Country, Culture, People, Future

Heritage

Protection for Lake Moore in Midwest WA

Posted: November 9th, 2012

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The Badimia people’s ability to protect one of their most sacred places has recently been given a boost when the WA State Government dropped an appeal of a decision by the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT). Lake Moore, a dry salt lake in the southern Murchison region of WA, has been found to be culturally significant by the NNTT on several occasions.

The NNTT has repeatedly found that as a site of particular significance, resource exploration licences that overlap the lake cannot be granted without negotiating with the Badimia people first. The State appealed the NNTT’s latest decision on the significance of Lake Moore, but recently discontinued the appeal.

Lake Moore Gypsum, the company seeking an exploration licence, now needs to negotiate with the Badimia people to reach an agreement about the exploration activities.

Lake Moore, located south of Paynes Find, is a very special area where Badimia families go every year to hunt, camp, collect bush medicines, and teach young people about their country and culture. Lake Moore and the surrounding area is not only important as a place for Badimia families to go out on country, but it is home to very sacred places where ceremonies traditionally took place.

Important Announcement: Seasonal heritage survey break

Posted: November 3rd, 2011

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For many Aboriginal communities in the Midwest and Pilbara, December to January is a special time of year to observe cultural obligations and practices. This means different things for different communities, but for many people it involves passing sacred, ancient knowledge from elders to young people, and practicing rituals and ceremonies to maintain connection with country and culture. These important activities often take Aboriginal people out on country for several days or weeks at a time.

Out of respect for these essential cultural obligations and practices, and so as not to interfere with them, YMAC will not be conducting any heritage surveys between 14 December and 1 February. It is very important that culturally knowledgeable Aboriginal people attend heritage surveys on their country, and these are the very people who are most involved with cultural obligations on country.

Any heritage survey requests received after 14 December will be scheduled to commence after 1 February. Thank you for your understanding.

YMAC welcomes the Auditor General’s findings on heritage

Posted: October 17th, 2011

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YMAC welcomes the findings of the recent Auditor General’s report on compliance with mining conditions, which highlights what Traditional Owners already know: that Aboriginal heritage in WA is not being adequately protected by the State.


The Auditor General found that the Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA), which administers the Aboriginal Heritage Act, has failed in its responsibility to monitor compliance with conditions it places on miners for protection of heritage sites. The report states that DIA “has only undertaken inspections of heritage sites when responding to complaints it received, but has taken no enforcement action when it has found non-compliance.”

Peter Jeffries, Acting CEO of YMAC, said, “The AHA operates more as an approval mechanism for the destruction of Aboriginal heritage than as a means for protecting it. YMAC has worked hard over the years to make sure agreements are in place between native title groups and companies to protect heritage. If it weren’t for these private agreements, there would be no real protection for Aboriginal heritage in areas of high development like the Pilbara and Midwest. This report has shown that there are no consequences for illegally destroying Aboriginal heritage in the course of mining projects.”

The report highlights the need to improve the processes for protecting Aboriginal heritage in WA. A review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act was announced in June 2011, but past reviews have not led to improvements in the system.

“We sincerely hope that the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act leads to major reform that takes into account the importance of our State’s Aboriginal heritage and gives Aboriginal people a significant say in how approvals to destroy heritage are granted,” said Mr. Jeffries.

NNTT finds Wajarri heritage is more important than money

Posted: September 27th, 2011

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Traditional owner Colin Hamlett in the Weld Range

The National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) has recently made a very important decision for the Wajarri Yamatji people. The NNTT ruled that four mining tenements in the Weld Range cannot be granted because of the cultural significance of the area to the Wajarri Yamatji people.

This is only the second time that the NNTT has ever made such a decision, and it comes after parts of the Weld Range were accepted on to the National Heritage List earlier this year.

Weld Range Metals, the company that wished to mine the area, has been reluctant to meet with the Wajarri Yamatji people and did not come to agreement over the proposed mining project.
Deputy President Sumner of the NNTT came to the conclusion that, “the interests, proposals, opinions or wishes of the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in relation to the use of the Tenement area should be given greater weight than the potential economic benefit or public interest in the Project proceeding. The Weld Range area (including the Tenement area) is of such significance to the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in accordance with their traditions that mining on it should only be permitted with their agreement.”

The NNTT’s decision was reached after an on-country hearing earlier this year which included visits to important places in the Weld Range. The Wajarri Yamatji people and YMAC staff gave evidence about “caves with rock art, waterholes and old corroboree and ceremonial grounds, all of which remain of particular significance to the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in accordance with their traditions.”

This is a fantastic result for the Wajarri Yamatji people and YMAC congratulates them for their strength in fighting to protect their cultural heritage.

Watch GWN’s coverage of the story here: http://au.gwn7.yahoo.com/w1/video/-/watch/26753825/native-title-tribunal-vetoes-mine/ 

New Heritage Survey Request Form

Posted: July 25th, 2011

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As part of our commitment to constantly improve our services, YMAC has created a new Heritage Survey Request Form for all proponents wishing to undertake heritage surveys in the claim areas we represent.

The new Heritage Survey Request Form was created to improve the efficiency of our heritage services. Proponents requesting heritage surveys now have a single form listing all of YMAC’s requirements to begin planning a heritage survey for the earliest possible date. It is designed to assist proponents meet their requirements under their heritage agreements in a way that is clear and straightforward for all parties.

To coincide with the new Heritage Survey Request Form YMAC has launched a new email address heritage@ymac.org.au where all heritage survey requests can be lodged. This email address will  help prevent any delays in processing heritage survey requests and provide a single place for proponents to send material to ensure it is processed as efficiently as possible.

YMAC is committed to providing quality, professional heritage protection services for our clients, the Traditional Owners of the Midwest and Pilbara regions.

Please click here to download the Heritage Survey Request Form or visit the Heritage Protection page of our website.

Funding for Woodstock Abydos Heritage Project

Posted: June 12th, 2010

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YMAC’s Teri O’Neill, and Stan Stylianou with Minister Garrett at the announcement.  

Peter Garrett, Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts has announced that YMAC has been successful in securing $97,000 to progress the current Woodstock Abydos Heritage Project.
Woodstock/Abydos is located in the East Pilbara region in the traditional country of the Kariyarra and Palyku people. The area contains numerous sites of cultural and historical importance including mythological, ceremonial, artefacts, engravings and paintings.
The grant will be used to undertake a comprehensive survey of the Woodstock Abydos reserves, in conjunction with Traditional Owners and government agencies, to record previously undocumented archaeological sites.