ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has said a proposed development on a possible Indigenous sacred site at the base of Mount Ainslie should not be granted application approval until further assessments have been undertaken on the site's cultural significance.
Mr Barr has sent a letter to federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley calling for the National Capital Authority to seek further information about the claims of Aboriginal cultural significance on the site.
"I have been made aware of claims of Aboriginal cultural significance on the site, and it has been stated that these claims may not have been fully investigated as part of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act approval process," Mr Barr wrote.
"As the site is on national land, and therefore not subject to ACT government approvals or authorisations, the ACT is not privy to the full suite of assessments that have been undertaken to support the original assessment of the proposal."
In a statement, the developer said it was not required to consult about the site's Indigenous cultural heritage as this had been dealt with prior to the developer purchasing the site in 2016.
But no local Aboriginal organisations or elders have been consulted on the site and Mr Barr has called for this.
"I further seek your confirmation that an additional assessment of Aboriginal cultural significance, in consultation with relevant representative Aboriginal organisations, be undertaken on the site," he wrote.
"Given the importance of this matter, it is the view of the ACT government that development approvals should not be granted until this work is undertaken and resolved."
In a statement to The Canberra Times, Ms Ley said she had instructed the Department of the Environment to review the heritage claims as new information and to consult all parties.
"The information regarding Indigenous heritage in [the] media was not submitted as part of the environmental assessment process," she said.
"The NCA is yet to provide approval for the project and we will consult with them in the process."