AHAA Peaceful Protest at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs

The Aboriginal Heritage Action Alliance held a peaceful protest outside the Department of Aboriginal Affairs against the proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 proposed by the Barnett Government. Two strategic outcomes were achieved today, a petition was submitted to the WA parliament opposing the Aboriginal Heritage Act Amendment Bill 2014, stating that the WA State Government has missed an important opportunity to address racial inequalities in the 1972 Act, and that the proposed changes are mostly aimed at speeding up approval processes for industry, and undermine, rather than improve Aboriginal heritage protection. Secondly, an open letter to the Western Australian Government and Executive of the DAA was hand delivered to the Deputy General of DAA, Cliff Weeks. The letter is available here.

Today’s action at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was a great success, and the Aboriginal Heritage Action Alliance thanks all the supporters who turned up today to participate and get involved. We are grateful to the Traditional Owners who came from the desert to the sea and from north to south, sending a strong message to the WA Government that the current state of Aboriginal heritage protection is unacceptable. AHAA spokesperson Clayton Lewis addressed the crowd, and we heard from other Traditional Owners including Noel Nannup and Geoffery Stokes. WA Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal heritage Robin Chapple presented information on the legal and parliamentary aspects of the proposed amendment bill.

A number of Traditional Owners took the chance to speak on their concerns on the de-registration of Aboriginal sites on their Country.

Geoffrey Stokes from Mount Margaret near Kalgoorlie tells his story about confronting a mining company who was excavating the entrance to a sacred site last October. Geoffrey is now facing Kalgoorlie court on the 26th of February for allegedly firing a warning shot in the air to get the attention of the mining workers when they refused to acknowledge him.

Traditional Owners in attendance at the protest against the proposed changes.

Richard, Noel, Geoffrey and Clayton at the front of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs today, at the AHAA peaceful protest.

Ernie Dingo came to show his support to AHAA at the peaceful protest today.

We invite everyone who is following this page to spread the word about the Aboriginal Heritage Action Alliance, and use the group as a focal point to connect supporters so we can unify and create better outcomes for Aboriginal cultural heritage.

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