Sacred sites may now have some protection ... but First Nations people remain vigilant

Western Australian Cultuiral Heritage sites

There are thousands of important cultural heritage sites in Western Australia and many of them are protected, some are high profile sites, like the one's inserted here but other significant sacred sites are not so obvious to outsiders. However it is just as important to protect and respect them all and the finding by the Supreme Court in WA this week has seen fit to recognise the importance of these sites too.

The precedent set by the Western Australian Supreme Court this week was an important step in the right direction. This appears to make it much harder for the Barnett government to quickly move forward with one of it's acts of Genocide against the First Nations and Peoples by removing the protection status of hundred's of cultural heritage sites.
 
These treacherous acts against our peoples survival are very real and are designed to clear the land for the mega-rich Multi-national mining companies. Tony Abbott and Colin Barnett want to mine the Kimberley and see it as the 'New Pilbara'. A Perth company that Warren Mundine is heavily involved in, is planning to build a multi-million dollar Wharf near Derby, West Kimberley, to ship all the millions of tons of minerals out of the country.
 
The Abbott and Barnett governments are all up to their necks in Genocide, causing heartbreak for our Homelands brothers and sisters and making themselves and their mates mega-rich.

Supreme Court of Western Australian
The Supreme Court of Western Australia

Victoria Laurie The Australian 1 April 2015


Justice John Chaney

The Barnett government's power to remove hundreds of Aboriginal sites from the state's heritage register has been thrown into doubt by a landmark test case handed down in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The court has quashed a decision by the WA Liberal government’s powerful Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee to deregister the land and sea surrounding the iron ore export hub of Port Hedland as an Aboriginal sacred site, in a test case that creates uncertainty about the toughening stance on sacred sites.

Last night Justice John Chaney referred the case back to the committee.

The committee had recommended to WA indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Collier that land and waters around parts of Port Hedland port should no longer be considered an Aboriginal sacred site.

The case, which involves the world’s largest iron ore export port at Port Hedland in the Pilbara, saw Eddie Mabo’s former barrister lawyer Greg McIntyre arguing that the state had wrongly removed an Aboriginal site from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs heritage register, even though it had been accepted onto the register in 2009.

In 2013, Aboriginal custodians Kerry and Diana Robinson were told that the site had been delisted under a revised definition of a ‘sacred site’ that says there must be evidence of ‘religious activity’. By delisting a site, protection is removed and no ministerial approval is needed to destroy it.

Industrial development is planned by BHP Billiton and Port Hedland port for a new ship-loading site within the port. The custodians claimed it would involve dredging and destruction of culturally-sensitive mangrove and fishing areas.

Mr McIntyre said the judgment threw into doubt hundreds of decisions to delist Aboriginal heritage sites. The Australian Archaeological Association estimates that DAA has reduced the number of heritage registrations from around 85 per cent of nominated sites to only six per cent in the last two years. Many other sites have been delisted, and so no longer qualify for protection.