A native title group have protested outside Santo’s shopfront after claims contractors working on the GLNG pipeline destroyed a cultural heritage site by using it as a rubbish dump.
The Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Title Group said it was notified of a series of contractor breaches by the oil and gas giant in April, but that further investigations had found more damage than anticipated.
Group spokesman Nat Minniecon said there is evidence that the company dumped construction spoil on an ancient gathering spot near Gladstone, ABC reported.
"Normally what happens is before they go and put a grader or a bulldozer through it, they get our people to check it to see whether or not there's any cultural heritage that might be there," he said.
"In these instances they've neglected to do that and in other instances they've put their spoil on sites near creeks etc that weren't surveyed.
"Yet we know them to be sites where our people used to gather.
"Santos has breached our cultural heritage without having any of our people out there to monitor, and they've basically destroyed the site."
Minniecon has labelled the damage as the "ultimate sign of disrespect".
"I suppose the example is if somebody bulldozed down a heritage building, whether that be a post office in Rockhampton or a mosque or a Catholic Church from the early 1900s, that's deemed to have heritage value," he said.
"Why is ours looked at differently?"
This is not the first time the companies building gas pipelines from Queensland’s mainland to Curtis Island have been accused of desecrating cultural sites.
In April, native title claimant Cherissma Blackman said the companies involved in building the massive LNG plants were “totally ignorant about the environmental and cultural heritage damage they cause”.
“It is part of our traditional cultural heritage,” Blackman told AAP.
“All these animals and marine life that exist, they’re part of our song lines and story lines.
“We have an obligation to our old people to uphold these song lines and story lines for future generations.
Blackman trains contractors associated with the GLNG project on how to identify potential sacred sites.
"Number one, they're told that if you come across an artefact or something, stop work,” she said.
The local Gurang tribe is one of four tribes that announced it plans on issuing a class action against Queensland Gas Company (QGC), Santos GLNG, and Asia Pacific LNG, for not upholding an indigenous land use agreement.
The tribes say the companies also failed to pay compensation for using native title land.
In a statement, Santos said it takes “cultural heritage obligations very seriously and have been working with the PCCC to review current procedures to avoid any recurrence”. Image:www.santosglng.com