Friends of Australian Rock Art is truly pleased that Premier Barnett has promised that, if re-elected, he would push for World Heritage listing for Murujuga.
However, we wonder why he did not go ahead over twelve months ago. Back then, at a Commonwealth meeting, WA had the opportunity to nominate sites for UNESCO’s World Heritage tentative list. Victoria, among others, did nominate a site, which might now become the first Australian site to make it into the World Heritage list solely for its Aboriginal merits. So, if as stated in WA Today’s article, the Premier is “calling for the Burrup Peninsula to be the first cultural site in Australia to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status” it’s too late, Mr. Barnett. Coming second would not be bad either, as pre-European heritage deserves to be celebrated.
WA Labor, what will you do?
We now wonder if WA Labor will match Colin Barnett’s public commitment to nominate the Burrup rock art for UNESCO World Heritage Listing. Mark McGowan’s quoted response to the WHL announcement somehow appears lukewarm: “If elected, we will be in a position to see what work, if any, has been done on progressing the work of the previous Labor Government [on protecting the Burrup]. WA Labor will then be in a position to assess what further steps need to be taken.”
As far as FARA is concerned, we can only wish that politicians did not take Aboriginal culture and heritage into consideration only when it comes to election times. Heritage matters every single day, and to First Nations its safeguarding is a crucial part of their communities’s wellbeing.