Robin Chapple slams FMG's applications Heritage destruction at Juukan unconscionable

WA Greens MLC Robin Chapple incensed over second Juukan level section 18 greenlit by Minister


WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple has found that the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Wyatt approved the Section 18 application for the destruction of caves showing 43,000 years of Indigenous habitation at Rio Tinto’s Silvergrass operation.


Mr Chapple found, through Questions Without Notice this week, that the Minister was not aware of the Heritage value of the area despite publically available information on the high cultural significance of the sites.


The Minister called for the question to be submitted as a Question on Notice stating he would need to consult his department which Mr Chapple spoke generally of as ‘bizarre’ considering the information readily available to the Minister.


“The documents outlining the cultural value of the caves at Silvergrass are publically available on the Aboriginal Heritage Inquiry System, so why is the Minister asking a simple question to be put On Notice?”


“This is a situation almost identical to the devastating events of Juukan Gorge with the exception that this was approved entirely on the current Ministers watch”


“What the Minister may not realize is that if Questions On Notice require eleven sitting days of Parliament for response, then we would not get this answer in time for inclusion in the current Northern Australian Federal Inquiry into the destruction of Juukan Gorge”


Mr Chapple is calling on the Minister to retract the Section 18 approval for destruction of Heritage offered to Rio Tinto and make efforts to better familiarise himself with the wide range of documents and information at his offices disposal.


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