21.03.18 SERIOUS ENGAGEMENT WITH TRADITIONAL OWNERS ON BURRUP ROCK ART URGENTLY NEEDED

SERIOUS ENGAGEMENT WITH TRADITIONAL OWNERS ON BURRUP ROCK ART URGENTLY NEEDED

The Australian Government and Western Australian Government need to seriously engage with the traditional owners on the management and protection of the Burrup Peninsula, a Senate Committee has found.

Labor recognises the enduring custodianship of the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago by the five traditional owner groups represented by the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, who have managed and protected their land for over 45,000 years.

The rock art on the Burrup Peninsula records humanity’s first artistic endeavours and includes the first human face depicted in an artwork.

Labor supports the comments by the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson, Ms Raelene Cooper, that they have been “left out a lot regarding the Burrup” in regards to:

  • Feeling like a subcontractor in what is meant to be a joint management plan of the Murujuga National Park with the Western Australian Government;
  • No consultation on the potential for World Heritage listing with the current Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation board;
  • No consultation or advice on alleged or potential damage to the rock art from vandalism or pollution;
  • Murujuga Indigenous Rangers hold no enforcement powers to move people on, make people cease activities or issues fines.

Before any future steps in securing protection for Murujuga, or undertaking further decisions relating to resource activities in the region, the Western Australian Government and Australian Government must formally consult with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and Murujuga Circle of Elders. Such consultation must be conducted on terms set by the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and Murujuga Circle of Elders.

Labor also supports the development of a new multi-purpose Living Knowledge Centre in or near the Murujuga National Park and encourages co-operation between the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Australian Government in pursuing this vital cultural and tourism project.

The Committee also heard evidence of repeated non-compliance by Yara Pilbara with Western Australian Government and Australian Government environmental approvals, putting human health, the rock art and the wider environment at risk. The state and federal governments must urgently work with Yara Pilbara to improve its compliance.

The Committee report is available here.

Senators Dodson and Lines presented speeches on the tabling of the report.

WEDNESDAY, 21 MARCH 2018

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