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Question: Flinders Ranges World Heritage Nomination

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:42): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs representing the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, a question on the topic of the Flinders Ranges World Heritage nomination.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: In early 2021, the Flinders Ranges were nominated for a tentative listing as a World Heritage site with UNESCO, with our processes to be finalised by February 2024 in terms of lodgement. Over 600 million years old, the Flinders Ranges is one of Australia's magnificent landscapes. The Adnyamathanha people are the traditional owners and custodians of this diverse landscape, which is world renowned for its wealth of natural, cultural significance, historic and scenic values.

In 2016, the oldest known evidence of Aboriginal settlement was also discovered, in a rock shelter within the Flinders Ranges at a site called Warratyi. It contains the first reliably dated evidence of human interaction with megafauna. Dating of the artefacts and fossil finds show that humans occupied this site somewhere between 46,000 to 49,000 years ago. The previous oldest known site in the arid zone, located at Puritjarra, in Western Central Australia, is around 38,000 years old, so this is quite significant.

The operational guidelines for implementing the World Heritage Convention now call on state parties to include greater consideration and involvement of Indigenous peoples in all phases of World Heritage practice, from tentative listing and nomination through to management and monitoring of a listed property. In particular paragraph 123 of the operational guidelines says:

States Parties are encouraged to prepare nominations with the widest possible participation of stakeholders and to demonstrate, as appropriate, that the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples has been obtained, through, inter alia making the nominations publicly available in appropriate languages and public consultations and hearings.

It follows, then, that the active involvement of Adnyamathanha peoples in the consultation process for the Flinders Ranges nomination is critical in demonstrating that free, prior and informed consent for the nomination. Therefore, my questions to the minister are:

1. What consultation has the department undertaken with Adnyamathanha traditional owners in relation to their cultural heritage in the Flinders Ranges?

2. How will cultural values be included and appropriately reflected in the World Heritage nomination?

3. What further consideration is being given in broadening the scope and including Aboriginal heritage sites, such as Warratyi, in the World Heritage nomination?


The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:44): I thank the honourable member for her question. Obviously, in relation to what the Deputy Premier's departments, in preparation for World Heritage nomination, have done, I will need to take some advice on that and bring back a reply for the honourable member, which I will do. I do know that the Minister for Environment and Water has a very deep interest in, and respect for, Aboriginal heritage and Aboriginal culture. It is something I discuss with her regularly.

Frequently, on the couple of times that I haven't been in South Australia, and on leave, the Hon. Susan Close has acted as the acting Aboriginal affairs minister on my behalf, so I know it is something she takes extraordinarily seriously and I know that the department that is responsible also has a deep commitment, and also experience, in consultation with Aboriginal people, Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal nations. There are a number of national parks, for example, that are in co-management arrangements around South Australia, including on the Yorke Peninsula and including, I think, in the Flinders Ranges, so I certainly will pass those onto the minister in another place to bring back a reply to those questions.

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