Bur­rup list­ing in elec­tion spot­light

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr

The co­ex­is­tence of in­dus­try, his­tory, cul­ture and na­ture on the Bur­rup is set to be­come an elec­tion flash­point yet again as calls strengthen to pro­tect the sa­cred rock art on the penin­sula.

A cam­paign has been run­ning for more than a decade to list the penin­sula be­cause of the pres­ence of tens of thou­sands of in­dige­nous rock carv­ings, some of which are be­lieved to be more than 50,000 years old.

Greens Mem­ber for Min­ing and Pas­toral Robin Chap­ple said a re­cent de­ci­sion by the City of Kar­ratha to sup­port a list­ing was wel­come news.

“I’ve been fight­ing to get World Her­itage list­ing for the Bur­rup Penin­sula for the bet­ter part of 20 years and it’s fan­tas­tic to see the coun­cil has thrown its weight be­hind pro­tect­ing this in­cred­i­ble place,” he said.

“The Bur­rup has rock art as old as 30,000 years, and some of the ear­li­est known de­pic­tions of the hu­man face.

“It is the world’s largest and old­est liv­ing gallery and surely wor­thy of such pro­tec­tion.”

“The WA Greens will con­tinue to push for World Her­itage List­ing for the Bur­rup after March 11 and for any pro­posed de­vel­op­ment in the next term of Gov­ern­ment to be moved off the penin­sula for the long-term pro­tec­tion of the rock art.” Lib­eral can­di­date for the Pil­bara Mark Alchin said he was yet to be con­vinced about the need to press ahead with a list­ing, but he would en­gage with stake­hold­ers be­fore taking a for­mal po­si­tion.

“My con­cern is that by World Her­itage-list­ing some­thing you have an­other tier of Gov­ern­ment you have to con­sult with to do things, even from a con­ser­va­tion point of view,” he said. “If it can be proven that by World Her­itage-list­ing the area the cost ben­e­fit is there, then ob­vi­ously it would make sense, but you re­ally have to look at the de­tail first of what ben­e­fit it will actually pro­vide.

“I do think it is im­por­tant we pri­ori­tise and con­serve these as­sets be­cause if we think about in 100 years time when all the iron ore is gone, what do we have to sell in the Pil­bara? Our land­scape and our cul­ture.”

Mr Alchin said he was con­fi­dent there were strong en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards in place for in­dus­try on the Bur­rup.

On a visit to the penin­sula last year, WA Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett said while there was no time­frame in mind, he would like to see the Bur­rup World Her­itage­listed.

La­bor can­di­date Kevin Michel said he saw no rea­son the Bur­rup could not be World Her­itage in the near fu­ture.

“We will try our very best to make sure the Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple are sup­ported in what they want,” he said.

WA Na­tion­als Leader and Pil­bara MLA Bren­don Grylls has sup­ported the push to World Her­itage-list the Bur­rup at sev­eral pub­lic events in the past year.

At an event in Dampier, Mr Grylls told the crowd a her­itage list­ing would be a boon for en­vi­ron­men­tal and in­dige­nous tourism in the re­gion.

Pic­ture: Nic El­lis

Rock art near King Bay on the Bur­rup Penin­sula.

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