Inquiry will reveal state of rock art
I recently attended the second session of the Senate inquiry into protection of Aboriginal rock art on the Burrup Peninsula.
The inquiry was instigated after concerns were raised by the Friends of Australian Rock Art regarding past monitoring of emissions and their effect on the engravings on the Burrup Peninsula.
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation was not invited to attend the original session in Canberra and this oversight was rectified by the holding of a second session in Perth.
This stage of the proceedings concerned the role of Murujuga and the City of Karratha, our attitude to World Heritage Status, our knowledge of monitoring studies and their results, tourism and management.
The issues of human impact on the Burrup, graffiti, and the rapid encroachment of weeds were discussed.
To ordinary sight, there has been no noticeable degradation of the rock art caused by atmospheric conditions and the CSIRO study found none at its monitoring sites.
However, the scope of the original study was limited and did not include, for example, any detailed research to determine what air emission concentrations should be to ensure no degradation of rock art.
The CSIRO stands by its work, but studies can always be improved with bigger budgets and longer time frames.
Whether more research into emissions and their effect on rock art is needed will come out of this inquiry.
The Burrup and its surrounds are vitally important to Aboriginal people, the State and the nation.
It is essential that worldclass management of the national park occurs and appropriate science is employed to ensure the important industry in the region can continue and this gem on our doorstep is preserved for future generations.