Sacred site used as rubbish dump, native title group says

OUTRAGED: PCCC’s Cherissma Blackman says she has told contractors how to identify sacred sites
OUTRAGED: PCCC’s Cherissma Blackman says she has told contractors how to identify sacred sites Tom Huntley GLACHAR

A NATIVE title group will protest outside Santos's shopfront on Friday after saying that a contractor working on the GLNG pipeline used a sacred site as a rubbish dump, but Santos has labelled the accusations "completely untrue".

The Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Title Group says after it was notified of a series of contractor breaches by Santos, a further investigation by the body found even more damage had been done.

Santos acknowledged that a contractor did clear six laydown areas around the 420km pipeline without a cultural heritage officer present.

It worked with the PCCC to rectify the damage, but the PCCC has alleged a series of further breaches, including a campsite on a traditional trading route near Harbour's Creek being used as a rubbish dumping site.

"Santos has breached our cultural heritage without having any of our people out there to monitor, and they've basically destroyed the site," PCCC applicant Nat Minniecon said.

PCCC representatives allege the group has been attempting to meet with Santos over the second series of breaches for over a month, but their requests for a meeting had fallen on deaf ears.

"We take our cultural heritage obligations very seriously and have been working with the PCCC to review current procedures to avoid any recurrence," Santos said in a statement.

In a further conversation with Santos, it said the allegations were "completely untrue".

Native title claimant Cherissma Blackman was dismayed by the alleged desecration. "It's not just about us, this is everybody's heritage too," she said.

Ms Blackman trains contractors associated with the GLNG project in how to identify potential sacred sites.

"Number one, they're told that if you come across an artefact or something, stop work."

Topics:  glng indigenous affairs native title port curtis coral coast santos

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