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Federal standard essential on First Nations cultural heritage

Media Release
Dorinda Cox 29 Nov 2021

The Greens have called on the Western Australian Government to delay the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill until the national standard is agreed to by the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance announced by the Government today.

Yamatji Noongar woman and Greens Senator for WA Dorinda Cox said the national body would establish a true co-design process for law reform that would genuinely protect cultural heritage, not become another permit to damage, which the proposed WA Bill will continue to do.

“If the Western Australian Government were serious about co-designing reformative cultural heritage, then they must adopt this process for establishing a national heritage standard,” Senator Cox said.

“It would go part of the way in closing the gap for First Nations people in Australia without creating more cultural heritage rubble as we saw with Juukan Gorge.

“The Commonwealth Government must set a national heritage standard which would also protect current and future sites such as the ancient Murujuga rock art.

“This 30,000 year old site is now in danger of being completely disintegrated by the acid gasses that will be emitted from the unnecessary and destructive Scarborough gas project.

“We need Federal oversight to stop the States from running rampant over cultural heritage sites for what is in the best interest of the State. There must be a balance.”

 

Lines attributable to The Greens spokesperson for Justice and First Nations: Gunnai, Gunditjmara and DjabWurrung Senator Lidia Thorpe: 

“What’s the point of an Inquiry if you ignore its findings? The Senate Inquiry into the destruction of the Juukan Gorge was clear: we need a national framework for First Nations heritage protection," she said.

“WA Labor hasn’t done the work. They haven’t consulted with the people. They’re not listening when Traditional Owners try to negotiate with them.

“First Nations people deserve the right to self-determine our own destiny, which means making decisions for ourselves, which we know work. The McGowan Government must listen to the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance and follow their lead.”

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