ACT Greens welcome heritage changes; call for sacred scarred trees protection


The ACT Greens have lobbied for improvements that would help protect scarred trees of cultural significance to Canberra’s Ngunnawal community - especially after two of the trees were felled last year – and today welcomed legal changes that will improve protections.

“The Greens acknowledge that First Nations People have a unique relationship with the land that their rights and obligations as custodians must be respected,” Greens Planning spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said today.

“I was saddened to hear about the felling of two scarred trees last year in Wanniassa. I know local Aboriginal people who are distressed at the loss.

“The incidents revealed weaknesses in the ACT laws which needed to be fixed. We support today’s Heritage Act changes that will help ensure situations like this are less likely to happen again.

“We also call on the ACT Government to mark or formally recognise the former locations of the lost trees.  One of the trunks still exists and I hope the Government will work with local Aboriginal people on the best way to look after it in future.”

Today’s changes to the Heritage Act will:

- allow the Heritage Council to order people to repair damage they have done to heritage;
- allow the Heritage Council to intervene when there is an immediate threat of damage, not just after damage has been done;
- allow the Heritage Council to intervene where damage is smaller in nature but still important.  Previously, this was limited to “serious” damage.

ACT Greens – commitment to reconciliation

The ACT Greens last year successfully realised a motion that will see Canberra’s local Indigenous Ngunnawal language formally introduced into the proceedings of the ACT’s Parliament.

The Offices of Shane Rattenbury and Caroline Le Couteur MLAs have also formalised their continued  commitment to reconciliation through a Reconciliation Action Plan.

Statement ends
Lisa Wills                M 0481 035 764         E