Tasmania embarks on a path of reconciliation | Western Review
The Tasmanian Liberal government has pledged to take further steps to reconcile with the island state’s indigenous community, including working towards a treaty.
Prime Minister Peter Gutwein made the announcement on the first day of Parliament since his party was re-elected in the May 1 poll.
He said former Governor Kate Warner “would facilitate a process to understand directly from the Aborigines of Tasmania themselves how best to take our next steps towards reconciliation.”
“Professor Warner will provide a report to the government by October of this year with recommendations outlining a proposal for a way forward towards reconciliation,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
It will also examine the views of the indigenous peoples of Tasmania on a truth process and what a path to a treaty would be, he said.
“My government remains committed to strengthening the protection of indigenous heritage and is open to proposals for additional land restitution,” said Mr. Gutwein.
“However, there is still a lot to do and we are committed to doing this work.”
Tim McCormack, Humanitarian Law Specialist at the University of Tasmania, will assist Professor Warner, with discussions set to begin in the coming weeks.
It comes as the Liberals reiterated their support for a cable car project on Hobart’s Kunanyi / Mount Wellington on Tuesday, a plan that has been undermined by sections of the indigenous community.
In a group submission to Hobart City Council this week, 10 aboriginal heritage officers said the project would damage the mountain’s cultural values forever.
Liberal MP Nic Street said the cable car has the potential to bring “significant investment to the state” and create new jobs.
Relations between the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and the Liberal government, in power since 2014, are far from fluid.
Indigenous leaders have expressed concerns over 4×4 access to large areas of the west coast and also raised concerns about slow travel during land returns.
A recently released tourism master plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area recognized indigenous storytelling as a “recognized gap” in the visitor experience.
The state government approved 15 Aboriginal place names in March, including Kennaook instead of Cape Grim, the site of an Aboriginal massacre in 1828, and Taneneryouer for Suicide Bay.
Associated Australian Press