Parks Australia, which manages the world-heritage listed Kakadu NP, has been charged under the Northern Territory’s Sacred Sites Act with damaging an area near the spectacular Gunlom Falls, one of Kakadu’s most popular attractions.
The Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) alleges that Parks Australia built a walking track on a sacred site at Gunlom “without permission, close to a ceremonial feature of the sacred site that is restricted according to Aboriginal tradition”.
If convicted, Parks Australia will face a maximum fine of $314,000.
It is good that AAPA was able to listen to the concerns of the traditional owners and do a thorough investigation,” the authority’s chairman, Bobby Nunggumarjbarr, said.“These things have happened in the past, but we really need to work together to make sure things happen in the way that the traditional owners want them to.
“I want to make sure all the sacred sites are protected in the future for the benefits of the traditional owners and the custodians and all the visitors.”
In July, a longstanding feud between Parks Australia executives and the Kakadu board of management led to a vote of no confidence in senior management by the board and traditional owners, who said the relationship was “broken” and “irretrievable”.