Tasmanian doctors have today written an open letter to federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, calling for an emergency National Heritage Listing of takayna/ Tarkine on health grounds.
The Tasmanian Committee of Doctors for the Environment Australia fear that the Minerals and Metals Group (MMG)’s Tailings Storage Facility in this significant native forest will pose a significant threat to the health of Tasmanians if permitted to go ahead.
Doctors for the Environment Australia is a national group of medical doctors who protect human health through care of the environment. DEA is supported by a Scientific Committee of leading health experts, including Australia of the Year recipients and a Nobel laureate.
Dr Darren Briggs says, “As doctors we are aware that human health and wellbeing are absolutely dependent upon a biodiverse planet with healthy, intact ecosystems.
“Forests are integral to this, as they’re among the most important repositories of biological diversity.
“We rely upon our forests for clean air and water and as valuable carbon sinks in the face of accelerating climate change.
“MMG’s short-sighted proposal is clearly not in the interests of the health of current or future Tasmanians, or the beautiful island we call home.”Dr Lydia Birch says, “We are appalled to learn of the current proposal by MMG to expand their mining operations in takaya/ Tarkine, an area of great ecological and cultural significance.”
“The current proposal involves clearing 140 hectares of rainforest in order to then pump 25 million cubic metres of waste product across the Pieman River to this new tailings dam.
“This area north of the Pieman River has previously been recognised as containing seven out of the total 10 possible World Heritage values, and has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot.”
“We urge Minister Ley to make an emergency National Heritage Listing of takayna/ Tarkine, in line with the Australian Heritage Council’s recommendations of September 2012.”
In November 2020 more than 250 Tasmanian doctors signed a letter to Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein calling for an end to native forest logging to protect the health of Tasmanians. The letter highlighted that eight medical colleges and the Australian Medical Association have declared climate change a health emergency. The doctors stated that preservation of native forests is one critical action in our response to climate change.
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