NSWALC Applauds Hertiage Fight

NSWALC applauds Tasmanian hertiage fight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 12, 2010

The New south Wales Aboriginal Land Council has voiced its staunch disapproval of the destruction of priceless Aboriginal cultural heritage in Tasmania.

This follows a recent report by Tasmania's director of National Parks, Kim Evans, which has effectively brought the Brighton bypass project a step closer to being built across a world significant 14 ha Aboriginal heritage site north of Hobart.

Mr Evans's report described the bypass project as, 'critical infrastructure for the state.'

Although recent media reports have suggested Mr Evans' decision has been influenced heavily by the state's Environment Department.

Chairwoman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), Bev Manton, says she's saddened by the findings of the report, believing it to be severely short on integrity.

"NSWALC agree wholeheartedly with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre's (TAC) Michael and Nala Mansell, that this recommendation works only to destroy Aboriginal heritage, disempowering Aboriginal people," she said.

"Aboriginal heritage is an issue for all Australians, and one the first peoples of this country demand carriage of.

"Our culture and heritage is critically important to us. Be it a world significant campsite in Tasmania, rock art on the Burrup Peninsula, or middens on the east coast of NSW.

"I find it astounding the Bartlett government would push to build a four lane freeway through the world's oldest known site of human inhabitation in the southern hemisphere, all in the name of saving a whopping 8 minutes driving time.

"Such an act is a staggering legacy to leave the good people of Tasmania.

"That said, I find it hard to believe the same fate would befall the Port Arthur Historic Site or the Woolmers Estate," Ms Manton said.

"This is precisely the reason NSWALC has consistently called for the establishment of an Aboriginal Heritage Commission here in NSW.

"Independent Aboriginal heritage legislation would recognise Aboriginal control and ownership of our heritage.

"The happenings in Tasmania right now highlight the urgent need for this brand of reform.

"Without those controls in place, Aboriginal people across the country will forever remain victim to grubby backroom deals, such as those currently underway in Tasmania.

"Again NSWALC applauds the good work of the Mansells and the TAC in fighting to protect the rich history of the oldest continuing culture on earth," Ms Manton said.

CONTACT: Chris Munro at NSWALC on 0438 760 242