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9 July 2007
Australian ancient rock art to be heritage listed

Australian Federal Heritage Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced  that thousands of rare indigenous rock carvings on the Burrup Peninsula in north western Australia will be placed on the national heritage list. The protection of the Burrup rock art near Karratha is a sensitive issue with the Western Australian and federal governments. For a long time government officials have unsuccessfully attempted to balance the need for environmental heritage protection with business development. However following a comprehensive assessment, Mr Turnbull believes the heritage listing strikes the right balance between heritage protection and development.
     The 240 square-kilometer (150 sq mile) area in the Dampier Archipelago to be placed on the national heritage list, include 99 per cent of the land where the rock carvings once existed. West Australian legislation will continue to protect rock art on the remaining one per cent of land. Companies will work around sites of high heritage value, in those cases where this is not possible the art will be relocated in consultation with indigenous communities. However thousands of unique carvings have already been destroyed or moved to make way for a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas plant in the area.

Source: AHN (3 July 2007)

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