The NSW Perrottet Government must heed the stunning new admissions from Heritage NSW concerning the historical significance of the Ravensworth Estate and reject Glencore’s attempts to mine the site, says Lock the Gate Alliance.
Despite previously downplaying the historical significance of the site, and suggesting its heritage values could be retained if the homestead was relocated, a recently published Independent Planning Commission transcript reveals Heritage NSW now believes those “significant values” would be lost if the homestead was relocated.
The NSW Planning Department initially recommended the expansion be approved, and a decision by the Independent Planning Commission was due today. Lock the Gate Alliance now understands that decision will be delayed in light of Heritage NSW’s new statements.
Members of the Wonnarua Plains Clan group expressed deep concern during the recent IPC hearings into Glencore’s plans that their cultural heritage would be obliterated if the expansion was given the green light. Wonnarua Plains Clan members and various historians cite the Ravensworth Estate as being a tremendously significant place of colonial era violence.
The recently published transcript also shows the Ravensworth Estate’s historical significance was likened to that of World War One battlefields in Europe, and Tasmanian World Heritage convict sites.
Wonnarua Plains Clan Traditional Owner Rob Lester, whose ancestors Augustus Lester and Alister Roy Lester fought and died in the second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, said, “This is part of an open wound that has been going on for 240 years. It’s never going to heal until people open up and talk about it properly.”
Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Georgina Woods said, “The NSW Planning Department’s support of Glencore’s destructive Glendell coal mine expansion is now untenable.
“Heritage NSW has finally admitted the historical and cultural values of the Ravensworth Estate will only remain intact if the property is left in-situ.
“Australia honours the battlefield of Villers-Bretonneux and the Ravensworth Estate is equally significant for telling the story of frontier conflict and the violent transformation of Wonnarua country brought by colonists.
“If its Planning Department ignores all the evidence now before it, and again recommends approval for Glencore, then the NSW Government will be complicit in an abhorrent act of cultural and historical destruction.”