One mistake too many for Aboriginal Affairs Minister

30 March, 2016

The WA Greens say Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier should lose his portfolio, given his disastrous Aboriginal heritage record, after it was revealed writs will be served against him today in a Supreme Court challenge to the Roe 8 Highway Project.

“It’s a shame yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle didn’t include a fresh face in the Ministry for Aboriginal Affairs – not only has the Premier’s personal workload diminished, but he has failed to replace one of the most underperforming Ministers, indicating there is simply no one better left in this government,” WA Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal Affairs Robin Chapple MLC said.

“This is the second Supreme Court legal challenge mounted against section 18 approvals presided over by Minister Collier in as many years – clearly he sees himself more as an industry enabler than a heritage protector.

“1 year ago this Friday the Supreme Court found guidelines based on advice from the State Solicitor’s Office on section 5(b) of the act had been illegally used to deregister 35 heritage sites, all earmarked for development.

“Minister Collier has refused to use powers allocated to him under sections 10 and 32 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act to speed up the assessment process of more than 15,800 backlogged sites.

“And he has repeatedly broken promises to traditional owners, admitting last year that administrative oversight was the reason 14 Kariyarra heritage sites had not yet been assessed before acknowledging just two weeks ago they probably never would be.

“This Department has been acting as if proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act – which will strip any real power from the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee, and from Aboriginal people, concentrating it directly into the hands of the CEO – have already been passed.

“Quite simply, they have not. It is time for Minister Collier to go and time for this government to step up and treat Aboriginal heritage and Aboriginal people in Western Australia with the respect they deserve.”

For comment please contact Media Liaison Tim Oliver on 0431 9696 25 or 9486 8255.

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