Question on damage to Adnyamathanha heritage site

In Parliament, Questions

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:12): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Treasurer representing the Premier in his role as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation on the topic of a damaged Adnyamathanha Aboriginal heritage site.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Works are being undertaken around the Akurra Adnya (Arkaroo Rock) in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, and I am informed that they have badly damaged an Aboriginal site. This Aboriginal site consists of the painting site, plus the area in a radius of some five kilometres around that painting site.

That site consists of graves, birthing sites, camps, men’s sites, women’s sites, artefacts and the cultural tracks used for thousands of years in occupation of this area. I am informed that no authorisation was obtained from the Premier as the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation to damage, interfere or destroy this large site as is required under the Aboriginal Heritage Act. That information comes to me from representatives of the Adnyamathanha Heritage Association who have put out a media release.

They have stated that they were not consulted and, indeed, elders have noted that they are very distressed to see the destruction that has been caused to this site. I understand that they have written to the Premier to ask what has happened. They stated:

National Parks appear to have breached the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act.

No respect has been shown to the Elders who know this area well and are able to identify graves and birthing sites.

They have also sought the immediate cessation of construction works and damage at the site. My question to the Premier is: will the Premier now urgently intervene to cease construction works and damage to this Adnyamathanha heritage site, and what redress will be taken with regard to the national parks action in this matter?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (15:14): I will refer the honourable member’s question to the Premier and bring back a reply.