Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972

Buru did not consult Yawuru People before Fracking Canning Basin

Thursday, 11 December

Fracking in the Canning Basin is taking place against the wishes of the lands traditional owners, the Yawuru People, according to Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC.

Yawuru man Micklo Corpus said that Buru Energy had not listened to the Yawuru people and this was a serious breach of their rights, given that 94% of the Yawuru were against the process.

Mr Chapple said Buru Energy had already established a network of more than 3500 kilometres worth of seismic lines and several test fracking wells in the area, all on Yawuru land.

“This strikes right to the heart of our government’s attitude towards indigenous people in Western Australia,” he said.

“Any development the government considers on Yawuru lands, especially one as invasive as fracking, should not be undertaken unless the express permission of the Traditional owners is given first.

“More than anything this is about showing respect to traditional owners and it should be standard practice.”

Mr Chapple said fracking in the Canning Basin was just another inclusion to an expanding list of backwards decisions made by the Barnett government along with the closure of more than 150 remote communities and significant proposed changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

For more information please watch this video or contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

Closing the Gap Far From Reality

Tuesday, 25 November

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has backed claims by WA Chief Justice Wayne Martin that a halt in funding to the state’s only Aboriginal interpreting service could undermine the fairness of the state’s justice system.

Mr Chapple said this decision showed a complete lack of recognition for the needs of indigenous people in Western Australia.

“This government appears hell-bent on increasing inequality in this state,” he said.

“The right to an independent, trained interpreter is a basic legal right.

“The decision to end funding to the KIS, an essential service for many of the state’s indigenous people who do not speak English as a first language, will directly impact on the fairness of our justice system.”

Mr Chapple said this decision by the state government not to continue funding was one of a number of decisions made recently that directly, and negatively, affected indigenous people.

“Both our state, and federal, governments are further from closing the gap then they ever have been,” he said.

“Just last week the Barnett government announced the closure of more than half of this state’s remote communities, what is essentially a forced eviction of people from not only their homes, but their country and connection with culture.

“Proposed changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act, likely to be debated in parliament early next year, could have even more devastating impacts on the right of Indigenous people in Western Australia to have a say on matters relating to heritage.

“When you throw in more than $500 million worth of funding cuts from our ‘Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs’, including Aboriginal Legal Services, it’s almost impossible to understand how either government plans to overcome indigenous disadvantage.”

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

Premier once again proves he is out of touch with Indigenous West Australians

Tuesday, 11 November

WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has expressed outrage at Premier Colin Barnett’s statement that remote indigenous communities would be closed due to difficulties in providing essential services.

Mr Barnett also linked high indigenous suicide rates with remote access problems and claimed his government was actively working to try and reduce these statistics.

Mr Chapple said the Premier could not be more out of touch with the needs of remote indigenous communities.

“This is short-sighted economic bean-counting at its absolute worst,” he said.

“By forcing indigenous people out of their communities and into towns and cities you are essentially taking away nearly everything they hold dear.

“I am not talking about material possessions, but their connection with the land, their culture and their ancestors that is so important.

Mr Chapple said it was the height of insensitivity for the Premier to bring in the issue of indigenous suicides whilst simultaneously admitting that the forced closure of remote communities ‘would be traumatic’.

“Who wouldn’t be traumatised if the government walked onto your land and physically removed you against your will?” he said.

“I agree with the Premier that something needs to be done about the provision of services to remote indigenous communities, so why doesn’t he just get on and do it!.

“Moving people from their homes into much larger and unfamiliar settlements and suggesting this may actually reduce the suicide rate amongst indigenous people in Western Australia is absolutely farcical and may very well have the opposite effect.”

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

Relocation of Burrup Rock Art dumped in the 1980s Welcomed by WA Greens

WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region and long-time Burrup activist Robin Chapple MLC has welcomed the relocation of more than 1700 pieces of Aboriginal rock art that were dumped to make way for Woodside’s North West Shelf LNG project.

The rock art, which is considered highly significant, had been kept in a Pilbara compound since the early 1980s until the relocation process was initiated in 2009 by the elders from the four groups.

Mr Chapple said the inclusion of local Aboriginal elders in the relocation and restoration process contributed strongly to the successful outcome.

“This was an important step by Woodside in recognising and remediating some of the past wrongs done in the Burrup and I congratulate them for that,” he said.

 “The Burrup Peninsula is home to the world’s largest, and oldest, collection of Aboriginal rock art with some of the paintings and carvings dating back more than 30,000 years.

“The cultural significance of rock art here cannot be overstated and I’m glad it’s finally starting to get the recognition, and respect, it deserves.”

Mr Chapple said he hoped restoration projects such as this didn’t encourage further development on the culturally significant Burrup Peninsula.

“Whilst this is a brilliant outcome for the local Aboriginal people, for the Burrup and for Aboriginal heritage in general there needs to be greater recognition that this place is too special to plunder,” he said.

“Currently, only about 44 per cent of the peninsula is protected by Murujuga National Park which, upon its creation in January last year, felt like somewhat of a token gesture.

“I would appeal again to governments state and federal, as I have many times in the past, to make World Heritage Listing of the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago a priority of national and international significance.”

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

Yule River Bush Meeting to Inform of and Protest AHA amendments

Friday 26 September

The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation is today hosting a bush meeting at Yule River to educate and inform remote Aboriginal communities of the proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act and how they will affect the rights of Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

The proposed amendments will give more power to the Department and newly-created CEO to make decisions with regards to Aboriginal heritage whilst effectively stripping the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee of any real powers and removing a requirement in the act to consult traditional owners or allow them right of appeal.

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said the proposed amendments were an attack on the cultural autonomy of all Aboriginal peoples in Western Australia.

“I do acknowledge that the Aboriginal Heritage Act requires significant changes to empower Aboriginal peoples in Western Australia and protect their culture and heritage,” he said.

“What these proposed amendments do however is take a bad bill and make it worse; it’s rubbing salt in the wound.

“I’m here today in Yule River to do everything I can to help support and inform Aboriginal communities in WA, and to protest the underlying racism and absolute disregard for Aboriginal heritage shown by the Barnett government.”

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

Aboriginal Heritage Legislative Changes Fail to Protect

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC, says that the changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act, proposed by the Barnett Government, will neither improve protection for Aboriginal heritage places nor adequately involve Aboriginal people in the process. 

“At the end of the day, protection of Aboriginal heritage is what the Act is about but the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Hon. Peter Collier have failed to deliver their oft-repeated promises: that the amendments would give Aboriginal people a stronger voice in respect of heritage protection.

“What the Bill provides for is the transfer of most of the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee’s functions to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs’ Chief Executive Officer, thereby stripping away their fundamental rights to speak for heritage’ Mr Chapple said.  

“The government has left substantial matters to Regulations, such as what the CEO will and will not consider and the information required before deciding what is left on or taken off the register.

“It is a great pity that the government has not provided draft Regulations along with the draft Bill.  Without draft Regulations, the government’s proposal is incomplete in important respects, and it is therefore unable to be fairly assessment.

“It is disappointing that the Bill omits all of the points that have been repeatedly raised in previous reports on the Act as well as in the 2012 round of submissions; all of which aimed to improve protection for Aboriginal heritage sites and the involvement of Aboriginal people in that process.

“The Greens will not support the Bill in its current form. I urge the community to write a submission on this appalling piece of legislation to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs before 6 August 2014, added Mr Chapple.

For further information go to http://www.robinchapple.com/AHA

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



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