A new initiative between the Narrabri Local Aboriginal Land Council and Santos will help to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage in the Narrabri area.
As part of Santos’ Environmental Impact Statement for the Narrabri Gas Project, the company commissioned a study of all Aboriginal cultural heritage information in the region. This included information held exclusively by the Land Council, other historical studies including oral histories as well as information from the NSW Government’s records.
The study led to the validation of around 50 cultural heritage sites and for GPS information to be recorded to accurately pinpoint the location of those sites. It also allowed for any inaccuracies in the information, some of it many decades old, to be investigated. The result of the study is the most comprehensive and accurate Aboriginal cultural data set the region has ever had.
Santos has now handed all the study information back to the Land Council and has provided the computer and software system so the information can be accessed by the Aboriginal community.
Any new information will be added to the system and Santos will continue to provide any new data it gains through its work, with the Land Council.
Santos environmental officer Joshua Gilroy said Santos has a deep respect for the Aboriginal communities of the NSW north-west and we acknowledge their rich and diverse histories and their connection to the land.
“Santos agrees that Aboriginal people should own and manage their cultural information, and Aboriginal people should make decisions about who can access the information,” Mr Gilroy said.
“This new partnership will help to ensure that all cultural heritage sites will not only be protected through the development of the Narrabri Gas Project, but also into the future through the land council.”
Narrabri Lands Council Chief Executive Lynn Trindall welcomed the new initiative.
“This represents a significant contribution by Santos and if measured in time and resources, work on the ground research and verification of sites, would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Ms Trindall said.
“This gives the Lands Council a unique and very comprehensive data resource. The system now has all our land and recorded aboriginal sites within the Land Council boundaries. It will be a marvellous tool.”
Click here to read the story in the Narrabri Courier.