Inquiry told art at risk
The Burrup Peninsula’s gallery of Aboriginal rock art could be lost within generations if nothing is done to save it, scientists have told a Parliamentary inquiry.
More than a million petroglyphs depicting the Ngurra Nyujunggamu — the soft time of creation — sit uncomfortably close to industry on the peninsula. The Senate’s environment and communications committee is investigating State and Federal Government conditions regulating industry near the collection of rock art, which is registered on the National Heritage List.
The inquiry comes after revelations that errors by the CSIRO may have placed the rock art at risk. Professor John Black, a former deputy divisional chief at the CSIRO, told the inquiry corrosive emissions from nearby industry would have damaging impacts on the engravings.
He argued the CSIRO should withdraw its recommended maximum acid emission levels for the rock art, as the science on which the recommendation was based was not appropriate.
Stockholm Environment Institute’s Johan Kuylenstierna said part of his research that had been used to set the acid deposition levels “should be withdrawn” by the CSIRO.
However, CSIRO research group leader Melita Keywood said the research was the best information available to the agency at the time.