New strategy to protect Pilbara rock art

New strategy to protect Pilbara rock art
  • Working in partnership with Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation to protect rock art
  • Transparent, risk-based approach to prevent harmful impacts to petroglyphs

The McGowan Government is taking steps to better protect the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal rock art (petroglyphs) in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson today released the Murujuga Rock Art Strategy, providing a transparent, risk-based approach to managing and monitoring the rock art.

Murujuga, located 1,300 kilometres north of Perth, is the Aboriginal name for the Burrup Peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago, the location of an internationally significant rock art collection.

The Burrup Peninsula is also a key location for jobs and export industries critical to Western Australian and national economies, with infrastructure including Rio Tinto’s Dampier Port operations, the North West Shelf Karratha Gas Plant, Pluto LNG project and Yara Pilbara Fertilisers ammonia plant.

The McGowan Government is confident that the unique Aboriginal culture and heritage values can continue to co-exist with well-regulated industry and new economic opportunities that deliver benefits to the local community.

In September 2018, the Murujuga Rock Art Stakeholder Reference Group was established to facilitate engagement between the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and key government, industry and community representatives to develop and implement the strategy.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation will now oversee a world best practice program to monitor, evaluate and report on factors that could affect the condition of the rock art.

This will be undertaken in consultation with a team of national and international experts in relevant disciplines.

For more information, visit the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s website.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

“The Murujuga petroglyphs are a vital part of Western Australia’s cultural heritage and are of immense cultural and spiritual significance to the traditional owners.

“In delivering on the key elements of this strategy, we will continue to work with the Murujuga Rock Art Stakeholder Reference Group, and seek input from other stakeholders, including industry, scientists and the community.

“This strategy will deliver a scientifically rigorous approach to monitoring and the management of this unique rock art.

“The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will work in partnership with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation to oversee a world best practice scientific monitoring and analysis program that will determine whether the rock art is being subjected to accelerated change.”

Comments attributed to Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation CEO Peter Jeffries:

“We are pleased with the State Government’s consultative approach on the protection of our rock art, and look forward to partnering with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to ensure the highest standard of monitoring possible.

“The rock art is an integral part of our culture – it tells our history and our stories, and we want to make sure that everything possible is done to protect it for future generations.

“The preservation and protection of these ancient images is a focus for the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation.

“We see the involvement of our rangers in the monitoring of the condition of the rock art as a very important training opportunity for them to learn how to gather information, use monitoring equipment and input data.

“The protection of our rock art is also essential to our bid to secure World Heritage listing for Murujuga.”

Minister’s office – 6552 5800

Source: Government of Western Australia