Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Land Council has welcomed today’s decision by Federal Minister Tanya Plibersek, to issue an emergency protection declaration for the Huskisson Burial Grounds.
“This ruling proves both the significance of the site, and the imminent risk of harm”, said Jerrinja LALC Deputy Chairperson Delia Lowe.
Under section 9 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act, it is now unlawful for any works to be carried out at the former church site for a period of 30 days.
“It is rare for applications made under the Act to be successful, and we are pleased the Minister has used her powers in this case to intervene where the State system is so obviously failing to protect our cultural heritage”, said Ms Lowe.
“Now the immediate threat of scraping has been temporarily stopped, we can continue our fight to ensure the burial grounds are permanently protected and our ancestors can rest in peace.
“If our objections, plus the wider community sentiment, plus the recent decisions of Shoalhaven City Council aren’t enough to make this developer pause and think, maybe Federal intervention will.
“This highly culturally and historically significant place must be respected. Today’s decision is a step in the right direction but the battle for this sacred site is far from over”.
Feature image: Gathering on land at the Huskisson Church burial site before the protest rally on 12 November 2022. Photo supplied