[Aqualist] Proposed change to AHA - a threat to WA archaeology.
ingrid.ward at uwa.edu.au
Wed May 9 11:12:26 EST 2012
I wish to draw attention to the attached discussion paper on a proposed change to the Australian Heritage Act (see http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/about/news/801)
"The current onus on persons accused of breaching the Act to prove that places and objects relating to the proceedings are not Aboriginal sites or objects to which the Act applies would be more effective and fair if confined to places and objects that have been included in the Register under the prescribed process." p.5
Hence if a site is not registered with the DIA there is no requirement to prove that it is (or was) not a site. The onus is therefore on the accuser to prove that something is (or was) a site. Carte blanche to heavily disturb an unsurveyed area in order to remove archaeological evidence. And blithely ignoring the numerous reasons why the Register is a mere fraction of the W.A. archaeological record (comparison: Ireland, probably 1/20 of land area of W.A., has 400,000 registered sites). Only 3 years ago, Eureka Archaeology undertook a survey of a previously unsurveyed area and recorded over 600 archaeological sites. Given that large tracts of WA still remain unsurveyed, the proposed change to the AHA means that numerous potentially significant archaeological sites could be destroyed.
The document is open for public consultation hence if any AQUA members have any comments, please feel free to pass them on to me for collation. Please feel free also to forward this email and draw others attention to this important issue.
Assistant Professor (Research)
e u r e k a Archaeological Research and Consulting UWA
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
P1: (08) 6488 4307
P2: (08) 6488 3946
Fax: (08) 6488 1023
e: eureka-archaeology at uwa.edu.au
e. ingrid.ward at uwa.edu.au
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