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NLC puts NT Government on notice

Posted: Wed, November 18, 2015

NLC Chairman Samuel Bush Blanasi

THE Northern Land Council has put the Northern Territory Government on notice that any dilution of the Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act will be strenuously opposed.

The Government has engaged a firm of consultants to review the Act and the NLC’s Full Council, meeting at Gulkula in north-east Arnhem Land, has been briefed about the scope of the review, which is expected to be completed in the New Year.

The consultants will advise on how the Sacred Sites Act might be amended to reduce red tape, and provide certainty and improved processes for economic development.

While the NLC is still preparing a submission to the review, the Full Council determined to write to Chief Minister Adam Giles and all other members of Parliament that Aboriginal people would reject any legislative changes that would diminish existing protections of sacred sites.

“We are deadly serious about this,” said NLC Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi.

“The Full Council heard powerful speeches from members who were very apprehensive about how the NT Government might respond to the review.

“Sacred sites are at the heart of our Aboriginal culture and customary law. Any attempts to put development before the protection of our culture will be condemned absolutely.

“We want to warn the government that Traditional Owners will make this a central issue at the next Territory election if the government would be so unwise as to diminish protection of sacred sites.”