AN INDIGENOUS protest stopped work at Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine yesterday, with two Gamilaraay men and a Githabul man locking on at the entrance of the mine, claiming Environment Minster Greg Hunt has not fulfilled his duty to protect significant sites in the Leard Forest.
Two Gamilaraay men, Paul Spearim and Allen Talbot, and a Githabul man, Laurence Miles, were locked on to concrete barrels at the entrance of the Maules Creek mine.
The protesters called on the environment minister to commence an independent report to make a decision on the protection of sacred sites within the work area, as they expressed concern for the protection of Lawler’s Well, a significant site within the mine boundary.
Two years ago, Gomeroi traditional custodians made an application for the environment minister to use his powers under sections 9 and 10 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage and Protection Act to stop the work in the area and protect this last sacred site.
“It is so hard seeing the destruction of our country. The elders have been waiting too long for answers,” Gomeroi traditional custodian Dolly Talbot said.
“It is completely unacceptable that Hunt dragged his feet on the protection of Lawler’s Well.
“We reasonably expect the respect of a timely assessment and our rightful opportunity to have protection enacted.”