I'm listening to the federal Juukan gorge inquiry hearings. The WA registrar of Aboriginal sites, Tanya Butler, is giving evidence. Sen Dodson is asking her about the de-registration of a huge number of sites in 2016. She doesn't seem to know what he's talking about?
Which is interesting, because there was *quite* a big court case about it in 2015. Basically, the Aborignal Cultural Materials Committee changed its definition of a sacred site, leading to a de-registration of sites from 2008-2015. theguardian.com/australia-news…
The live issue is that most of the sites that were de-registered have not been re-registered.

The definitional issue was that the ACMC no longer considered ethnographic sites to be heritage sites — archeology only. Court told them to change it.
Dodson's line of questioning was based on this 2016 article by Joe Dortch et al
Siewert asks, if sites were de-registered due to a re-interpretation of s.5 of the act, and then the interpretation was changed again, how do they get back on the list?

Tanya Butler, registrar: "New information being provided to the department for a re-assessment."
Seiwert: "But these sites were on the list in the first place, it was just because of the the re-interpretation of the definition that they were off the list, if there was a re-re-interpretation could they go back on the list without the need for new information?"
Butler says she would have to take that on notice, but says "there is that potential though".
Canavan asks how sites get registered. "Do most of the sites come through a process associated with a development project or an industry funded heritage survey as part of their development applications?"

Butler: "That would be a majority Senator, I would say."
Canavan: "Do you see, is there any need to provide funding outside of the development process to try to more proactively look for heritage sites and identify them before a development might be on the cards?"

Butler: "I can't comment, Senator."
Warren Snowden asks how long the ACMC typically takes to consider a s.18 application.

Butler: The committee generally will consider the proposal on the day of the meeting."

She says the number of s.18s before the committee at each meeting varies — could be 3, could be 20.
Butler says she, the ACMC, and the broader department were not aware that traditional were subject to gag (or "non-disparagement clauses") in their agreements with mining companies, which prevented them from objecting to s.18 applications, until this year.
Snowden says he finds that "difficult to believe," if the ACMC is representative, and made up of traditional owners, which it is, that no one was aware that those kind of clauses were a common part of agreements with mining companies.
Butler says that under the current act, the "only mechanism" to get input from traditional owners is the legal requirement for procedural fairness — which basically means they write to the native title holders and invite them to provide a written submission in response.
Pat Dodson asks whether a s.18 notice has ever been altered after it was issued.

Butler: "No senator. Once a s.18 has been granted by the minister it cannot be amended unless there is a new application presented to the committee."
So, in this particular case, Rio Tinto got a s.18 notice to destroy the Juukan Gorge rockshelters in December 2013. The work that discovered the full significance of the site, funded by Rio, occurred in 2014. Only Rio could then re-submit a s.18 notice, or decide not to go ahead.
Just as well we've got a new act coming, eh? Provided Labor wins government again in March (probably likely given McGowan's 87% approval rating) and also provided it remains a top agenda item, despite the retirement of the person pushing the reform, Ben Wyatt.
Back to the committee:

Dodson: "So the successful applicant of the s.18 has absolute rights to do what they wish with a site once granted, is that correct?"

Butler: "That's correct, yes".

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Calla Wahlquist

Calla Wahlquist Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @callapilla

21 Nov
Scott Morrison was asked whether Ben Roberts-Smith should be stripped of his Victoria Cross, and whether it is appropriate for Kerry Stokes, the chairman of the Australian War Memorial, to pay for the legal defence of some soldiers facing allegations of war crimes.
He doesn't answer the first, saying: "In relation to any individuals, the government is in no position to offer commentary on what is in the report as it may or may not relate to individuals. And that is intentional because the justice system is what has to deal with this issue."
On the second, he says: "In relation to others who may choose, for whatever reason, to provide support to anyone in their legal defences, well, it is a free country and it is a matter for them but how they choose to provide support."
Read 8 tweets
21 Sep
The inquiry into Juukan Gorge is holding remote hearings of Western Australian witnesses today. First up is Cedric Davies, a geologist with long experience in the Pilbara.

He said he was "shocked" by the destruction of Juukan Gorge, with Rio usually expected to be a leader.
But he said he was not surprised that the WA government approved its destruction.

"I think I would have been more surprised had the state not approved the s.18 to destroy the Juukan rock shelters."
Davies: "The events at Juukan Gorge exposed Rio behaving like the East India Company mark II".
Read 45 tweets
6 Aug
Pad Dodson: "Mr Jacques, when did you first become aware of the significance of the Juukan sites"

Rio Tinto chairman JS Jacques: "Senator, I was made aware of the significance of the site son the Sunday evening, on the Sunday the 24th of May."

The day it was blown up.
Rio Tinto iron ore CEO Chris Salisbury says that it was not possible to unload the blast holes once they had been loaded. He says they attempted to unload 8 holes, which took 10 hours and only seven were successfully unloaded.

(Mining experts, my DMs are open)
Jacques is asked why Rio chose option 4 to for the mine pit.

"The difference between option 4 and the other three options was 8 million tonnes of high grade iron ore. The economic value at the time of the decision was around $135m of net value at the time of the decision."
Read 57 tweets
17 Jun
There are TWENTY witnesses listed for the #BushfireRC today.


Ok, I was doing something else but I'm back now.

Dominique Hogan-Doran began the session by pointing to a response from the Bushfire Natural Hazards CRC, identifying a "long historical transfer of responsibility" for hazard prevention from individuals to the government.
They said that "individuals are no longer taking sufficient responsibility for their own risk management and that governments over many years have allowed this risk transfer to continue"
Read 109 tweets
15 Jun
The #BushfireRC is back on for the next few days, focusing on hazard reduction burns.

There are ELEVEN witnesses listed for today. They'll appear in panels.
On the list are: Emma Campbell and Dr Steve Read from the federal agriculture department; Associate professor Kevin Tolhurst from Uni Melb, Prof Ross Bradstock from Wollongong uni, Prof David Bowman from Uni Tas...
... then @FFMVic_Chief, CFA deputy chief bushfire officer Alen Slijepcevic, NPWS exec director Mike Williams, Brett Loughlin from the CFS, QFES deputy commissioner Michael Wassing, and Queensland parks and wildlife service exec director Leigh Harris.
Read 120 tweets
11 Jun
Let's just recap what has happened in the protection/destruction of Aboriginal heritage in the Pilbara in the past few weeks, and the building campaign to speed up the very, very protracted efforts to amend the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA).

A thread.
On 15 May, a group from the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) visited a rock shelter in Juukan Gorge, near Tom Price, where they planned to hold Naidoc celebrations. They saw blast holes drilled in the ground. The site was a mining lease owned by Rio TInto.
Rio Tinto received permission under s.18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA) to damage or destroy the site in the expansion of its Brockman 4 mine. Permission was granted in 2013, by then WA Aboriginal affairs minister Peter Collier.
Read 20 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!