State Budget provides $11 million boost for Murujuga National Park
Media statement from:

  • Hon Reece Whitby MLA, Minister for Environment; Climate Action
  • Hon Dr Tony Buti MLA, Minister for Finance; Racing and Gaming; Aboriginal Affairs; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Additional $11 million for enhancement and management of Murujuga National Park

  • Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program expanded to be one of the most comprehensive studies in the world
  • Traditional Custodians endorse expanded program that has more monitoring sites
  • McGowan Government is committed to delivering positive outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities

The McGowan Labor Government is expanding the Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program to make it one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind ever undertaken anywhere in the world and delivering an additional $11 million for the Murujuga National Park.

The 2022-23 State Budget will include $11 million of new funding for the enhancement and management of the Murujuga National Park.

This funding includes $1.6 million to support the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation’s (MAC) central role in overseeing the monitoring program and the formal training of two Aboriginal Rangers.

A further $9.3 million has also been allocated to construct a bridge required to access the Murujuga National Park.

This is in addition to the $15 million previously committed towards the construction of the access road and visitor facilities at the national park to boost tourism and support the management of islands on the Dampier Archipelago, increasing employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people.

The McGowan Government has also returned 221 hectares of former industrial land to the national park to be jointly managed with MAC.

The Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program recently reached another important milestone with the publication of the Monitoring Studies Data Collection and Analysis Plan, which includes an increase to the number of study locations and the scope of scientific studies.

Murujuga (the Burrup Peninsula and surrounding islands), 25 kilometres west of Karratha, is home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of rock art (petroglyphs) on Earth. The petroglyphs are of immense cultural and spiritual significance to Aboriginal people, and of State, national and international importance.

MAC and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation have worked together to approve the new monitoring plan, which details the scope of the scientific studies and monitoring required to understand any potential changes to the internationally significant rock art on Murujuga.

The plan was reviewed by the Murujuga Circle of Elders to ensure sites are culturally appropriate.

Development of the plan included significant stakeholder engagement and extensive peer review by national and international experts. MAC rangers are working alongside scientists on country to undertake monitoring. This will help MAC transition to a central role in managing the Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program and support local jobs for Aboriginal people.

The monitoring program now covers an area of more than 50,000 hectares, including islands of the Dampier Archipelago.

The number of passive air quality monitors has increased from 10 to 18 and real-time powered monitoring stations have been included.

The monitoring program is funded by Rio Tinto, Woodside and Yara Pilbara through a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:

“The State Government is committed to working with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation to protect the rock art on Murujuga and more broadly, to protect and enhance the State’s environmental heritage values and assets.

“The Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program is an important component of the management framework required for World Heritage listing to support co-existence between industry and Aboriginal cultural values on Murujuga.”

Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Tony Buti:

“Every aspect of the Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program has been respectfully co-designed and guided by the cultural law, knowledge and practices of the Murujuga Circle of Elders.

“The McGowan Government is committed to ensuring positive outcomes and to improving training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people and their communities.”

Comments attributed to Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Officer Peter Jeffries:

“The Murujuga Rock Art Monitoring Program is building the collective technical capability and skills of the Murujuga Rangers in data collection and sharing, sustainable environmental and cultural land monitoring, and management activities.

“The monitoring program’s thorough and wide-ranging scientific analysis of the impact of industry on the rock art will ensure this culturally and spiritually significant asset is preserved for future generations.”