WA Supreme Court’s rejection of Beeliar Wetlands EPA approval will embolden Noongar custodians to challenge flawed Aboriginal heritage approvals for Roe 8 project

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Image from savebeliarwetlands.com

Noongar custodians of the Beeliar Wetlands area have welcomed today’s decision in the Supreme Court by Chief Justice Martin to overturn the Barnett Government’s EPA approval of the Roe 8 project, which would have destroyed one of the most significant historical and mythological places for Aboriginal people in the entire Perth metropolitan area.

It is noteworthy that the EPA also ignored its own guidelines on Aboriginal heritage protection in granting Roe 8 approval (see attached EPA appeal submission).

Justice Martin’s decision means Noongar opponents of the Roe 8 project will redouble their efforts to protect this culturally significant area by challenging the similarly flawed and dishonest Aboriginal heritage approval for Roe 8 presided over by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Peter Collier (see attached DAA internal assessment report).

In granting s 18 Aboriginal heritage approval for the Roe 8 project to impact Aboriginal sites in the Beeliar Wetlands area, DAA’s advisory committee (the ACMC), first determined in highly controversial circumstances that two archaeological sites in the Roe 8 pathway were no longer sites, then reversed its earlier February 2013 decision to reject the project on Aboriginal heritage grounds.[1]

Today’s decision parallels Justice Chaney’s April 2015 Robinson v ACMC Aboriginal heritage decision which found that DAA’s deregistration of a sacred site in Port Hedland Harbour was also legally invalid. Chief Justice Wayne Martin has also previously ruled that EPA approvals for Woodside’s James Price Point LNG project were unlawful, due to conflicts of interest by EPA Board members involved in the approvals process[2] (the JPP project had also earlier been found to be invalid on another legal point, after it was discovered the  WA Government had botched the land acquisition document).[3]

All three cases highlight the extent to which the State Government has attempted to subvert due environmental and Aboriginal heritage approval process through direct political manipulation.

It is indeed heartening that the WA Supreme Court has taken such a firm line against these attempts by the Barnett Government to run WA as a state of exception operating outside the rule of law, with scant disregard for its legislative responsibility to protect Aboriginal and environmental heritage.

[ends]

 

AHAA Media: Dr Stephen Bennetts 0404674261

 


[3] http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/court-finds-state-governments-compulsory-kimberley-land-grab-invalid/story-e6frg2s3-1226215144473

For further information documents on the Beeliar wetlands, see the EPA Submission by Dr Stephen Bennetts of AHAA and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs internal site assessment by clicking the respective links below.

final epa submission S Bennetts

InternalSite AssessmentreportDAA4107

Aboriginal Heritage Action Alliance

Email Address: aboriginalheritageaction@gmail.com    

https://www.facebook.com/aboriginalheritagewa                                        https://www.aboriginalheritagewa.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsJu3fENLpKW7kOnZndIbRQ         https://twitter.com/AHAAlliance

Let’s preserve heritage for Western Australians, preserve heritage for all!

*AHAA acknowledges all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples, their culture and their country!

2 Attachments

Preview attachment final epa submission S Bennetts.pdf

final epa submission S Bennetts.pdf

Preview attachment InternalSite AssessmentreportDAA4107.pdf

InternalSite AssessmentreportDAA4107.pdf
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