Toodyay, Washington landowner upgrades creek crossing and risks jail time for violating heritage law
A real estate agent could be jailed and fined $20,000 after allegedly violating Aboriginal heritage and upgrading the creek crossing on his property.
Tony Maddox risks nine months behind bars and losing his real estate license to improve the gravel stream on his property in Toodyay, 85km north-east of Perth.
The gravel crossing washed out in wet weather, rendering his property inaccessible, prompting Mr Maddox to lay concrete over it.
His neighbor filed a complaint with the WA Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to open an investigation before being charged in February.
Tony Maddox risks nine months behind bars and losing his real estate license to improve the gravel stream on his property in Toodyay, 85km north-east of Perth
The upgrade reportedly violates the state’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act.
“I can’t believe I’m being charged with a crime [an Act] which I don’t know about,” Mr Maddox told ABC.
The new ramp was built over the Boyagerring Brooke, a creek that is part of the Avon River drainage basin.
The prosecution’s factual statement states that the creek has significant value to the region’s traditional owners and Noongar mythology.
The factual statement claims that the rainbow serpent Waugul lives in the creek and that any work on it could cause the creature to disappear and the water to dry up.
Prosecutors allege the site was “significantly altered and damaged” after silt was removed, drilling water was pumped into the creek and a lake and well were built.
Mr Maddox also failed to seek authorization from Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Tony Buti or the Registrar of Aboriginal Sites, according to prosecutors.
The farmer said he was surprised by the charges and had no knowledge of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.
“If this goes through, it will affect every single farmer in Western Australia,” Mr Maddox said.
The gravel crossing washed out in wet weather, rendering his property inaccessible, prompting Mr Maddox to lay concrete over it
“Every farmer crosses streams in their daily activities. There will be a lot of permission searches.’
He told 6PR that a gravel bridge was already installed on the property before he moved in nine years ago.
Mr Maddox claimed the works had merely “beautified” the junction and had been upgraded a year before the neighbor lodged a complaint.
The real estate agent has been self-employed for 33 years and could lose his license if convicted.
He said he will be forced to lay off seven employees and the whole ordeal has taken a toll on his mental health.
“It just broke me,” he said. ‘I’m exhausted’.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/celebrity/toodyay-wa-landowner-upgrades-creek-crossing-and-risks-jail-for-breaching-cultural-heritage-act/ Toodyay, Washington landowner upgrades creek crossing and risks jail time for violating heritage law