Sacred site saved, ‘A win for our people’

NO DEAL: Natalie Nye, across the river from a sacred site that has recently been spared from development.
NO DEAL: Natalie Nye, across the river from a sacred site that has recently been spared from development.

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Aboriginal sacred site at risk of being ‘desecrated’

Nowra Aboriginal Land Council’s plan to sell off a sacred site has been foiled, following outrage from a local Aboriginal spokeswoman.

Bomaderry’s Natalie Nye warned community members that the site on a Shoalhaven River headland was up for sale to developers, pending the approval of land council members at a meeting on July 8.

However, several land dealings tabled for discussion at the meeting were scrapped from the agenda.

The organisation had not followed correct procedure in publicly notifying the community about the sale, and was advised by the state body to put its plans on hold. 

Mrs Nye has heralded the back-down as a win for the community.

“The minute that land went up for sale I was immediately very concerned,” she said.

“Thank heavens someone’s willing to speak up, tell the community what’s going on.”

She was concerned the issue would divide Aboriginal community members, but those who took to the South Coast Register Facebook page on June 30 largely backed her.

“This is wrong, why is money the be all and end all of everything?” Cameron Smith said via Facebook.

“Leave sacred lands alone.”

According to Native Title law, any future land dealings related to the site must pass environmental, cultural heritage assessments and be subject to community input.