Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Company pays out over rock art damage
9 February 2010
A WA company which damaged protected rock art on the Burrup Peninsula must pay at least $280,000 and enter into financial agreements with local Indigenous groups.
The agreed undertaking by Holcim Australia-formerly Cemex Australia-follows an investigation by the federal environment department into an incident in 2008 where work at the company's quarry damaged an area protected as a National Heritage place.
Departmental spokeswoman Rose Webb said the company had cooperated with the department's investigation and agreed to the undertaking which includes measures to improve the company's management practices and understanding of National Heritage values.
"The company must develop a cultural heritage management plan for the quarry, appoint an Indigenous relations officer, revise its environmental management plan and improve induction and training systems for employees and contractors," Ms Webb said.
"It's also required to carry out archaeological and ethnographic surveys of the quarry development areas, which will need to be approved by the minister.
"Most importantly, under this agreement, the company must enter into cultural heritage agreements with three Aboriginal groups in the area which will lead to significant benefits to those communities over the life of the quarry.
"The confidential agreements between the company and the groups aim to maintain relationships with traditional owners, help the groups to improve community welfare over the life of the quarry, and provide them with job opportunities. They will also allow the groups to have input into operational aspects of the quarry that relate to cultural heritage.
"Consultation about possible remediation at the affected site must also form part of these arrangements."
Ms Webb said enforceable undertakings were an important tool under the national environment law and allowed money to be directed where it was needed and avoided lengthy adversarial court processes.
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