In response to the destruction of an Aboriginal heritage site by a mining company over the weekend in the Western Pilbara region, National Native Title Council’s Chief Executive Jamie Lowe stated:

“The destruction of this extremely significant heritage site is devastating and we stand with the Traditional Owners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples, in their grief at this incalculable loss of culture. Their ancestors have protected these sites for tens of thousands of years and they should have been the decision makers about what happened to their heritage.”

“This was allowed by laws of the Western Australian and Commonwealth governments. The Commonwealth government has not provided any legislation to properly standardise protection of Aboriginal culture.  To ensure this doesn’t happen again we need to change the laws that permit such gross destruction. Across the country, Traditional Owners and mining companies often work in partnership but legislative reform is needed to ensure Traditional Owners have greater leverage and power during these negotiations particularly when it effects their culture.”

“More often than not, Traditional Owners are open to discussing economic development happening on their Country. But the destruction of a heritage site against their wishes is indicative of unjust laws. WA’s Aboriginal Heritage Act is currently under review and we would call on the WA government to make these reforms a matter of priority. We also call on the Commonwealth government to nationalise Aboriginal heritage protection standards. For once these heritage sites are gone, they are gone forever.”


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