Media Release: Call for immediate World Heritage action on ancient carvings

Whilst welcoming the support of the meeting of Australia's environment ministers for the inclusion on the World Heritage Tentative List of the world’s largest array of ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings) on the Burrup Peninsula, Bob Brown Foundation urges the Federal Government to stop procrastinating and nominate the site immediately.

“The Federal Government has the sole responsibility for the content of its World Heritage Tentative List and can add a property at any time. But since 2017, this government has delayed and deferred to the WA Government and to heavy industry on the Burrup,” BBF spokesperson and former Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said today.

An advisor to the WA government warned Premier McGown in 2017 that World Heritage Listing might adversely affect opportunities for heavy industrial expansion. Since then, both Federal and State Governments have made supportive statements about World Heritage whilst at the same time expanding potentially damaging industry. A major concern is acid pollution from these industries eroding the rock carvings which are tens of thousands of years old.

The Aboriginal elders of Murujuga support World Heritage listing.

Every day acidic pollution from Woodside and its North West Shelf partners - including BP, BHP, Shell, Chevron and YARA spews over and damages the ancient petroglyphs as the federal Minister for the Environment chooses not to know exactly what the pollution load is or what damage it is doing.

After decades of contention about industry’s threat to the carvings, only now is a monitoring programme being developed as the Morrison and McGowan Governments give the nod to Woodside's second gas train and extend the NW Shelf gas fields for another fifty years, as well as Perdaman's urea plant.

Drip feeding stories of incremental progress and good intent to the Australian public, while racing to further pollute the Burrup, is cynical bad faith. Pretending that Tentative Listing by a state party to the World Heritage Convention is some sort of complex and lengthy process is a lie. In fact, under the World Heritage Covention this requires t

Morrison government to protect the carvings.

Premier McGown should stop Woodside's expansion and extension to 2050, reject Perdaman's urea plant proposal and release the exact figures on the level and content of the acid and other pollution load on the Burrup Peninsula.

Prime Minister Morrison should immediately add the million or more Aboriginal petroglyphs of the Burrup to Australia's World Heritage Tentative List today.

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