Recognition of cultural heritage 234 years overdue


The government’s response to ‘A Way Forward: Final report into the destruction of Indigenous heritage sites at Juukan Gorge’ is welcomed by The Greens, but the need for cohesive First Nations cultural heritage laws shouldn’t have taken global outrage at legal desecration to be acknowledged.

Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson for resources Yamatji-Noongar Woman Senator Dorinda Cox:

“It is disappointing to hear the government didn’t consult with the Traditional Owners before tabling their response to the reports. It seems the Minister is more concerned with positive media than consulting the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and building “genuine partnerships” through listening and learning.

“I asked in estimates whether the government would adopt recommendation 1 of the ‘A Way Forward’ report. I am disheartened to hear this is not the case. I don’t know how they can claim to respect First Nations culture when the ultimate say doesn’t lie with the Indigenous Minister.

“Senator Thorpe’s bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) must be fast-tracked if the government wants to “do better”.

“Stopping manufactured consent is paramount, as is consulting all stakeholders - this was highlighted in the recent ruling against Santos for failing to consult with all Traditional Owners regarding their Barossa Gas project.

“If the world hadn’t shown outrage at Rio Tinto’s actions, would there still be a push from Labor to reform cultural heritage laws? 

“The Minister has the opportunity now to prevent another disaster by protecting the Murujuga artwork and seven sisters songline that are currently under threat.”