City to explore sale of Broadwood land which holds registered Aboriginal heritage despite call to reject move: Kalgoorlie Miner

Aboriginal elder Brian Champion pictured in the heritage bushland in Broadwood in 2018. Credit: Kelsey Reid/Kalgoorlie Miner

The sale of land which holds registered Aboriginal Heritage will still be explored to help ease the housing crisis, despite a heartfelt speech by the son of an Aboriginal elder asking for the motion to be rejected.

Councillors at Monday night’s meeting authorised the City chief executive officer to effect public notice for the sale of Lots 95-106 and Lots 47, 97 and 769 Broadwood for six weeks, and report back to the council any submissions and offers made during that time.

The decision came after Mark Champion, the son of Brian Champion Sr — the registered Knowledge Holder of the site — spoke during public access time asking councillors not to support the motion, after a similar motion for the $9.4m sale of the land was rejected by the council in 2022.

Mr Champion said it was “deeply disappointing” the council was trying to revisit the matter and confirmed his father still strongly opposed any development of the land other than recognising its cultural significance to Aboriginal people.

He said he had also received a letter from the lawyer of the registered claimant of the site stating they firmly opposed the land being sold or developed.

A development proposal for the site by M Group was previously shot down by the council at an April 2022 meeting, with the final vote coming in 7-5 to reject the offer.

During the the discussions in 2022, Brian Champion Sr told councillors the land — known as Gubrun Camp Kapurn Camp — was used as a camping ground for Aboriginal people who were prohibited from being in the Kalgoorlie townsite at night during the years when a curfew was in place.

At Monday night’s meeting, mayor Glenn Wilson said the motion was different to what was presented previously as it was not a developer-led proposal and it listened to the concerns of the councillors and community members raised from the previous motion.

It includes quarantining up to 5 per cent of the proceeds of any sale as a matched developer contribution for the protection and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage on the areas.

The motion was moved by Cr Wayne Johnson and seconded by Deputy Mayor Kirsty Dellar and was supported unanimously around the table.

Cr Johnson said the motion gave the City the chance to gauge the interest in the area from more than just developers, with small operators, large operators and builders all able to express interest.

He said Cr Nardia Turner had also brought up the possibility of the City developing the site in its own right and pointed to similar success in the O’Connor subdivision.

“I can see the benefits … collaborative working with the Aboriginal groups, I see that local companies can get a bite of the cherry into this as well … and I can see council taking on … an active role and that active role being maybe as a developer, or maybe not,” he said.

Cr Terrence Winner said while the motion was a “tough one” for him to work through, he was supportive of the opportunity to have long-lasting recognition around Aboriginal culture and heritage proposed for the area among any other development.

With 5 per cent of the proceeds of the sale set to be quarantined and matched by any developer, Cr Winner said the sale could result in up to $1m being put into the preservation and recognition of the cultural significance of the land.