Ancient rock art not sacred enough

Thursday, 23 April

In a move labelled shocking and internationally embarrassing by the WA Greens, Minister Collier this week confirmed the Burrup Peninsula had been deregistered as an Indigenous sacred site based on advice given by the State Solicitor’s Office (SSO) regarding section 5(b) of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972.

Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs Robin Chapple MLC said it was deeply concerning to learn that one of Australia’s most significant heritage locations was no longer considered a sacred site.

“The Burrup Peninsula has the largest concentration of rock art in the world and is an extraordinary cultural landscape telling the story of ancient Aboriginal occupation over the past 30,000 years or more,” he said.

“Its significance is not lost on the international anthropological community or the federal government, both long term supporters of world heritage nomination for the Burrup Peninsula.

“Colin Barnett labelled it ‘the most significant heritage and anthropological site in Australia’ whilst in opposition yet his government continues to approve, and encourage, industrial development there.

“Blinded by greed, this government has shown time and again it has little respect for the importance of Indigenous culture or heritage.”

Mr Chapple, who has worked alongside the Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA) as a tour guide on the Burrup Peninsula for almost 10 years, said the revelation was also a significant personal blow.

“I have dedicated the best part of my life to protecting the Burrup; this news has left me deeply ashamed,” he said.

 “It is without question one of the most important heritage locations in Australia and arguably the world; an ancient cultural and historical record of our nation’s first peoples.

“Irrelevant of the department’s interpretation of the heritage act, the Burrup Peninsula is a sacred site and deserves to be treated as such.”

For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

Media liaison: Tim Oliver           

Mobile: 0431 9696 25




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