Senior guardian raises concerns about the future of NT’s sacred sites in the midst of the Kakadu Supreme Court hearing

A senior administrator in Kakadu has raised concerns that a pending Supreme Court ruling on alleged damage to sacred sites could dilute the protection of other sacred grounds.

The Northern Territory’s watchdog for sacred sites, the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA), claims that the federal government agency Parks Australia has illegally built a hiking trail to the upper pools at Gunlom Falls, one of Kakadu National Park’s most picturesque sites.

The hiking trail is near a holy men’s site, which according to Aboriginal law and custom should not be seen by women and children.

The fight reached the NT’s Supreme Court on Monday after the federal government claimed that Parks Australia could not be prosecuted under the Northern Territory’s Sacred Sites Act, which kick-started a complex constitutional debate on the guilt of Commonwealth bodies under the Territorial Act.

On the second day of filings, AAPA attorneys argued that Parks Australia should be able to be prosecuted under territorial law.

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