Greens MP David Shoebridge is asking the Federal Government to declare a piece of land in the Upper Hunter as a site of special significance to the Aboriginal people.
The MP is urging the government to declare Ravensworth Estate including Ravensworth Homestead as significant on behalf of the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People.
If approved, the expansion of the Glendell mine will go right through the site.
David Shoebridge said they’ve been left with no choice but to go straight to the Federal Government for assistance.
“The reason we are having to rely on the commonwealth protection is because the state heritage protection has been turned off,”
“The project that wants to destroy Ravensworth and the surrounding landscape is a coal mine. Coal mine applications are treated as state significant projects,” he said.
He added that when a project is of state significance, the laws that could protect the site are turned off.
Glencore’s Glendell Continued Operations Project proposes to extend the life of their Glendell mine to approximately 2044.
Glencore also said in their Final Preliminary Environmental Assessment from May this year that the project will also involve the ongoing use of the Mount Owen Complex CHPP and associated coal handling and transport infrastructure to 2045.
Among the proposals in the plan is to relocate the Ravensworth Homestead to retain its historical significance as the expansion of the nine will go right through the area.
But David Shoebridge said that is not enough.
“This is one of those places where Aboriginal resistance is so well documented and so strong that it tells what is often an untold story about that Aboriginal resistance from the earliest part of the 19th century.”
“The homestead itself has important colonial heritage. It is a remarkable building that tells part of the story,”
“It’s the landscape that surrounds Ravensworth, it’s the fields and the areas around Ravensworth where the resistance was so strong where Aboriginal people were burning crops and killing livestock. Aboriginal people were resisting the invasion and its where Aboriginal people were hunted down and killed in large numbers,” said David Shoebridge.
“We cannot understand the lack of action from the Office of Environment and Heritage. They are meant to be the keepers of Aboriginal heritage in NSW.”
“I am hopeful that we will get an intervention and I am hopeful that this essential part of our history. It would be a genuine crime to destroy this for the sake of yet another coal mine in the Hunter.”
Image credit: http://www.mtowencomplex.com.au/en/Pages/home.aspx