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In the Alice Springs Magistrates Court today, Mrs Julie Sanderson was found guilty of a charge under Section 34 of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act for damage caused to a sacred site.

Charges were brought against Mrs Sanderson under the Sacred Sites Act relating to damage to the sacred ironwood tree during construction works. The CEO of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA), Dr Ben Scambary, said “custodians of the sacred site are extremely distressed about a disregard for the processes available under the Sacred Sites Act.’ He said that “the damage could easily have been avoided if these procedures were
followed”.

In his summing up Magistrate David Bamber noted the need to send a message to the community, saying “there is a way of going about this [works] so as, wherever possible, to minimise harm to the custodians - this was not done.” Dr Scambary said that “the decision recognises the distress caused to the custodians and should serve as a reminder to anyone proposing construction in Alice Springs to contact the AAPA in the planning stages.”

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