• The damage done to the Garnkiny and Jawaren sites in the East Kimberley. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The WA government will not prosecute Kimberley Granite Holdings over its destruction of significant sites in the East Kimberley.
Keira Jenkins

16 Apr 2021 - 4:09 PM  UPDATED 16 Apr 2021 - 4:09 PM

 The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) says it is outraged that the Western Australia government has decided not to prosecute a mining company over its damage to culturally significant sites.

Kimberley Granite Holdings damaged at least two burial sites and Garnkiny and Jawaren - significant men's and women's places - in the East Kimberley in 2019 and 2020.

The KLC asked the then WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister to investigate the incidents.

Last week, the KLC was notified that the Department of Landing, Planning and Heritage had decided not to prosecute the mining company.

KLC CEO Brian Wilkinson said this decision was deeply concerning.

"If these blatant breaches of the law that result in destruction of Aboriginal Heritage sites do not result in prosecution - then what does," he said.

"...Kimberley Granite Holdings must be held to account."

Following last year's destruction of Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara, a number of changes were proposed to the Western Aboriginal Heritage Act. 

Mr Wilkinson said the state government's failure to prosecute Kimberley Granite Holdings (KGH) shows that the proposed Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill does not offer enough protection for sacred and significant sites.

"The proposed new law would result in exactly the same flawed outcome for Malarngowm Traditional Owners in relation to the KGH damage to Garnkiny and Jawaren with no protection or power to stop damage, and no prosecution once the damage is done," he said.

"It carries with it some of the greatest flaws of the current Aboriginal Heritage Act, including a permit process which closely mirrors the much-maligned section 18 process."

Aboriginal groups support calls for a national standard on heritage protection
State-based Indigenous organisations agree a national standard is needed for better cultural heritage protection of significant and sacred sites.