In 2015 a quarrying company commenced quarrying operations without taking steps to comply with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 regarding reasonable care and avoiding harm.
The Aboriginal cultural heritage had been identified at the site and the company was to liaise with the nominated cultural heritage advisor.
The company started work but then ceased work when the damage caused was discovered by the traditional owners.
At least three Gumbi Gumbi trees were destroyed and at least 50 artifacts were affected. There was harm to historical, spiritual and social values.
Importantly the licence agreement between the owner and the company stated that the company was to obtain all their approvals before they were required to commence operations.
The company was fined $188,000.00 for two offences and orders to also pay $2,519 in legal costs.
The Emerald Magistrates Court also ordered that the company pay $250,000 towards the costs of repairing or restoring the Aboriginal cultural heritage at the site.
The case is a reminder of the importance of proper drafting in agreements with quarry operators. It is also a reminder of the duty of care owed under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003.
A copy of the Prosecution Bulletin from DES can be located here.