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Legislate cultural heritage protections!

Since the strong recommendations of the inquiry into the destruction at Juukan Gorge were handed down, nothing has been done to ensure it never happens again.

But with the final sitting week of the year upon us, we still have time to make sure the demands of First Nations people are in front of decision makers, calling on them to legislate a Federal Cultural Heritage Act that protects sacred sites, including giving Traditional Owners the right to veto destruction.

It's our last opportunity to make these demands a reality. But politicians with the power to stand behind First Nations communities and drive this legislative change need to be hearing from their constituents about it.

Tomorrow, we will be at Parliament House, delivering this petition. Will you add your name?
In the aftermath of Rio Tinto's destruction Traditional Owners right across the country are exposing the scale of cultural heritage that is at risk - it's clear this is a national problem.

In NSW Traditional Owners are now locked in legal battle against Shenhua Energy, the world's largest thermal coal company, to stop them destroying ancient Aboriginal Artifacts with their open-cut mine.

BHP revealed plans to desecrate up to 40 (they have earmarked 80) 15,000 year old Aboriginal sites to expand its Pilbara mine.

This is a crisis impacting all states across the country, immediate action is needed to prevent further destruction.

This wilful destruction has been facilitated through weakened state and federal Aboriginal Heritage & Native title Acts. For decades governments have amended this legislation to serve mining corporations' financial gain. At the same time ignoring First Nations people who are criticising the current legislation for:

  • Not giving Traditional Owners a right to appeal.

  • Being carefully crafted in favour of development interests.

  • Requiring developers to ask permission to destroy sacred sites with approvals routinely granted usually without all of the information.

If agreement is not reached these corporations can then pursue compulsory acquisition.

Now Traditional Owners are concerned that developers will attempt to fast-track the section 18 approvals prior to the implementation of the new legislation.

Will you stand with Traditional Owners and make sure these attacks on Aboriginal cultural heritage and sacred country never happen again?

Australia is home to the oldest continuing culture in the world and some of the most significant sites in the world. It is everyone's responsibility to stand up for Aboriginal culture and significant sites.
Here's what it needs to look like:

  • This new law must be co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • The law must be a Federal law not a state law to avoid confusion of who has the power.

  • Investment in a review of all Aboriginal Heritage areas that would turn into a national register of sacred sites.

  • Power for Traditional Owners' custodial responsibility for cultural heritage to refuse to permit development impacting on cultural heritage.

  • Harsher penalties for companies who destroy cultural heritage.

ADD YOUR NAME HERE!

To all Senators and Members of Parliament,

We demand you adopt in full the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the destruction of Juukan Gorge, and legislate a Federal Cultural Heritage Act!




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