NT Local Court House sign

Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority v McArthur River Mine

Today the Northern Territory Local Court heard the first mention of an alleged breach of section 34 of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989 (NT) (“the Act”) by McArthur River Mine.

Under the Act, it is an offence to work on a sacred site without an Authority Certificate issued by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

Following consultation with Aboriginal custodians, Authority Certificates give clear advice on where sacred sites are, and how to work alongside them. 

The Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (the AAPA) alleges that McArthur River Mine worked on the Damangani sacred site without an Authority Certificate. 

Chairman of the AAPA, Mr Bobby Nunggumajbarr said the NT, through the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, has been successfully protecting sacred sites by guiding development for more than 40 years. 

“The Authority Certificate process is well-established and it works. It is important that those who are using the land also ensure the sacred sites are respected and protected.”

The matter is next listed for a directions hearing on 29 July 2024.