Aborigines ecstatic at emergency listing of Brighton historic area
The news that the Brighton historic area beside the Jordan River has received listing as one of Australia's outstanding heritage places is a fantastic boost to the chances of saving the area from destruction, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre legal director Michael Mansell said. "The listing places the significance of the Jordan River area alongside Kakadu National Park, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. This is just a wonderful Christmas present to the people of Tasmania from the Australian Government."
Youtube video - Brighton Bypass Site (31secs) | Ministerial media release: Emergency heritage protection for Jordan River levee site
Areas cannot be listed on the register unless they possess outstanding national heritage value to the Australian nation. The significance of the Jordan River area is now recognised for its evolutionary understanding of Australia's biodiversity.
To add a place to the National Heritage List it must be shown to have "outstanding heritage value to the nation". This requires a assessment of significance against other places in Australia with similar values.
We are grateful to all the people of Tasmania for the wonderful support they have expressed so publicly for the recognition of the significance of this place, and our special thanks must go to Bob Brown and Andrew Wilkie for their fantastic work.
This decision demands the Tasmanian Government begin afresh. The fresh approach must be based on the need to preserve the nationally significant area while building the bypass. The two are not mutually exclusive.
The Jordan River crossing can be achieved by supports not being placed within the significant area, or by diverting the route through any of the 8 alternatives the Tasmanian Government released. Only one of those options involved removing houses, most of the option do not require removal of houses.
The Emergency Listing by the Commonwealth sends a strong signal to the Bartlett Government that Canberra cannot believe the situation has reached this stage. Emergency listing also signals the situation has reached an emergency stage, hinting the Commonwealth can still intervene.
This situation would have been avoided had the Tasmanian Government not misled the Australian Government in 2007. Whenever there is a major works,especially funded by the Commonwealth, environmental impact studies dealing with flora and fauna and historical areas are conducted. The Tasmanian Government conducted surveys on plants and European history but told Canberra Aboriginal heritage would be satisfactorily dealt with later.
On that basis the Commonwealth signed of under the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act in 2007.
The State did not begin its Aboriginal survey until 2008, well after road works had begun under Commonwealth EPBC approval. The State found the area beside the Jordan River to have extraordinary history in 2008, new it was in trouble with dates going back 40,000 years in 2009, and order destruction of the area in 2010.
The Commonwealth were understandably dismayed that the State had positioned the Commonwealth in funding a project that would destroy an area warranting outstanding national heritage listing.
This declaration from the Commonwealth is no green light to the Tasmanian Government to go ahead with its narrow-minded, ill conceived plan: it signals an intention by the Commonwealth to give space for the Tasmanian Government to resolve this debacle and save face otherwise the Commonwealth will step in."
Michael Mansell Legal Director 22nd December 2010 0429310116