Aboriginal Heritage – 100% destruction rate from NSW government

Tiddalik the Frog an Awabakal Dreaming StoryWith Aboriginal heritage under assault across the State the Greens are renewing the call for standalone Aboriginal heritage laws in NSW that treat Aboriginal heritage with the respect it deserves as a priceless part of this planet’s oldest continuing culture.

Whether it is destroying ten thousand years of history for a fried chicken outlet in Newcastle, or tearing the heart out of Aboriginal burial grounds and sacred sites in open cut mining, Aboriginal heritage is facing an ongoing crisis in NSW.

Applications to destroy Aboriginal heritage and culture were approved by the NSW government 100% of the time in the last financial year. Each and every one of the 98 permits determined by the Office for Environment and Heritage was approved to allow for the destruction of part of this planet’s oldest continuous cultural heritage.

Not one part of this State’s Aboriginal heritage was thought important enough to stand in the way of development.

It is well and truly time that every party in the NSW parliament stood up and made 2015 different by delivering a package of Aboriginal heritage laws that prize and protect culture and place Aboriginal people at the heart of all decision-making.

NSW is the only state that has not passed standalone legislation for the protection of Aboriginal culture and heritage. Currently Aboriginal heritage laws are contained in the National Parks and Wildlife Act, effectively equating Aboriginal people with flora and fauna and as a matter of principle this needs to be changed.

This is the oldest continuous living culture on the planet and it is being systematically destroyed in NSW, we have a duty to turn that around.

As reported by the ABC:

The New South Wales Greens have expressed concerns about the number of applications approved to destroy Aboriginal artefacts, especially in the Hunter Valley.

The region’s coal mining belt has been identified as a hot spot during a meeting between Greens heritage spokesman David Shoebridge and local Aboriginal representatives at Bulga.

It has prompted the Greens to renew their call for Labor and the Coalition to honour their five-year-old commitment to Aboriginal heritage reform.

Mr Shoebridge said allowing destruction of Aboriginal heritage and culture for development must change.

Greens MP and Heritage spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“It is simply astounding that not a single application to destroy Aboriginal heritage was refused, in the last financial year.

“Not one part of this State’s Aboriginal heritage was thought important enough to stand in the way of development.

“It doesn’t matter what the development is, whether it is a road, a retail complex, a power line or a residential development the permit to destroy is always granted by this government.

“The Greens are calling for fresh legislation to give recognition and respect to Aboriginal people’s rights as custodians of Aboriginal culture heritage and country.

“The best way to do this is to return decision-making power over Aboriginal cultural heritage to Aboriginal people.

“Currently Aboriginal heritage laws are contained in the National Parks and Wildlife Act, effectively equating Aboriginal people with flora and fauna and as a matter of principle, that needs to be changed.

“NSW is the only state that has not passed standalone legislation for the protection of Aboriginal culture and heritage.

“This is the oldest continuous living culture on the planet and it is being systematically destroyed in NSW, we have a duty to turn that around,” Mr Shoebridge said.

The list of developments for which Aboriginal heritage Impact Permits  (AHIP’s) were approved in Sydney can be found here and for the rest of the State here.

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