied again in yesterdays Examiner by Dorset Mayor Greg Howard in relation to the Derby clear-fell and burning that most people don’t want next to the bike trail.

    Councillor Howard has shown his colours; this is what he said…

    “It is just that fringe group who is sooking about everything the way they do”

    As a new mayor that comment showed utter immaturity I feel and likewise does nothing to resolve big issues in his municipality.

    When are they going to learn it is sometimes better to say nothing??

    This push to try and marry trashing the environment with our tourist or cultural values just isn’t going to work.

    Congratulations by the way to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the EDO.

  13. Doug Nichols

    February 29, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Absolutely the right decision, for all the right reasons.

  14. Mark Temby

    February 29, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    #7, thanks Pete. I noticed Matthew Groom’s comment, too, and support your observations 100%. It’s shallow rhetorical BS.

  15. JDN

    February 29, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Oh no.. look at all that damaged sand!

  16. Pete Godfrey

    February 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    In response to Matthew Grooms, media release at Post 3. I wonder how it takes for something to become a tradition.

    As 4 wheel drives have really only been around for around 60 years maximum. Just how much of a tradition is it that people are claiming the right to continue.

    Most people only really had access to 4 wheel drives from the 1970’s on so that makes a 46 year tradition.

    Crikey, that is not long is it.

    It is a bit like modern day people putting on a Dry as a Bone coat, an Akubra hat and claiming that riding horses around in Alpine National Parks is a traditional use, and as they are dressed like Clancy of the Overflow that they too have a right to go anywhere.

  17. Nick McKim MR posted by editor

    February 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Time for Tasmanian Government to protect the Tarkine

    March 1, 2016

    The Tasmanian Government should accept the Federal Court’s ruling on 4WD tracks in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area, and allocate the necessary resources to protect cultural and natural heritage in the region, Greens Senator for Tasmania Nick McKim says.

    “We welcome the Federal Court’s ruling, but we need to see rigorous enforcement of the closures on the ground,” Senator McKim said.

    “The Tasmanian Government has wasted taxpayers’ money defending what was an indefensible position; they now need to accept the court’s verdict and rule out an appeal.”

    “These efforts and resources would be far better spent in protecting the outstanding cultural, historical and natural values in the Arthur Pieman and across the whole Tarkine area.”

    “If Premier Will Hodgman wants to truly reset the relationship with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, he needs to work with them to look after their culture in this precious region.”

  18. Cassy O'Connor MR posted by editor

    February 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Liberals Slapped Down by Federal Court on takayna/Tarkine Tracks
    Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson
    Tuesday, 1 March 2016

    The Hodgman Liberals have been embarrassed nationally by today’s Federal Court decision to uphold the ban on re-opening off-road vehicle tracks along the takayna/Tarkine coast.

    The Liberals, cheer-led by Adam Brooks MP, have been exposed as reckless cultural vandals who put parochial political concerns before protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage on the Arthur Pieman coast that dates back tens of thousands of years.

    The Court’s decision is an outstanding result for respect and common sense. It’s a significant win for Tasmania’s Aboriginal people and fantastic news for the fragile takayna/Tarkine coast.

    The off-road vehicle tracks in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area were closed under the Labor Green government as a result of the reckless destruction of Aboriginal cultural heritage by irresponsible 4WD users.

    The Liberals plan to re-open the tracks threatened this beautiful strip of coastline, rich with middens and hut depressions and human stories going back tens of thousands of years.

    Today the law has caught up with the Liberals. And still, Minister Groom won’t rule out appealing the Federal Court’s decision.

    Premier Hodgman has said he wants to reset the relationship with Aboriginal Tasmanians, all while his government championed vandalism of some of their most significant sites. The government needs to accept the umpire’s decision now.

    The Premier should welcome the Federal Court’s decision and commit to protecting Aboriginal heritage in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area if he is serious about demonstrating respect for the first Tasmanians.

  19. William Boeder

    February 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I believe Mathew Groom is speaking with a forked tongue or has a shocking memory in relation to the Tarkine National Park delinquencies.
    However this is an important indication as to how the mainland court of law system can hinder the flow of allowing the inflicting of damages to historical icons and of other senseless damages to heritage listed diverse natural assets, by the upper echelon cowboy ministers of this State’s Liberal party’s government.
    This strike by the Federal Court is a red mark against this State government and its Authoritative culpabilities in that they can effectively be reined in by Australia’s Federal court system.

    Look out Forestry Tasmania.

  20. Matthew Groom, MR posted by Editor

    February 29, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
    Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area
    The Liberal Government respects the legal process in relation to re-opening tracks closed by the previous Labor-Green government in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area.
    The Government notes the decision issued today by the Federal Court is very detailed and the Government will therefore give it careful consideration.
    The Government remains committed to striking the right balance that provides access for traditional recreational activities such as four-wheel driving whilst at the same time ensuring we protect its significant Aboriginal heritage values.

  21. Scott Jordan MR posted by editor

    February 29, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Save the Tarkine welcomes Federal Court decision on takayna tracks.

    Urges Premier to commit to genuine policing of rogue 4wd elements.

    Save the Tarkine has congratulated the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre on it’s historic win in the Federal Court today.
    “The decision of the Court has upheld the protection of Aboriginal heritage within the Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre bravely took this stand, and today have been vindicated”, said Save the Tarkine Campaign Coordinator, Scott Jordan.
    “We congratulate the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and salute thier courage and comittment to protecting their heritage”.
    “The Court has reinforced that Aboriginal heritage in this area is significant, and legal protections must be enforced. Save the Tarkine calls on the Premier to ensure that policing resources are made available to protect this area from the continued illegal damage by rogue 4wd elements.”
    “This government rolls out police to ‘defend’ logging operations from peaceful protests. It is not unreasonable to expect police on the ground to defend Aboriginal heritage sites from deliberate and ongoing desecration”.

    Brett Whiteley should apologise for ‘fringe group’ slur.

    Save the Tarkine has also calls on the Member for Braddon, Mr Brett Whiteley MHR to apologise to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for his disgraceful 2014 comments referring to it’s members as ‘fringe groups’.
    “Mr Whiteley attacked the TAC in 2014 when this case was lodged, using disparaging and divisive language, attempting to dismiss the TAC’s connection to the land and heritage of takayna”, said Save the Tarkine Campaign Coordinator, Scott Jordan.
    “Well the Court’s decision has proven him wrong. Mr Whitely should offer his unreserved apology”.

  22. Bryan Green MR posted by editor

    February 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Bryan Green MP
    Opposition Leader 1 March 2016
    Federal Court ruling exposes hollow four-wheel drive promise
     Hodgman badly fails four-wheel drivers
     Sensitive consultation needed but not delivered

    Today’s Federal Court decision to keep tracks in the North West closed is a direct result of the Liberal Government’s hollow promises and bungled handling of a sensitive community issue.
    Labor Leader Bryan Green said the Liberals crash through or crash tactics had badly let down recreational users.
    “The Liberals promised the world to four-wheel drivers and delivered nothing,” Mr Green said.
    “They were held up as heroes before the election based on false promises.
    “The antagonistic style of the likes of Adam Brooks has led to today’s decision.
    “Labor has always said the heritage values of the tracks needed to be respected but the Liberals thought they knew better.
    “We’ve always been upfront with Tasmanians over the future of the tracks and were trying to negotiate a compromise that left some tracks open.
    “A consultative approach was the only way to produce a good outcome for both sides of the debate, but the Liberals were too pig-headed to realise.
    “Now they’ve let recreational users down badly by failing to deliver on their big promises.
    “Will the Liberals now challenge the decision or fall silent on the issue?”

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