Legislative Council: Thursday, September 28, 2023


Flinders Ranges Sacred Sites

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:27): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs a question regarding the Flinders Ranges sacred sites.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI:The Advertiser reported last week as follows:

Flinders Ranges traditional owners say they are the victims of 'cultural genocide' after unauthorised earthworks destroyed sacred…sites metres from one of South Australia's most prized national parks.

In question time yesterday in the lower house, the Deputy Premier stated that she had not spoken to the traditional owners of the land. On 891 radio this morning, she commented that she didn't know the amount of destruction that had been done.

I note that on a certain member's social media account, posted yesterday, there were photos of the Deputy Premier and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs spending part of their day handing out yes cards in the city. It appears that the Deputy Premier chose to use her time campaigning for the Voice, rather than reaching out and listening to the genuine concerns of traditional owners of the land that sacred sites had been destroyed. My question to the minister is: has the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs contacted the traditional owners to listen to their concerns—

Members interjecting:


The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: —and discover the extent of the damage done?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order, both sides! Minister, you should know better. The Hon. Mr Hunter, you should know better.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:28): I thank the honourable member for her question. There were a couple of issues the honourable member raised. In terms of campaigning for a yes vote: absolutely, the Deputy Premier and I are campaigning and will continue to campaign as strongly as we can.

Members interjecting:


The Hon. K.J. MAHER: People like the Deputy Premier, myself, the Hon. Robert Simms, a whole lot of members from this chamber, have been out at places like the Adelaide train station, early in the morning as commuters come in. We are firmly of the belief that this change will make for a better country and we will do everything in our power—as the Premier answered a question yesterday, reflecting that we think that this is a good change for the country—to be part of trying to bring it about.

In relation to the honourable member's question about Aboriginal heritage around the Beltana pastoral lease, it is something that I have talked to the Deputy Premier about, and it is also something that I have had a number of communications about with traditional owners, many of whom I have known for a number of decades, who are from that part of the world.