Statement regarding government response to Juukan Gorge report

Save our Songlines

Thursday 24 November – 9.00 am Murujuga

Mardudhunera woman Raelene Cooper, a Murujuga traditional custodian and spokeswoman for Save our Songlines, said:

“The government response to the report into the destruction of Juukan Gorge comes while we await a report for government about the ongoing damage and desecration happening to sacred Murujuga rock art.

“Similar destruction to what occurred at Juukan Gorge is happening right now and every single day, as emissions from the Burrup Hub degrade the Murujuga rock art.

“The desecration of Murujuga is happening right now under the exact same weak laws that allowed Juukan Gorge to be destroyed.

“The Minister has a chance to step in and offer real protection in response to our Section 10 application.

“How the Minister addresses our concerns will be the test to see if things have really changed when it comes to protecting First Nations heritage.

“More than 750 submissions have already been made as part of the Section 10 process, including detailed scientific submissions from experts whose latest research provides timely evidence of the significant damage being done to our sacred Murujuga rock art by emissions from these plants.

“Our cultural submissions and the submissions of scientific and archaeological experts come to the same conclusion: We need permanent protections to limit the long term impact of emissions, and we need to prevent the immediate removal of rock art to facilitate these projects.

“However, the refusal to grant a previous emergency application against the Perdaman fertiliser plant allows for immediate damage and desecration of our sacred Murujuga rock art while this assessment is still underway and shows why the current legislation is inadequate.

“This is a contradictory position from the government that makes no sense and reveals the hypocrisy at the heart of all consultation with traditional custodians, including ongoing gag clauses that stop us objecting to industry on the Burrup.

“The community will be outraged if this allows for another Juukan Gorge while the Section 10 assessment is still ongoing, and we await the government’s response to ensure sacred Murujuga heritage is protected before it’s too late.

“We want our voices to be heard when we say our country must be protected.”

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