Skip navigation

WA Failure to protect cultural heritage may be a breach of UN Racism Convention

Based on a complaint made by a group of eminent First Nations leaders from Australia, the UN has advised that the current WA Cultural Heritage Protection Act may be in breach of Australia's responsibility to uphold the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to which Australia is a signatory. 

The Chair of Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council, Dr Anne Poelina, a Traditional Owner and First Law keeper for the Martuwarra, is one of five Indigenous leaders that are striving to raise concern about the critical flaws of the current WA Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The Martuwarra is the largest Aboriginal Cultural Heritage site in WA. The failure of the current legislation to adequately protect Aboriginal cultural heritage sights makes the river and the people of the river vulnerable to ongoing harm on top of the generations of harm already done. 

Anne's lived experiences, films, and publications cite Martuwarra, River Of Life as first author, together they agree,

“The violent history of colonial invasion and occupation of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Country has morphed into endemic structural violence. The consequence is ongoing subjugation of Kimberley Aboriginal people in the name of wealth creation for private and foreign interests are at great cultural and ecologicalcost. The remedy we seek is to ‘stop the incremental genocide’ championed by Senator Patrick Dodson, during the inquiry into the destruction of the Western Australian 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge Cave. It can’t be business as usual we must prevent such destruction from ever happening again. The Martuwarra Fitzroy River is the largest registered Aboriginal Heritage site in Western Australia, not only
as an Aboriginal and National Heritage listed River, but also as a global asset of World Heritage value to protect and build new economies ‘culture, science, tourism economies’, and regeneration of the River Country now, for generations to come”.

See the ABC News Story Here

Continue Reading

Read more
Sign up for updates!

Sign up to mailing list and follow our social media channels for regular updates on how you can stand with Traditional Owners.