Urgent call for Burrup submissions: Native Title Tribunal

November 6, 2002 - The National Native Title Tribunal has taken the unprecedented step of inviting public submissions over the determination of the fate of Murujuga, the Burrup Peninsula.

The Tribunal will be advertising a request for submissions shortly, with a deadline of November 22 for interested parties to lodge a submission.

“The Tribunal has correctly identified the enormous public interest in the future of the Burrup archaeological province, both for its World Heritage values globally and its immediate significance to the Traditional Owners of the area,' Mr Chapple said today.

'I am not aware of any other case in which the Tribunal has called for submissions in this way. It is a huge setback for the State Government, which up until now has been able to make the claim that the ruination of the Burrup was in the public interest.'

“The Tribunal will now be able to hear some of the other sides of the ‘public interest' argument. We urge all concerned members of the public to make a submission to the Tribunal before the 22nd , and put your concerns on the record.'

The call for submissions relates to provisions set out in section 39 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), which includes a ‘public interest' clause. In the last few years, a great many groups and individuals locally, nationally and overseas have called into question the wisdom of establishing a petrochemical estate in the heart of one of the most significant archaeological and cultural heritage precincts on earth.

“It is a real breakthrough that the Tribunal has seen fit to call for the inclusion of this evidence in its deliberations,' Mr Chapple said. “The Government may at last be forced to put the brakes on its headlong rush to pave over the Burrup.'

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