Concerns raised about the Aboriginal heritage reports contained in Glendale Continuation Project's EIS

"We haven't been able to step foot on the ground yet at the Ravensworth Homestead site - so how can we prepare our report on Aboriginal cultural heritage, " Scott Franks told representatives from the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) at a community information session held in Singleton on Monday night to discuss Glencore's Glendell Continuation Project.

The Project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently on public exhibition and submissions on the proposal, to extend the life of the open cut mine until 2044 and extract a further 135 million tonnes of coal, have been extended to February 14.

However Mr Franks, speaking on behalf of the registered Native Title claimants the Plains Clans Wonnaurua People, said given the fact there was a complete failure of procedure to ensure his group were able to provide information before the EIS was published, the entire planning process should be halted immediately.

He stressed he was not attacking Glencore but as registered Native Title claimants the law states they must be able to get on-site and prepare their own report before anything can proceed.

"We are only able to start that process later this month which means the EIS as published is completely deficient in its Aboriginal cultural heritage reports and statements.

This in turn raises questions as to how can the DPE make a recommendation on the Project and how can other interested parties make their submissions based on a totally deficient document?"

Mr Franks spoke at length on the fact that the Ravensworth property on October 6, 1826 was the site of Aboriginal massacre - a fact totally ignored in the EIS's Aboriginal cultural heritage reports.

Mr Franks was supported in this opinion by Lyn MacBain who became emotional telling the DPE representatives that the local community was always forgotten and despite years of campaigning for better planning processes it simply fell on deaf ears.

"As far as the Ravensworth Homestead is concerned it should never be moved as its is such an important heritage site not only for our community, the state, the nation but also internationally," she said.

Ravensworth Homestead complex. Photo from EIS.

Ravensworth Homestead complex. Photo from EIS.

"If we are ever to move forward as a nation we need to preserve these sites that clearly show the dispossession and violence that took place between the Aboriginal people and the first settlers.

"That history is so important for us and for future generations."

The other issued raised at the meeting by Mr Franks was the fact the Native Title claimants had been contacted in 2013 regarding the listing of the Ravensworth Homestead complex on the NSW State Heritage register.

"We support such a listing but nothing has happened since that time regarding the listing and we would like to know why?" he said.