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McGowan Government must stop industry expansion near the Burrup while Heritage status is considered

The Australian Greens welcome Premier McGowan’s recommendation that the globally significant rock art of Murujuga (the Burrup Peninsula) be nominated for UNESCO’s Tentative World Heritage List but remain concerned about further industrial expansion near the sensitive rock art site.

“I was a member of the Senate committee that did the inquiry into the 40,000 year old rock art at the Burrup Peninsula last year and the evidence of risk to the Burrup we received deeply concerned me, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said.

“The State Government has not adequately addressed Emeritus Professor John Black’s scientific evidence, showing that the rock art at some sites is being affected by the significant increase in industrial emissions since the 1960s and has led to a huge local increase in acidity of the rock surfaces.

“Reducing emissions is key to protecting the art, yet the McGowan Government has just approved an ammonium nitrate plant without properly considering the potential effects of emissions on the rock art and seems to be encouraging other companies like Coogee Chemicals and Perdamon Chemicals to move onto the Burrup.

“Prime Minster Morrison should take action immediately and accept the recommendation and do the upmost to ensure that the Heritage process is as efficient and effective as possible. The Government should also order a full assessment of the total pollution load in the Burrup Peninsula airshed with a view to radically reducing it.

“It could take years for the Heritage status to be considered, but in the meantime, the upmost must be done to protect the site. How can we say on the one hand it should be World Heritage listed and then allow industry to continue to destroy this amazing place.

“The Burrup Peninsula is the most incredible living art gallery containing millions of petroglyphs that record human occupation of this area for up to 40,000 years.

“It is a site unlike anywhere else in the world and we as Australians should be proud of the heritage and knowledge of this unique place.”

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