Rock art reports raise stakes on the Burrup

June 6, 2002 - Two papers released yesterday by the International Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO) have graphically upped the stakes for the State Government's attempts to establish an industrial estate in the middle of the largest concentration of Aboriginal rock art in the world, Greens MLC Robin Chapple said this morning.

The two reports, 'The Survival of the Murujuga (Burrup) Petroglyphs' by Robert G. Bednarik, and 'Petroglyphs of the Dampier Archipelago: Background to Development and Descriptive Analysis' by Patricia Vinnicombe, may provide the evidence the Government needs to reverse its stance on forcing industry into the most unpopular industrial estate in the country.

'The consequences of cramming more industry onto the Burrup are significantly worse than I had imagined,' Mr Chapple said today. 'We face the prospect not only of bulldozing, blasting and other defacement of the rock art, but we now have evidence that acid emissions from industry will rapidly erase the greater part of the rock art province. We were inspired to save this area before seeing these reports; now we're downright determined. '

Mr Chapple said that in the interests of all parties, the Government needed only to announce that it would instead fund the nearby Maitland Industrial Estate, situated on flat station country to the south west of Karratha, and preserve the Burrup.

'Every day they delay this simple action is another day of unnecessary frustration. It is time the Premier stepped in to defuse the crisis.'

'We believe that industries are facing site costs of up to 15-20% of the total project costs, just to establish level areas on which to build their plants amid the steep, rocky terrain of the Burrup. We are asking whether a move to Maitland might represent a substantial saving to proponents as well as the obvious savings to the State.'

'In the last two weeks a whole range of stakeholders have come out and demanded that the Burrup not be sacrificed. The Greens (WA) will stay at the forefront of this campaign until we have seen it through,' Mr Chapple concluded.

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