Todays Bittersweet announcement by the Barnett Western Australian Government of the proclaimation of some of the Burrup as a National Park is as wilfully mischevous as any previous State or Federal Government response to an Australian Indigenous issue.
The proclamation is tantamount to preserving one and a half of the Egyptian pyramids and allowing the preserved area to be overpowered by a city of skyscrapers.
56% of the One Million piece plus Ancient Burrup Rock Art conserve will not be included in the National Park.The area excluded includes all of the Dampier archipalego islands which feature some of the most sacred of the Burrup Rock Art collection.
West Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion said when releasing the draft management plan "The Burrup peninsula is internationally renowned for its ancient aboriginal Rock Art and has the biggest 'gallery' with the highest concentration of engravings of any known site in the world". Logic would suggest that with that admission comes a decision to preserve ALL of the area, not a 5000 hectare synopsis selected at whim by a government with a side vision on what the local community want and a focus on the Short term needs of international capital interests. Excluded is 14% of the already gazetted Dampier Archipalego National Heritage Place.
Preliminary concerns about the management plan ( Murujuga Land Council & State Government joint management) include:
That the Murujuga Land Council may be forced to sign away the right to assert for protection of the areas left out of the National Park.
That the Land Council will be subservient to NPWS/other government laws and methods which promote institutionally dictated practices over local knowledge. It is local knowledge which has kept the Burrup environment pristine for millenia.
The creation of the National Park is linked to an earlier Native title agreement and sees the Land handed back to the traditiinal owners on the condition that they lease it back to government.
Occupy Sydney have joined with the Ngarda Narli elders via the international Stand Up For The Burrup Campaign which calls for World Heritage listing of the site. We hope that campaign continues. Neither State nor Federal Governments of Labor or Liberal/Coalition deserve to be trusted on the care and protection of such an important and unique historical treasure