LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
MEMBER FOR BARTON
TERRI BUTLER MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH
SENATOR PATRICK DODSON
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR RECONCILIATION
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Morrison Government has questions to answer over what it knew prior to the destruction of Aboriginal heritage sites in the Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto.
On Friday, Burchell Hayes, Director of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Aboriginal Corporation and head of its Kurruma Land Committee, said that his organisation contacted the Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt’s office about the impending mining blasts.
He was directed by Minister Wyatt’s office to contact Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley.
BURCHELL HAYES: Our lawyers had reached out to Minister Wyatt’s office and was given guidance around what that next step may look like. And part of that was to get in contact with Minister Sussan Ley’s office. And that attempt was made. And from my understanding – and we’re still waiting for Minister Ley’s office to give us guidance or instructions or speak to our lawyers around what that next step is.
HAMISH MCDONALD: So just to be clear. You went to Ken Wyatt. He pointed you to Sussan Ley. You went to Sussan Ley and you’re still waiting to hear back from Sussan Ley.
HAYES: We’ve had conversations with Minister Ley and Minister Wyatt during the week. And that was a question raised by our corporation. When we did go to Minister Ley’s office, there was instructions that Minister Ley’s office was going to return a call to our lawyers.
MCDONALD: And they didn’t?
HAYES: As far as I’m aware, that did not occur.
Burchell Hayes on ABC RN Breakfast – Friday, 5 June 2020
The Morrison Government has questions to answer.
- When did each minister learn about the pending mine blast?
- What was their response, if any?
- What powers did the government have to provide relief to the Traditional Owners including under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cth)?
It is simply not good enough that cultural heritage like this can be so easily destroyed in Australia. It has taken something very precious away from the traditional owners, from all Australians and the world.
Governments need to do more to makes sure the cultural heritage of First Nations Australians is respected and protected.