Heritage ban blocks detention centre

Protest against the Brighton bypass.

When the Tasmanian state government forced a bridge through the kutalyana site as part of the Brighton bypass, the Aboriginal community responded by placing a ban on conducting Aboriginal heritage assessments.

These bans are being upheld by all Aboriginal Heritage Officers and the archeologists who work with them. They are intended to remain in place until the legislation that protects Aboriginal heritage is improved.

The first major project to be affected by this is the proposed asylum seeker detention centre at Pontville, near Brighton.

Planning approval to renovate the old army base is now unable to proceed due to the lack of a heritage assessment.

Local mayor Tony Foster has distinguished himself by calling the Aboriginal community “obstructionist” for trying to protect Aboriginal heritage.

Ironically, he chose National Sorry Day say do this. The challenge to the state government is to engage sincerely with the Aboriginal community to develop effective protection for Aboriginal heritage.