Tas govt sorry for offensive place name

Tasmanian government apologised after an offensive name was published.
The Tasmanian government apologised after a racially offensive island name was published on a map. -AAP Image

Tasmania's government has apologised for the use of a racist place name on maps, including a recreational fishing guide.

The state's Department of Natural Resources and Environment is undertaking a review of all documents after the name N*****head Rock was found to be used on government-authorised maps to describe an island off the North-West Coast.

"(The department) accepts full responsibility and apologises unreservedly for the publication of a recently identified historical place name that has caused offence," a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

"The culturally offensive place name is a longstanding historical geographical name in use for more than 100 years, and the department has used the lawfully determined name in publications.

"However, the right thing to do is to expunge these names from official records." 

The department has suppressed the name in an online map tool and is removing printed maps with the name from circulation, as well as the Recreational Sea Fishing Guide.

Two other potentially offensive place names have also been suppressed, the spokeswoman said.

"We welcome the apology, the government should apologise too," Aboriginal Land Council chairman Michael Mansell told AAP.

"I was gobsmacked when an Aboriginal bloke rang me up and brought it to my attention. I thought he was looking at some old map.

"I just couldn't believe it. These racist slanderous slurs ... are used by redneck white people to describe Aboriginal people in Tasmania.

"It's one thing for the rednecks to do that. It's another thing for the Tasmanian government, (who are) supposed to be representing everybody in the community, to print it on a modern map."

State Aboriginal Affairs Minister Roger Jaensch on Wednesday apologised for the name being printed.

The department said it received a submission from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) in 2017 about the name, but it was withdrawn.

"The department welcomes all Tasmanian Aboriginal people, and the broader community, to highlight concerns and encourages all proposals to explore dual or replacement names," the spokeswoman said.

Mr Mansell said the TAC told the government it was opposed to the name in 2017, but withdrew because of issues with the naming process, which allows "anyone in the state" to suggest names.