New call to demolish brewery
By Leon Harrison
PERTH — The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission has called on the state government to abandon any redevelopment of the old Swan Brewery.
WA ATSIC delegates have urged federal Aboriginal affairs minister Robert Tickner to declare the site permanently protected.
On October 25 there was an angry meeting of ATSIC members from Perth, the Goldfields, wheat belt, Murchison-Gascoine and the south-west who said the WA government had denied Aboriginal people the right to maintain their culture and heritage.
The meeting was the largest gathering of elected Aboriginal representatives since the national Aboriginal conference in 1984.
Steve Mickler for ATSIC said on October 27 that the demand for the project's scrapping was the commission's first official statement on the brewery and signified increased opposition to the development.
Representatives decided the WA government must respect and protect Aboriginal culture by demolishing the old brewery and turning the site into parkland.
Union support for the brewery's demolition has continued, with the Construction, Mining and Energy Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union in full support of demolition.
ATSIC Commissioner Neil Phillips said the resolutions showed the degree of opposition to redevelopment on the sacred ground of the Wagyl, the Aboriginal dreaming serpent.
"Aboriginal people are not prepared to let insensitive governments trample all over them any longer", he said.
"The WA government is continuing a long colonial tradition of denying Aboriginal people rights to maintain our culture and heritage.
"It is something every rank and file member of the Labor Party should be ashamed of and do their best to correct."