Brown warns on devil impact

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 24 Juli 2013 | 19.55

Green group Save The Tarkine, which took the court action that halted the project, held a mock funeral for the Tasmanian devil to coincide with the minister's visit. Pictures: CHRIS KIDD

FORMER Australian Greens leader Bob Brown is demanding new Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler heed advice that Tasmanian devils will be at risk if a new mine is approved in the Tarkine.

Dr Brown said Mr Butler should act on departmental advice warning of the likely spread of the deadly facial tumour disease into the North-West region if mining goes ahead.

Former environment minister Tony Burke's failure to consider advice on the devil when he approved Shree Minerals' $20 million iron ore proposal caused the Federal Court to block the project last week.

Mr Butler must now decide whether to re-approve the mine with conditions that could withstand another legal challenge.

"[Mr Butler's] own departmental advice, which predecessor Tony Burke ignored or didn't see, is that this will have an injurious effect on the Tasmanian devil," Dr Brown said.

"The extension of mining into the Tarkine, which is the stronghold of the Tasmanian devil, is going to kill devils."

The Tarkine is considered one of the last areas with a devil population free of the tumour disease, which has wiped out as much as 80 per cent of the iconic species.

Dr Brown's comments came as Mr Butler met supporters and opponents of the mine in Burnie.

Pro-mining rallies have brought thousands to the streets in the North-West and Mr Butler's decision will come at a time the ALP-held seat of Braddon is considered vulnerable in the looming Federal election.

Local member Sid Sidebottom and the Labor members of the Tasmanian Government support mining in the region, arguing it will affect just 1 per cent of the Tarkine.

Green group Save The Tarkine, which took the court action that halted the project, held a mock funeral for the Tasmanian devil to coincide with the minister's visit before threatening another legal challenge.

Mr Butler said he was confident he would make a decision by the end of the week but denied the election would influence it.

"The overriding pressure on me is to make sure that I consider all of the information I'm required to consider in the legislation," he told ABC radio.

Mr Butler said the State government, other federal ministers and Shree would then have 10 days to respond.

Tasmanian Aboriginal leader Michael Mansell, who also met Mr Butler, said a more thorough statement on Aboriginal heritage needed to be produced.


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