• Examples of Aboriginal Stone Artefacts (Supplied Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania)Source: Supplied Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania
The construction company is facing 23 charges for allegedly interfering with Aboriginal stone artefacts while excavating their Bridgewater quarry near Hobart.
Ilias Bakalla

23 May 2021 - 9:35 AM  UPDATED 23 May 2021 - 10:04 AM

The Chair of Tasmania’s Aboriginal Heritage Council said it’s “unacceptable” for multinational company Boral to "plead ignorance" after being charged for interfering with Aboriginal stone artefacts at its Bridgewater quarry. 

In court on Wednesday, the company pleaded not guilty to all 23 charges of interfering with a relic that were brought under Tasmania's Aboriginal Heritage Act.

Heritage Council chair and palawa Elder Rodney Dillon was scathing of the move.

“For a company like that to plead ignorance, it’d be like me driving my car around at 150 km/h in a 60 zone saying I didn’t know it was 60," he told NITV News.

"That's rubbing salt into the wounds of our people."

It's alleged the artefacts interfered with could be tens of thousands of years old and include ancient scrapers and blade. 

The area around the quarry considered to be one of the oldest sites of human habitation in the country.

Ten years ago the local palawa community stood against the construction of the Brighton Bypass after about 3 million sacred artefacts were discovered at the Jordan River levee.

Mr Dillon is calling for stronger heritage protection laws to ensure no more sites are disturbed.

“We need a heritage act that's strong enough to protect our sites because obviously, the one we have now has not been strong enough," he said.

"The problem is we've got a white system that we've got to work under and it doesn't protect our heritage well enough.

"So these people will get away with destroying our culture and our heritage once again."

The case continues in August.

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