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Background

The Western Australian Government recognises Murujuga (the Dampier Archipelago, including the Burrup Peninsula and surrounds) as a unique ecological and archaeological area containing one of the largest collections of Aboriginal engraved rock art in the world. The rock art (petroglyphs) are of immense cultural and spiritual significance to Aboriginal people, and of national and international heritage value.

Murujuga is home to industry that contributes to the local and state economy and provides employment in the area. In response to concerns that industrial emissions may be impacting the rock art, a number of scientific studies have been conducted over the past 15 years. The reports from these studies are available below.

Rock Art Monitoring

Monitoring of colour change and spectral mineralogy of the rock art on Murujuga was undertaken by CSIRO between 2004 and 2016. The annual monitoring reports are available below.

Independent reviews commissioned by the Western Australian Government have recognised that improvements can be made to ensure that monitoring programs and other studies provide robust, reliable results to inform management. The reviews are available below.

Murujuga Rock Art Strategy

The Murujuga Rock Art Strategy is a monitoring, analysis and decision-making framework to protect the Aboriginal rock art located on Murujuga.

Murujuga Rock Art Strategy

DWER is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the strategy. This will be in partnership with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and will include overseeing the development and implementation of a scientific monitoring and analysis program that will determine whether the rock art on Murujuga is being subject to accelerated change.

The draft strategy was released in September 2017 for public comment.

The comment period was extended until May 2018 to allow stakeholders to put forward their views on how the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee’s inquiry into the protection of Aboriginal rock art of the Burrup Peninsula should inform the strategy.

The Consultation Summary Report summarises the comments received on the draft strategy. During the consultation period 27 written submissions were received.

Murujuga Rock Art Stakeholder Reference Group

The Murujuga Rock Art Stakeholder Reference Group was established by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in September 2018 to facilitate engagement between the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and key government, industry and community representatives on the development and implementation of the strategy.

The Reference Group is chaired by Dr Ron Edwards.

Summaries of Stakeholder Reference Group meetings:

Summaries of Community Forums:

CSIRO monitoring reports

Accelerated erosion tests

 In 2016, CSIRO undertook an experimental extreme weathering study to understand the effect that different concentrations of pollutants (nitric and sulphuric acid, ammonia and ammonium nitrate) generated from industries close to the rock art could have on the surface of Burrup Peninsula gabbro and granophyre rock samples

Accelerated erosion tests were conducted by CSIRO between 2004 and 2007 using fumigation chambers to assess the impact of different pollutant scenarios, and to evaluate the role that dust may play in rock surface modification.