A report is to be prepared for the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley on an application for the preservation and protection of a specified area described as 'Ravensworth Estate', and including Bowmans Creek and Glennies Creek, near Singleton.
The area to be investigated forms part of Glencore's Glendell Continuation Project, a proposal currently being reviewed, by the NSW Department of Planning.
Glencore wants to extend the life of the existing Glendell open cut mine near Ravensworth until 2044 with Glencore saying the project will provide ongoing employment of 600 workers and inject millions of dollars into the local and state economy.
The Minister for the Environment is responsible for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984, and has received an application made under section 10 of the Act.
This application was made by Robert Lester and Scott Franks as representatives of the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People (the Applicant). Mr Lester is the Chairperson of the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People Aboriginal Corporation.
The Applicant seeks the long-term preservation and protection of a 'significant Aboriginal area' and if proven to be so the Minister can protect and preserve that area. In their application two of their reasons for protection are:
"represents [an] area where ceremonies were carried out by the Wonnarua people" and is thus "sacred to our people", including "several places" used for rituals associated with "bora" (male initiation) ceremonies or with "women's business ceremonies";
- "it is a spiritual place to us that must be protected so we can pass on to our children (future generations) for an understanding of our people's practices of the past".