The Wilderness Society demands Tasmanian Government to release costings on Tarkine's recreational tracks

The Wilderness Society has demanded the government to release costings associated with its Public Environment Report, requested by the federal government as part of the plan to reopen four-wheel-drive tracks in the Tarkine.

Group spokesman Vica Bayley said the Wilderness Society supported the rigorous guidelines around the report which included on-ground and impact analysis studies.

“If these guidelines are approved, as they should be, Premier Hodgman will need to oversee a detailed and complex set of studies and reports to make the case for his plan to expand these tracks,” he said.

“Putting aside the actual cost of track construction, like the ridiculous proposal to lay plastic matting over giant middens so vehicles can drive over them, compiling the application report itself is likely to cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct costs and staff time.”

A state government spokesman said the guidelines were yet to be finalised and the state was closely working with the federal Environment Department to provide the detail to assess and approve the proposal.

“That work is ongoing and final costs are yet to be determined,” he said.

“We will ensure that there will be no financial impact on Parks as a result of this process and additional funding will be provided to DPIPWE to cover the costs associated with the final assessment.”

The government wants to open 37.3 kilometres of track south of Sandy Cape and north of the Pieman River, closed by the previous government to prevent Aboriginal sites being damaged.

The matter has been subject to Federal Court action, launched by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

The court eventually found that approval to reopen the tracks needed to be referred to the federal government to assess the plan under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The state government proposes that a range of earthworks would need to be done in the protected areas to make the tracks usable.