Tra­di­tional own­ers set to be con­sulted

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A Fed­eral Se­nate com­mit­tee in­quiry into the ef­fects of in­dus­trial emis­sions on the rich rock art of the Bur­rup Penin­sula will go into a fol­low-up round of ques­tion­ing from to­mor­row af­ter a Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal cor­po­ra­tion rep­re­sent­ing its tra­di­tional own­ers ques­tioned why they were not con­sulted.

Mu­ru­juga Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion, which rep­re­sents five tra­di­tional owner groups of the Bur­rup, were not among the com­mu­nity and industry groups which pro­vided sub­mis­sions to, or tes­ti­fied at, the ini­tial Se­nate in­quiry hear­ing in mid-Fe­bru­ary, hav­ing only learned of it af­ter ques­tion­ing had been com­pleted.

Mu­ru­juga Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Bon­ney said he wrote a let­ter rais­ing the lack of con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mit­tee in late Fe­bru­ary, shortly af­ter the ini­tial hear­ing.

“We ba­si­cally ex­plained that we felt that we needed to be heard, and as con­se­quence of that there’s a fol­low-up Se­nate dis­cus­sion hap­pen­ing in Perth,” he said. The Se­nate in­quiry is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a claim the science used to sup­port the CSIRO’s cur­rent acid de­po­si­tion limit of 200 mil­liequiv­a­lents per square me­tre a year was flawed, po­ten­tially putting the penin­sula’s gallery of an­cient Abo­rig­i­nal pet­ro­glyphs at risk of dam­age from air pol­lu­tion.

WA Greens sen­a­tor Rachel Siew­ert, who called the in­quiry, said the com­mit­tee had wanted to hear from MAC and con­tacted the cor­po­ra­tion be­fore the first hear­ing but had not heard back in time.

“Now they’ve been in con­tact, a num­ber of us raised it with the com­mit­tee and the com­mit­tee for­tu­itously were go­ing to be in Perth, and so we could ar­range a hear­ing,” she said.

“(It will be of ben­e­fit to the com­mit­tee) hear­ing from the cus­to­di­ans of the area, par­tic­u­larly talk­ing about how they feel about the knowl­edge cen­tre, how they feel about the pro­tec­tion of the pet­ro­glyphs and any po­ten­tial im­pact on the pet­ro­glyphs from the var­i­ous sources of pol­lu­tion up there.” MAC was at time of print the only group con­firmed to tes­tify at the sec­ond hear­ing.

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