Archaeologists are set to give evidence about the destruction of sacred Indigenous sites since the Juukan Gorge rock shelters were blown up.
Sites of similar cultural significance are destroyed all too often, according to the Australian Archaeology Association.
It will front an ongoing federal parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday, alongside the Australian Indigenous Archaeologists Association.
The latter group is expected to canvass the “dumbing down” of Indigenous heritage legislation over the past 20 years.
The inquiry was sparked after mining giant Rio Tinto last year blew up 46,000-year-old caves at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
Also, to appear before the committee is mining company Glencore, which runs the McArthur River Mine in the Northern Territory.
Lobby group Minerals Council of Australia is set to address cultural heritage protection and how the sector can improve.
Representatives from the Northern Land Council and Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation are also expected to speak.
Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt has pointed the finger at “secrecy requirements” in agreements between mining companies and body corporates that hold native title.
“In my discussions with the mining sector, I have strongly suggested that they get rid of those secrecy provisions,” he told ABC radio.
“What they should seriously consider is employing traditional owners within those staff.”
Mr Wyatt also said the government was looking at bolstering the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act.
“Because the other implication for us is how the world will look at Australia in the way in which we destroy ancient sites, and Juukan Gorge certainly attracted international attention.”
Australian Associated Press