World Heritage listing of Burrup Peninsula rock art edges closer with nomination process starting

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ABC North West WA 28 August 2018

Susan Standen and Sonia Feng

“Our rock art has got to be looked after — it’s our bible.”

‘A landmark agreement over a future World Heritage listing of the Burrup Peninsula’s ancient rock art has been signed by the West Australian Government and the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation.

‘The WA Premier, state ministers, Indigenous stakeholders and Pilbara communities gathered on Monday to begin the process of nominating the site for World Heritage listing.

‘The boundary of the nomination area will not be decided until the final stages of the nomination process, possibly in 2022.

‘It could prove to be controversial, given the industrial interests that currently reside there as well as new industrial plants slated for the area in the near future by the WA Government.

‘”It meets so many criteria,” Mining and Pastoral MP Robin Chapple said.

‘”You only need one criterion for World Heritage listing, and in the advice to Malcolm Turnbull who was the then-Heritage Minister in 2007, the department identified that this place alone met four of the criteria, and is most probably the only place in the world that does that.

‘”Five million people view the Lascaux caves in France [every year] and it generates the income for the whole region, so if it’s done properly, it’s a massive cash cow.

‘”But it’s got to be done properly, it’s got to be done respectfully, it’s got to be done quite clearly with Indigenous custodians.”

‘Wilfred Hicks, a Wong-Goo-Tt-oo elder with Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma roots, said he still held concerns for rock art on the Burrup Peninsula despite new efforts to protect it.

‘The Dampier Archipelago has more than 1 million carvings on land with close proximity to industry.

‘Mr Hicks said any future industry needs should be located away from the site.

‘”Rock art can’t coincide with industry,” he said.

‘”Our rock art has got to be looked after — it’s our bible.”‘


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