Koonalda Cave Tourism Proposal

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Consultation Process


Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 4 August to 1 September 2020. Below is a record of the engagement.


We want to hear your thoughts around the delivery of guided commercial tours into Koonalda Cave, on the Nullarbor Plain.

What’s being decided?

Koonalda Cave has significant Aboriginal cultural heritage features including well preserved, fragile and complex geometric markings. The Cave is registered on the South Australian Heritage Register and the National Heritage List.

In line with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA), commercial tour operator Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd, is seeking approval

Consultation Process


Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 4 August to 1 September 2020. Below is a record of the engagement.


We want to hear your thoughts around the delivery of guided commercial tours into Koonalda Cave, on the Nullarbor Plain.

What’s being decided?

Koonalda Cave has significant Aboriginal cultural heritage features including well preserved, fragile and complex geometric markings. The Cave is registered on the South Australian Heritage Register and the National Heritage List.

In line with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA), commercial tour operator Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd, is seeking approval to conduct low impact commercial tour operations into Koonalda Cave. Minor modifications to the cave to facilitate safe access for guided visitors are also part of the tourism proposal.

Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR), on behalf of the Premier of South Australia, is seeking feedback from the Aboriginal community, in particular, Traditional Owners of Koonalda Cave, and other Aboriginal parties with an interest in the cave, on whether commercial tours into the cave should be permitted for a 12-month period.

Get involved

If you are a Traditional Owner of Koonalda Cave, or an Aboriginal party with an interest in the cave, read the tourism proposal and the Consultation Information Package and consider the following questions:

  • Should the authorisation be granted to Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd? Why or why not?
  • If the authorisation is granted, what conditions, if any, should be imposed on it?
  • Are there any other matters that the Premier should be aware of when considering the application?

Have your say by:

Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

GPO Box 2343, ADELAIDE SA 5001

Your feedback will be treated confidentially.

Unless specified otherwise, submissions will be provided to Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd and presented to the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (Committee) and the Premier for consideration.

How can your input influence the decision?

Your input will inform the Committee's advice to the Premier on whether the authorisation should be granted.

What are the next steps?

Once the consultation period closes, feedback will be forwarded to the Committee for its review and recommendations.

AAR will collate yours and the Committee's feedback and provide these to the Premier in a report to assist him make his final decision.

Contact details

If you would like to learn more about the proposal and/or wish to lodge a submission, please call AAR on (08) 8226 8900, or write to:

Mr Alex van Wessem
Principal Project Officer (Heritage)
Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 2343, ADELAIDE SA 5001
Email: DPC-AAR.CIR@sa.gov.au
Or visit the AAR website.

Closing date: 5:00pm, Tuesday 1 September 2020




Background


Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 4 August to 1 September 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.


Koonalda Cave is an Aboriginal heritage site entered on the Central Archive maintained by Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR) – Central Archive Site 4835-502. The site is also entered on the South Australian Heritage Register and the National Heritage List.

The cave contains very significant Aboriginal cultural heritage features, including well preserved ‘finger flutings’ and engraved lines, created by Aboriginal people thousands of years ago. The cave also contains archaeological deposits; artefacts; stelae (standing stones) as well as evidence of Aboriginal flint quarrying and stone tool manufacture.

The Premier of South Australia, as the Minister responsible for the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA), has received an application for authorisation under section 23 of the Act from Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd to conduct commercial tour operations into Koonanda Cave.

Section 23 of the Act makes it an offence to damage, disturb or interfere with Aboriginal sites, objects or ancestral remains without authorisation.

Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd, in conjunction with the Department for Environment and Water, has consulted with interested Aboriginal parties, including Traditional Owners, about the proposal.

Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd is committed to working closely with Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation and Traditional Owners to ensure that commercial tours to Koonalda Cave are delivered in a culturally respectful manner.

If you are a Traditional Owner of Koonalda Cave, or an Aboriginal party with an interest in the cave, read the tourism proposal and the Consultation Information Package and get involved.

Consultation has concluded
  • Tourism proposal

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    by BTT_Migration_Team,

    Tourism proposal

    Now Closed

    This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 4 August to 1 September 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

    Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd has sought the authorisation to help enable a series of guided commercial tours within Koonalda Cave, an Aboriginal rock art and archaeological site located some 400 km west of Ceduna.

    Minor modifications to the cave and surrounds are proposed to facilitate safe access for guided visitors. These include the installation and/or upgrading of anchor points and minor repairs to existing steps and ladders.

    The application area covers the entirety of the Koonalda Cave doline (sinkhole); a 20 metre wide zone extending from the lip of the doline; and designated sections of the cave (including floors, walls and ceilings) accessible via previously established trails.

    Access to the areas known as the ‘Art Chamber’ and ‘The Ramparts’, which contain significant Aboriginal art and engravings, is not proposed.

    The key aspects of the proposal are:

    • the tour route inside the cave will be confined to previously established tracks
    • access to areas that contain significant Aboriginal art and engravings will be prohibited
    • tours will be limited to ten (10) people (plus guides) and to no more than one visit per week
    • Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd is seeking the authorisation for an initial 12-month period (to commence on the date of the first tour)
    • if granted, the section 23 authorisation will not permit Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd to undertake tours of the cave. A Commercial Operator Licence from the Department for Environment and Water will also be required before any tours commence.

    To reduce the impact the proposal may have on Aboriginal heritage within the cave, Ancient Land Tours Pty Ltd:

    • proposes to engage a Mirning person to accompany all tours of the cave to ensure adequate cultural interpretation of Aboriginal heritage
    • is committed to liaising with its key stakeholders about the cave’s conservation, protection and management
    • will ensure that visitors are accompanied by experienced cave guides at all times during tours to ensure their safe access and passage, and to ensure their actions inside the cave are supervised
    • has confined its proposed tour route to tracks inside the cave that were constructed for past activities
    • supports a condition assessment that records atmospheric conditions over an initial 12-month period (commenced in September 2019)
    • acknowledges that if it obtains all relevant approvals, tours will be limited to an initial 12-month period
    • will develop an induction pack that will be distributed and explained to all visitors emphasising the cultural significance of Koonalda Cave, and visitors’ obligations under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Protection Act 1984 (Cth)
    • is committed to adhering to AAR’s Aboriginal Heritage Discovery Protocols if and when any Aboriginal objects or ancestral remains are inadvertently discovered inside the cave or doline
    • supports the use of non-permanent structures where possible to meet work health and safety requirements
    • supports the use of non-permanent rope barrier posts that will deter visitors from straying from the tour route and protect Aboriginal heritage by keeping visitors at least two metres away from known archaeological features within the cave