THE Greens, in collaboration with the Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Land Council, are seeking to protect a patch of land known as the Ravensworth Homestead from any potential damage caused by the Glendell Continued Operations Project.
They allege the expansion, headed by Glencore, could destroy the piece of land, which is a site of historical significance to local indigenous people.
Many deaths took place on the homestead in the 1820s, including a massacre in 1827 which saw almost 30 traditional owners killed, according to Greens NSW MLC David Shoebridge.
As a result, the party is launching an “Application to preserve and protect an Aboriginal area”, which would disallow any meddling from companies looking to tear up the land.
While Glencore has claimed its preliminary planning wouldn’t affect the homestead, they are refusing to support reports surrounding the aforementioned killings.
During a visit to Muswellbrook on Tuesday, Mr Shoebridge said the mining company was sitting on its hands and didn’t want to acknowledge the event.
“Glencore is in denial,” he explained.
“They’re in denial because if they acknowledge the reality of the history then they know their mine can’t go ahead.
“And, the public, if they know the history will want to get behind the Aboriginal people and want their politicians to stand up to the mining companies in this case.”
The Greens’ Upper Hunter state candidate Tony Lonergan announced the issue would be a large talking point for him, as people prepare to head to the polls next year.
“It’s a very significant issue, coal mining has rolled across this valley, it’s taken out Aboriginal heritage and small communities everywhere,” he said.
Mr Lonergan said large corporations had done as they pleased in the Upper Hunter for a long time, and described the region as a “black hole” for historical records, which has played into the mines’ hands.
The political duo launched the preservation application as an urgent matter, but knows it will be a difficult fight having bypassed the state government and gone straight to federal.
Mr Shoebridge said his office had intended on protecting the land under state law, but revealed the mine’s classification as a significant state development means they won’t be eligible for the type of preservation they’re hoping for.
Glencore announced it didn’t believe there was solid grounds for the application and is demanding more evidence surrounding that particular spot’s significance.