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Gutwein Government Quietly Reverses Road Plan Over palawa Mass Grave

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 14 January 2021

Tags: Aboriginal Heritage, Tasmanian Aboriginals

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

A hugely significant Aboriginal cultural heritage site, and suspected scene of a colonial massacre, will be protected from road expansion plans exposed by the Greens in Estimates last year.

The Australian newspaper reports on 10 January that the Department of State Growth has since abandoned plans for a new footpath, bus stop and turning lanes, and is now developing new plans for the site in consultation with Aboriginal groups.  

This decision is a great outcome, and State Growth should be commended for quickly reversing course in response to legitimate Aboriginal community anger that priceless heritage could be destroyed. 

The site, at Eaglehawk Neck, is understood to hold the remains of up to 80 palawa people. Historian and author, Lyndal Ryan, believes they met a violent end at the hands of colonial invaders. 

Too often in this State, places of the deepest spiritual and cultural value to the palawa people, are damaged or destroyed. 

The legislative framework for the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage fails to do so and disenfranchises lutruwita/Tasmania’s First People.

The change of heart by government at Eaglehawk Neck demonstrates it’s both possible and necessary to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage and grow as a State.