takayna Victory – Four Wheel-Drive Tracks remain closed

takayna Victory!

Four Wheel-Drive Tracks remain closed


March 1st 2016.

Federal Court decision prevents 4WD access to three tracks south of Sandy Cape, in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area, and in the coastal strip declared as National Heritage, under the name ‘Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape (WTACL).

Full Judgement Here (Word doc in top left of webpage):

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Incorporated v Secretary, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (No 2) [2016] FCA 168

and Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) Summary:

Protecting indigenous heritage values on Tasmania’s west coast



The Mercury

North-West 4WD tracks remain closed

Locals say communities will suffer if 4WD ban stays

Editorial: The roots of our humanity

Plenty of 4WD tracks open, say conservationists

The Examiner

Court rules in favour of TAC over tracks

The Advocate

Four-wheel-drivers concerns at government reaction


4WD tracks on Tasmania’s west coast should remain closed, Federal Court rules

7AD – Tasmania Talks

TAC State Secretary Trudy Maluga on closure of Arthur-Pieman tracks


Media Release:

1 March 2016

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.



The advocate front pageAdvocate 1Examiner 2 mar 16The Mercury 1Mercury 2Letters to the EditorLetters to editor 9 mar

The Mercury, 8 March 2016:

West Coast tracks ‘ripped to shreds’ by four-wheel drivers filming for magazine

Mercury, 9 March 2016:

Talking Point, Heather Sculthorpe TAC CEO: Protecting ancient heritage

Letters Tessa and Aaron

Clyde Mansell

Government appeals decision.

On the last day possible, the State government declared their intention to appeal.

On 22 March 2016, the Tasmanian Government filed an appeal against the Federal Court’s decision.  The appeal claims that Justice Mortimer erred in:

  • Finding that the series of activities required to open the tracks was a ‘controlled action’
  • Finding that the declaration of the tracks was not a ‘governmental authorisation’ (and, therefore, not an ‘action’);
  • Her interpretation of the scope of values protected by the National Heritage listing

The appeal is expected to take 9-12 months to be resolved.

Media Releases:

Adam Brooks:    Government to appeal 4WD tracks decision

TAC:   Liberals Risk Loss of Major Tourism & Taxpayers’ Funds


22 March 2016:

ABC:  Tasmania to appeal against Federal Court ban on 4WDs in Arthur Pieman area

Mercury:  State Government to appeal Federal Court decision to close 4WD tracks

Advocate:  Tasmanian government fights Federal Court North-West 4wd tracks ruling


23 March 2016:

New Matilda:   Tasmanian Gov Ups Bid To Allow Four-Wheel Drive Joy-Rides On Aboriginal Cultural Site


29 April 2016.

The Federal Court has granted leave to the federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, to intervene in the appeal against the judgement.

This allows the federal Minister to make submissions, and in doing so technically ‘assisting the court’.  They are not likely to duplicate the arguments made by the state government, nor argue the details of what damage the use of tracks would cause or what heritage values are present.  Their input will more likely focus on the potential consequences that would flow from Judge Mortimer’s interpretation of:

  • National Heritage values,
  • ‘indigenous values’ and
  • the government authorisation exemption from declaring a ‘controlled action’

under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC).

Submissions will be made and the TAC will be able to review them before a hearing, which has not yet been set, nor have the three judges been named.