Tanya Plibersek urged to protect Indigenous rock art up to 50,000 years old by blocking fertiliser plant

The Guardian Australia
Nino Bucci
Tue 7 Jun 2022

Previous environment minister, Sussan Ley, declined to issue emergency protection to halt $4.5bn development on Western Australia’s Burrup peninsula

The incoming federal environment minister has been urged to block the construction of a fertiliser plant on a world heritage-nominated site in Western Australia, and to act swiftly to stop the multinational company behind the plans from removing Indigenous rock art.

Perdaman is planning a $4.5bn plant on the Burrup Peninsula, in the Pilbara region. The plant, which is strongly supported by the state government and was backed by the former federal government, will require the removal of Aboriginal art produced over a period starting about 50,000 years ago.

Cooper, a Mardudhunera woman and member of the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, and Alec, a Kuruma/Marthudhunera woman who is also a Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation member, sent a fresh application for emergency protection on Monday to incoming environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, and Indigenous affairs minister, Linda Burney.

Cooper and Alec have called for Plibersek to urgently protect four petroglyphs that Perdaman plans to move, noting that the two-month timeframe the company provided to Ley had passed.

The pair also said the plant should not be built on Murujuga country, as it poses a serious risk of desecrating their land. If it was to be built, it should be moved from Burrup Peninsula, as acidic emissions from the plant would damage petroglyphs in the area even after they’re moved.

Read the full story