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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 608 asked in the Legislative Council on 16 June 2020 by Hon Robin Chapple

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

ABORIGINAL HERITAGE — SECTION 18 CONSENT — SOUTH FLANK

608. Hon ROBIN CHAPPLE to the minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs:

I refer to the article ''BHP holds fire on destruction of 40 ancient Aboriginal heritage sites as part of South Flank development in Pilbara despite approval'', referring to site 25664, published in The West Australian of 11 June.

(1) Given that BHP has itself identified the issues with its current section 18 approval at South Flank, has BHP remitted this approval back to the department?

(2) If yes to (1), when was this done and when does it come into effect?

(3) If no to (1), does the existing section 18 approval and its prescriptions remain in place?

(4) If yes to (3), does the section 18 approval have an expiry or end date?

(5) Will the minister suggest ways in which the government or its departments can reinforce and facilitate BHP's commitment to maintain protection of site 25664 in its entirety?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The following answer has been provided to me by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

(1)–(5) As the honourable member is aware, a section 18 consent cannot be reviewed or revoked by the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee or the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Section 18 consents are generally for the life of the project. The minister has written to BHP urging it to consider the significance of site 25664, to engage closely with the Banjima people and to avoid, when possible, destruction of sites important to them.