Parke slams agency over ‘support’ claim

MAIN ROADS has been accused by federal Labor MP Melissa Parke of misleading the public by claiming Aboriginal support for the contentious Roe 8 highway extension.

In a media release announcing WA Aboriginal affairs minister Peter Collier’s approval to damage heritage sites in the Beeliar wetlands, the roads agency thanked traditional owners for their “support” during heritage surveys.

But Ms Parke, the federal Labor MP for Fremantle, says the body that “represents the views and cultural heritage connections of traditional owners” has expressed unanimous opposition to the route.

In fact, Main Roads’ release fails to make any mention at all of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council’s (SWALSC) working party’s opposition to the route through North and Bibra Lakes, a corridor considered one of the most significant Aboriginal heritage sites in the southern suburbs because it contains evidence of campsites, some dating back 5000 years.

For the past couple of years the state’s Aboriginal affairs department has been delisting heritage sites and approving their destruction through Section 18 notices following an interpretation the Aboriginal heritage act doesn’t cover mythology—a view thrown out by the High Court, which ordered the setting aside of a decision to delist Port Hedland harbour.


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