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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rock Art Needs Greater Protection

An archaeologist says the WA Government is falling short of its obligations to protect priceless rock art.

Ken Mulvaney has been researching rock art in the Kimberley, the Pilbara and the Northern Territory for the past 30 years.

Now based in Dampier, he is paid by a mining company to protect culturally rich areas like the Dampier Archipelago and Burrup Peninsula, where some art is thought to date back 30,000 years.

Dr Mulvaney says mining companies and university research bodies are the only ones spending big to protect the state's heritage.

"The amount of money that the State Government has put into this is minimal," he said.

"They don't even have adequate staff at the moment, there are supposed to be two Department of Indigenous Affairs archaeology people up here.

"There is inadequate protection and policing of heritage by the state."

Dr Mulvaney says it is ironic that the mining sector, which poses one of the biggest threats to rock art, is also its biggest benefactor.

He says it appears the State Government is escaping without having to invest in long term protection and research.

"Royalties for Regions has it really gone into roads, a few buildings, has it really gone into protecting and recording cultural heritage?" he asked.

"I don't know that we need an extra kilometres length of bitumen road but the equivalent would probably pay for five years research."

The Department of Indigenous Affairs has been contacted for comment.

Source: ABC


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