The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on the topic of Aboriginal heritage laws and the Riverlea estate in Buckland Park.
Under section 23 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, it is an offence to damage, disturb or interfere with an Aboriginal site, object or remains without an authorisation from the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. On 12 July, footage emerged on social media showing the discovery of human remains found at the new Riverlea estate in the Walker Buckland Park development in the north of Adelaide.
Shortly after, I wrote to your office on 14 July requesting that you, as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, authorise an immediate cease of work and undertake all necessary investigations to ensure the protection of these remains with the guidance of traditional owners. I am still awaiting a response to that correspondence, although I do know that things did unfold in the media. My questions to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs are:
1. Can you please update the council on the actions that have been taken to protect these remains?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): I thank the honourable member for her question and her interest in this area. I will follow up on the correspondence. I apologise if something hasn't been responded to properly. I will certainly follow that up for the honourable member. There are, as the honourable member has indicated, applications on foot under the Aboriginal Heritage Act, particularly under section 23.
As the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, I am the decision-maker in relation to that application, so I will be choosing words rather carefully so that there is no possibility I could be prejudging the outcome in terms of an application under the Aboriginal Heritage Act. I expect within the next few months to receive a full report from my department with the results of consultations and submissions made in relation to that application.
I can inform the honourable member, however, that in late April this year my department received notification that Aboriginal ancestral remains had been discovered during project works. I am advised that Forensic Science SA made the determination that the discovery was Aboriginal historic remains. A number of sets of Aboriginal ancestral remains, I am informed, have now been discovered at that Riverlea site.
Certainly myself, through many conversations, and particularly my department, through their team, have been working very closely with the Kaurna community, largely through their native title body, the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC) to ensure they are managed appropriately. I am informed this has included processes to enable representatives of KYAC, the native title holders, to enter the burial site to be able to retrieve Aboriginal remains from the location in order for those remains to be properly protected and properly secured.
I am advised that there are now no works being undertaken in the area where remains have been found, and I have said there is an application under section 23 on foot from the developer, and I know there are consultations that have occurred and that continue to occur. I understand that there is, upcoming, a Kaurna community meeting facilitated by KYAC, the native title-holding group, in the coming weeks as part of what KYAC's view is about further works and protection of their heritage.