Aboriginal Affairs & Heritage

Aboriginal Issues

One mistake too many for Aboriginal Affairs Minister

Thursday, 8 September

WA Greens Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC has labelled comments today on the concept of a treaty, or treaties, with Aboriginal people as ‘old-fashioned’.

“To use his own words, I am appalled former Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott continue to use such divisive language when speaking on the rights of Aboriginal people,” Mr Chapple said.

“Neither Mr Howard nor Mr Abbott speak for Aboriginal people, nor do they get to decide what Aboriginal people want.

“Such strident rejection of the concept of a treaty, before it has even been floated properly in the public arena, and knowing full well it is an aspiration of many Aboriginal elders, leaders and communities across Australia is a national disgrace.

“Australia is the international exception; the only Commonwealth nation that does not have a treaty recognising that Aboriginal people have at no time ceded any part of their sovereign existence and status.

“As a nation we must change our lingering, and damaging, paternalistic attitudes and accept that first and foremost policy direction in this space must come from Aboriginal people.”

World Heritage for threatened Burrup Peninsula reveals deep divisions in Government

Tuesday, 23 August

WA Greens Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC has welcomed the WA Nationals support for World Heritage Listing of the Burrup Peninsula, despite Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier stating the Government’s policy remains unchanged.

“In a speech made to Aboriginal elders, local councillors and other important members of the Pilbara community at the Cossack Art Awards last month Mr Grylls, now WA Nationals Leader, stated he was strongly supportive of seeking World Heritage listing for the Burrup Peninsula,” Mr Chapple said.

“Yet Mr Collier has confirmed in Parliament he has no intentions of seeking World Heritage Listing for the Burrup Peninsula, further highlighting the deep divisions within this government.

“Stating that ‘World Heritage Listing would not confer any additional statutory protection’ but that he was committed to helping traditional owners‘achieve cultural aspirations’, Mr Collier’s justifications were contradictory and highly culturally insensitive.

“Not only would World Heritage Listing provide the Burrup Peninsula with the recognition it deserves, internationally, as one of the most important early rock art sites in Australia but achieving this recognition and level of protection is, and has been for a long time, a significant aspiration of Traditional Owners.

“With the Yara Pilbara Technical Ammonium Nitrate Production Facility set to enter production later this year there are massive existing, and further potential, threats that must be acknowledged by this Parliament.”

Hon Robin Chapple MLC nominated the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago for World Heritage Listing in 2003 to then Federal Environment Minister David Kemp.

A copy of the Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier’s response in Parliament on Thursday, 18 August 2016, along with some historical documents relating to the World Heritage aspirations of Traditional Owners with regards to the Burrup Peninsula are attached.

Payment offer to community should be investigated

Thursday, 21 July

WA Greens Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said recent revelations that Cheeditha community was offered money to relocate back to Roebourne should be investigated.

“Cheeditha exists because the people who live there are Yinjibarndi, whereas the majority of people in Roebourne are Ngarluma; this is a difference that should be respected,” Mr Chapple said.

“The community of Cheeditha is self-sufficient to a large degree, but there is a significant opportunity there for the creation of local opportunities and long-term sustainability.

“This is what remote community reform should be about; helping communities to move in this direction and secure a future for themselves.”


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