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Sacred Aboriginal sites at Walmadany in Western Australia. Image credit SBS

WORLD NEWS AUSTRALIA reports yesterday that –

The West Australian government has sparked immediate protests after granting resources giant Woodside the right to disturb Aboriginal sacred sites as part of the proposed $40 billion James Price Point gas hub near Broome.
Locals, environmentalists and Australian Greens leader Christine Milne have all condemned the granting of Woodside’s application under the state’s Aboriginal Heritage Act, which allows work in sand dunes at Walmadany. As far back as 1989, the state’s Department of Aboriginal Sites identified the site as an area of “major” heritage significance, dense with archaeological material, including hearths and bone remains. The area was controversially described as an “unremarkable beach” by Premier Colin Barnett in 2010.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Collier confirmed on Tuesday that Woodside could work in the area, after an application hearing in late December. “The minister has agreed with a recommendation from the Department of Indigenous Affair’s Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC) that section 18 approval be granted for site investigation activities associated with the development of the Browse LNG precinct,” a spokesperson for Mr Collier said.
It is understood the application has been granted on the condition local elders be present to monitor the work. Senator Milne immediately called on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to intervene.”I’m shocked that the West Australian government is allowing such destructive acts to happen,” she said.” Tony Burke has to step in immediately to protect this priceless heritage.”
Locals from the No Gas campaign said the sand dunes and monsoon vine thickets at James Price Point had been recommended for protection by the WA Environmental Protection Authority twice in the past 20 years, but were now deemed suitable for Woodside works. “The Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee accepted it then. It has been ignored by the minister now. They are trying to rewrite history,” said Phillip Roe, law boss of the Goolarabooloo people.
Full article here.


January 2013
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