The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:05): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs a question regarding Aboriginal heritage and the Buckland Park
housing development Riverlea.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: On Thursday 28 September I asked the minister a question
regarding Aboriginal remains discovered at the new Riverlea estate in the Walker Buckland Park
development north of Adelaide. It had been estimated that at least 31 individuals had been uncovered
in two areas and that more than 1,200 artefacts, including spear and boomerang tips, had been found
in the development. I thank the minister for his letter dated 11 October addressing my concerns
regarding issuing a stop-work order to ensure that discoveries were managed with cultural sensitivity,
respect and in accordance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act.
However, it has since been stated online that some individuals may have taken Aboriginal
artefacts home as 'souvenirs'. 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. This offence carries a
penalty of $10,000 or six months' imprisonment. My question to the minister is:
1. Can the minister please advise whether or not this so-called 'souveniring' has taken
place and, if so, what action has the minister or his department taken to ensure the safe retrieval of
those artefacts as well as to address that situation?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for
Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:07): I thank the honourable member for her question
and for her advocacy over many, many years for Aboriginal people in South Australia.
In relation to the question the honourable member asks about the removal of items from the
Riverlea development area, I am not aware of any such removal of items. I am advised, as I
mentioned in my ministerial statement, that the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation department is
in regular contact with the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation and the developer as well as onsite
Kaurna monitors. I am informed that discussions happen multiple times a day on many occasions. I
am also informed that the remains are closely monitored and are securely stored inside the
development compound with a security presence, I am advised, 24 hours a day.
As I said, I am not aware of any evidence for an assertion that may have appeared online. I
occasionally get informed of assertions that have appeared online in relation to this as well as other
projects and other things that occur; often it is something someone has heard that has been put up
online. Such is the nature of social media.
If there were any instances of removal of Aboriginal remains or the disturbance of Aboriginal
heritage occurring outside of any authorisation, that would likely constitute an offence under the
Aboriginal Heritage Act, and I would like to reaffirm, in unequivocal terms, that anyone who does that
would open themselves up to prosecution under that legislation.