Minister admits storage facility for priceless Aboriginal artefacts is “unacceptable”


The Weatherill Labor Government has conceded that the storage facility in which our Museum’s irreplaceable collection of Aboriginal cultural artefacts is kept is of an “unacceptable” standard.
 
Mr David Rathman, Chair of the South Australian Museum’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, publicly expressed concerns last week that priceless Aboriginal artefacts have been damaged both by vermin and by eight separate flooding events in recent times.
 
The most recent damage to some of the collection allegedly occurred after the site’s sprinkler system went off following a fire alarm. There are tens of thousands of items kept at the storage facility.
 
In response to questions in Parliament last week to Arts Minister Jack Snelling, who is the Minister responsible for the Museum, Minister Snelling confirmed:
 
“Of course, in the current facility we cannot protect against issues regarding insect infestation, but we are certainly looking at what might be other options, and we certainly recognise that, in the medium term, the continued keeping of that collection at the present site is unacceptable.”
 
“The South Australian Museum’s collection of Aboriginal heritage items is a treasure of world significance, and inestimable importance to our Aboriginal community as well as the broader South Australian community,” said Shadow Arts Minister John Gardner.
 
“Given the concerns that have been raised, it is very important that the Government provides the community with reassurance that they have plans in place to ensure that no more priceless items of our most important cultural heritage are put in jeopardy.
 
“The Minister has admitted that the current facility is unacceptable, and that its preservation is his ‘number 1 priority’.  Now we need the Government to commit to a solution before any more items are damaged.”