NNTT finds Wajarri heritage is more important than money
Posted: September 27th, 2011
|Traditional owner Colin Hamlett in the Weld Range|
The National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) has recently made a very important decision for the Wajarri Yamatji people. The NNTT ruled that four mining tenements in the Weld Range cannot be granted because of the cultural significance of the area to the Wajarri Yamatji people.
This is only the second time that the NNTT has ever made such a decision, and it comes after parts of the Weld Range were accepted on to the National Heritage List earlier this year.
Weld Range Metals, the company that wished to mine the area, has been reluctant to meet with the Wajarri Yamatji people and did not come to agreement over the proposed mining project.
Deputy President Sumner of the NNTT came to the conclusion that, “the interests, proposals, opinions or wishes of the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in relation to the use of the Tenement area should be given greater weight than the potential economic benefit or public interest in the Project proceeding. The Weld Range area (including the Tenement area) is of such significance to the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in accordance with their traditions that mining on it should only be permitted with their agreement.”
The NNTT’s decision was reached after an on-country hearing earlier this year which included visits to important places in the Weld Range. The Wajarri Yamatji people and YMAC staff gave evidence about “caves with rock art, waterholes and old corroboree and ceremonial grounds, all of which remain of particular significance to the [Wajarri Yamatji people] in accordance with their traditions.”
This is a fantastic result for the Wajarri Yamatji people and YMAC congratulates them for their strength in fighting to protect their cultural heritage.
Watch GWN’s coverage of the story here: http://au.gwn7.yahoo.com/w1/video/-/watch/26753825/native-title-tribunal-vetoes-mine/