Woodside were recently granted a Section 18 permit from the West Australian State Government allowing them to destroy or alter the listed Aboriginal heritage sites in the area, which contain sacred and burial sites important to the traditional custodians, the Goolarabooloo. Similar applications in the 1990’s were turned back as the sites were deemed too culturally significant, yet there has been no indication from the state government as to what has changed since then to lessen this significance.
Spokesperson Errol Roe continued, “Even after other state government said this area must be protected, the Barnett government has rubber stamped the destruction of our ancient burial grounds and midden sites. Barnett is hell-bent on allowing Woodside to destroy this really important part of our living culture, no matter what cost. We call on Minister Burke to step in and stop the destruction of these burial sites.”
In response to the imminent destruction of these culturally important burial and sacred sites, the Goolarabooloo, one of two Native Title claimant groups for the area, have officially called on the Minister to enact an urgent stop work order under his power over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage and Protection. While awaiting the minister’s decision, Teresa Roe, great grandmother and matriarch of the Goolarabooloo family started a petition, which has resonated around the globe, gaining quick and growing support.
In the petition Teresa Roe explains, “My spirit comes from this country. My sister was stolen by welfare so my parents hid me, so I could be raised on country with my culture. I raised 9 of my own children and 8 of my sisters children after she passed away. My sons are the law men for this country. They have the responsibility to protect it. They hold the songs, the stories. Our ancestors are buried in those dunes. No one would allow a whitefella cemetery to be dug up so why here?”
The controversial gas hub proposal at James Price Point has become one of the largest environmental and cultural issues in Australia today, causing on-going community protests headed by the Goolarabooloo, local and global opposition, and creating a major rift in the Broome community.
For additional comments or information please contact media coordinator, Malcolm Lindsay, on 0405 667 103.Goolarabooloo MEDIA RELEASE 04/02/2013
Fifteen thousand call on Burke to stop the destruction of Aboriginal burial grounds at James Price Point
Traditional owners of the controversial James Price Point Gas Hub site are calling on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to respond immediately to an overwhelming call from the community asking the Minister to intervene and protect the listed burial grounds and sacred sites of Walmadany, James Price Point, which are set to be destroyed by Woodside’s exploratory works.
Spokesperson for the Goolarabooloo family Errol Roe said, “Tony Burke must act now, and intervene to stop the destruction of ancient burial grounds and our culture. In only two weeks, over 15,000 people have signed my grandmother Teresa Roe’s petition on change.org calling on Burke to intervene.”