'Largest Ever Petition' Presented To Parliament To Save Tarkine Forest

More than 270,000 people worldwide have signed a petition calling on the federal government to preserve the Tarkine rainforest area in Tasmania, the largest petition ever presented to the parliament.

The petition is part of a campaign from the Bob Brown Foundation and clothing brand Patagonia, which is pushing for the Tarkine or takayna area to be recognised as a world heritage site, and to be returned to Aboriginal ownership.

The Tarkine contains the largest temperate rainforest area in Australia, and the second-largest cool temperate rainforest on the planet.

Julius River flowing through the Tarkine Wilderness (Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)

The area, on Tasmanian's north-west coast, also includes mountains, rivers, caves, sand dunes and beaches -- meaning it is home to a diverse range of wildlife including platypus, echidna, wombat, bandicoots, possums, gliders, Tasmanian devils, quolls, and a variety of endangered birds.

It is recognised as one of the last thriving colonies of Tasmanian devils anywhere in the world, while a stunning array of historic Aboriginal sites have also seen the area described as “one of the world's great archaeological regions" by the Australian Heritage Council.

Tasmanian devil (Getty Images)

“There is an urgent need to have secure and permanent protection for takayna / Tarkine as a World Heritage listed National Park and returned to Aboriginal ownership," said Bob Brown Foundation campaign manager Jenny Weber.

"Right now, citizens are on the frontline in Tarkine rainforests, threatened by logging, while the government is pushing to allow off-road vehicles over the sensitive Aboriginal heritage coast."

Pieman river, Tarkine wilderness (Getty Images)

The foundation and Patagonia began a petition, which has attracted more than 270,000 signatures from around the world.

Greens senators Nick McKim and Peter Whish-Wilson presented the massive stack of signatures to the Senate on Wednesday.

Whish-Wilson's office told 10 daily that they had been informed by the federal parliamentary library that the 270,000 signatures were the largest petition ever presented to parliament.

The previous record-holder was a 2000 petition about the GST, which attracted just shy of 150,000 signatures.

“Takayna/Tarkine is a precious part of Tasmania that should be looked after on behalf of the entire world,” McKim said.

“Takayna is a place of incredible natural and Aboriginal heritage value... it's time for the Labor and Liberal parties to step up," Whish-Wilson added.

The Bob Brown Foundation wants to see the government take action to protect the area.

“With Patagonia joining the campaign to defend and protect this globally significant ancient, wild and threatened place, the push for protection of takayna / Tarkine has gone global," Weber said.

"It needs local, national and global advocates and our Australian and Tasmanian politicians have the power and privilege to deliver the necessary protection."

Brown himself called on politicians to take action to preserve the region.

“A massive display of global concern for takayna, the Tarkine, the largest unprotected wilderness in southern Australia," the former Greens leader said.

"This warrants an explicit response from both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. We would welcome both on a summer break trip to the Tarkine. To see it is to want to protect it."

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