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In the Alice Springs Magistrates Court today, Mr Stephen Carson pleaded guilty to two charges under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act (Sacred
Sites Act) for damaging a sacred site.

The CEO of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA), Dr Ben Scambary stated “Mr Carson had an Authority Certificate permitting him to prune an ironwood tree that is a sacred site adjacent to his house. The certificate allowed the works to occur and protect the long term health of the sacred tree. But Mr Carson did not comply with the conditions of the certificate and lopped the tree so severely that it has died.”

Dr Scambary said “custodians for this sacred site are extremely distressed about the blatant disregard for the processes of the Sacred Sites Act, and the resulting irreversible damage to a revered sacred site.”

Charges were brought against Mr Carson under Section 34 of the Sacred Sites Act for carrying out works on a sacred site, and Section 37 of the Act for failing to comply with the conditions of an Authority Certificate causing damage to a sacred site.

In recording a conviction against Mr Carson and fining him $1000, Magistrate Cavenagh stated that his decision would send a strong message to the residents of Alice Springs to take the protection of sacred sites and the Sacred Sites Act seriously.

Dr Scambary agreed with the magistrate’s sentiments and urged all residents of Alice Springs to participate in the protection of sacred sites and seek an Authority certificate when they plan to undertake works. He stated “the outcome of this case clearly demonstrates the consequences of not doing so”.

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