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Aboriginal bone theft under investigation

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 7 April 2005

Queensland's first investigation into an alleged theft of Aboriginal bones and coffins is under way.

The Department of Natural Resources cultural heritage unit is investigating claims a former ranger and anthropologist hid ancient human remains belonging to the Bidjara people from Carnarvon, in Queensland's central west.

If the department recommends criminal charges the man will be the first person to be prosecuted under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act, which came into force last year.

Paul Travers, who will be investigating the allegations, says the man faces a maximum fine of $15,000.

"Amongst other things it provides that its an offence to possess ancient Aboriginal human remains, anybody holding those remains should take all reasonable steps to ensure that their taken into the custody of the department as soon as practicable," he said.

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