In­quiry will re­veal state of rock art

Pilbara News - - Opinion - Peter Long Peter Long is the City of Kar­ratha Mayor

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.

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