Federal ministers must stop destruction of ancient artefacts by Roe 8 if State Government refuses

The Greens have called on the Federal Government to use powers under Commonwealth Aboriginal heritage legislation to protect ancient artefacts that will be destroyed by Roe 8.

“Thanks to the recent investigation by Traditional Owners and senior WA archaeologists, it is now known that many significant artefacts are likely to lie just below the surface of where the highway is proposed to be built,” Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said.

“Some of the chert artefacts that have been found are at least 5,000 years old, making them older than the Pyramids and the entirety of western civilisation.

“These artefacts will be lost forever unless someone in Government regains a vestige of civic responsibility and requires a proper archaeological investigation to occur in the Roe 8 development zone before more work is done.

“Transport Minister Bill Marmion has so far ignored Traditional Owners’ requests to be allowed to go in and record and recover the artefacts almost certain to be there.

“This is despite the fact that it is usual practice for Main Roads and other Government agencies to require archaeological investigations if there is evidence to show artefacts may be there; Fiona Stanley Hospital now showcases artefacts that were found as result of such work.

“If Barnett’s Cabinet won’t listen to reason on Roe 8 then it behoves the Federal ministers for Indigenous Affairs and Environment to step in.

“Neither Minister has yet responded satisfactorily to submissions made in late 2016 by Traditional Owner Corina Abraham and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council for ministers to use their respective powers under the Federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Heritage Protection Act protect the heritage of the Wetlands.”