Hypocrisy Reigns Supreme in the Aboriginal Heritage Debate

“When announcements are made on paltry funding initiatives for the preservation of Aboriginal stories within days of the closing date for submissions to the Review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act Discussion Paper, the cynical might assume token gestures on the part of the government to assuage guilt,” said a livid Robin Chapple today.

Chapple, Greens WA spokesperson on Aboriginal Issues, while commending the project and lauding its value as a cultural and historical record, finds the juxtaposition between this project and its meager funding allocation, and the obvious development and industry bias of the proposed Aboriginal Heritage Act Amendments to be highly hypocritical.

“The proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act are set to denude protection for sites of Aboriginal heritage significance in a hugely disrespectful manner,” stated Mr Chapple.

“A $200, 000 project to preserve the 40, 000 year history of Aboriginal people in Western Australia is a laughable sum – we should consider it against the taxpayer funds allocated to the mining and resources industry sectors in this state, whose rights will be even more privileged over the Aboriginal people should these proposed amendments take effect”.

While Mr Chapple is supportive of preserving Aboriginal stories and history, he questions whether stories of how Aboriginal people in mining communities are disadvantaged and marginalised will be told.

Notionally the stories being recorded are those of historical significance, however Mr Chapple would like it recognized that this particular period in the history of Western Australia’s human rights record is likely to be worthy of recording from an Aboriginal perspective, for the nature of its arrogance and will to privilege mining interests over cultural heritage.

“If we are preserving stories while concurrently ensuring that nothing physical will be left of Aboriginal heritage, then we are hypocritical vandals at best. I call on this government to protect Aboriginal heritage sites with the same regard for future generations as it shows through the Indigenous Community Stories project.”

Robin Chapple’s submission to the Aboriginal Heritage Act Review Discussion Paper will be available on his website (http://robinchapple.com/) from Friday 22nd June 2012. For a draft copy of the submission please contact the Office at: Melanie.Bainbridge@mp.wa.gov.au.

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

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