May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Indigenous group feels snubbed over rock art protection bid

1 min read

A bid to protect prehistoric Aboriginal rock art sites on far north Queensland’s Cape York has drawn criticism from a local Indigenous group.

img-1-dataQuinkan Country, near Laura north of Cairns, is home to thousands of hectares of sandstone escarpments covered in ancient Aboriginal rock art.

The threat of mining prompted the local natural resource management group to apply for national heritage listing.

South Cape York Catchments spokeswoman Susan Marsh says traditional owners back the move.

“It was really a matter of expediency with the mining moving in and if the World Heritage failed, the potential for the area to be left unprotected,” she said.

“It was a matter of expediency – it was not intended to cause offence – it was just that the nominations had to go in.”

She says the Government will consult with locals before making a decision.

However, the head of the local native title body, Alwyn Lyall, is unhappy.

“They’re trying to make decisions on behalf of us – the decisions that we were going to make anyway,” he said.

“They shouldn’t look at that nomination until our PBC [Prescribed Bodies Corporate] has our name on that piece of paper.”

He says he does want the area protected but has advised the Government to ignore the application until his organisation approves.

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