Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has urged a Senate Committee that convenes in Fremantle today to listen to the views of Traditional Owners on Roe 8, after those views were ignored by the Barnett Government.
From 1.30pm, the Senate inquiry will hear from Reverend Sealin Garlett, one of 54 Traditional Owners who were surveyed by Main Roads for their views on Roe 8. Along with the majority of those surveyed, he has opposed the destruction of Aboriginal heritage sites located in the path of the proposed highway.
“The WA Department of Aboriginal Affairs is charged with protecting WA's richest and oldest heritage yet its handling of Main Roads’ application in relation to Roe 8 has raised serious questions about the Department’s integrity,” Ms MacLaren said.
“Roe 8, which forms Stage One of the Perth Freight Link, will destroy three registered Aboriginal heritage sites in the Beeliar Wetlands and impact on three other registered sites which fall within the project area.
“In two surveys conducted for Main Roads between 2010 and 2012, the majority of Traditional Owners said that they did not want the sites damaged or disturbed because of their huge significance to them.
“These views were recognised in the ACMC’s February 2013 decision but were not even acknowledged in the ACMC’s June 2015 decision.
“Some of the artefacts in the sites are at least 5,000 years old, thus pre-dating the pyramids and western civilisation.
“These places remain highly meaningful to Nyoongar people today – and by extension, to all Australians.
“I call on the Senate Committee to listen to the Traditional Owners and in doing so, to oppose the Commonwealth playing any part in this disastrous project.”