Michelle Roberts

Michelle Roberts

Minister for Housing and Works; Indigenous Affairs; Heritage; Land Information

    Minister applauds verdict on desecration of indigenous heritage site

    14/12/2007 5:30 PM

    Indigenous Affairs Minister Michelle Roberts has welcomed a recent decision by the Magistrate’s Court to fine the Westralia Airports Corporation for damaging an Aboriginal heritage site.

    Westralia, the operating company for the Perth Airport, was fined $10,000 for excavating on a significant Aboriginal site on airport land, without prior permission or approval.

    The excavations were conducted in order to develop the Coles Myer Distribution Centre.

    Mrs Roberts said the ruling was a landmark decision which reinforced the State Government’s commitment to protecting Aboriginal heritage sites in Western Australia.

    “The successful prosecution under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 serves as a strong warning to everyone that illegal activity on a site will not be tolerated,” she said.

    “The State Government encourages people to take Aboriginal heritage into consideration when planning developments and use their best efforts to avoid impacting on any sites.

    “However, where such impact is unavoidable, it is imperative that consent is sought before excavating or removing anything from an Aboriginal site.”

    The Minister also applauded the Department of Indigenous Affairs for bringing the matter before the courts.

    “The department’s actions clearly demonstrate their commitment towards protecting Aboriginal heritage throughout the State,” she said.

    “A key role of the department is to work closely with Aboriginal people to maintain and preserve Aboriginal sites, while also engaging with the community to promote reconciliation and respect for Aboriginal history, heritage and culture.”

    Mrs Roberts said she encouraged everyone to observe all legislation and protocols to ensure the continued preservation of WA’s Aboriginal sites.

    “Respect for our State’s Aboriginal people and their rich heritage and cultures is of utmost importance,” she said.

    For further information on the protection of Aboriginal sites, visit the department’s website at http://www.dia.wa.gov.au

    Minister's Office - 9213 6600