Residents Kevin Slabb, Sharon Phillips, Aunty Joyce and Jackie McDonald at the cemetery.
Residents Kevin Slabb, Sharon Phillips, Aunty Joyce and Jackie McDonald at the cemetery. Blainey Woodham

Calls to punish racist vandals

THE fallout continues following the racial vandalism of an Aboriginal cemetery at Fingal Head on Tuesday.

Tweed Shire Council cleaned the "white power" message and swastikas from the site on Wednesday, but the anger it caused will not easily go away.

Community groups and politicians have condemned the action.

Fingal Head Residents Association president Dawn Walker said the community was shocked.

"The community is devastated that this sort of thing could happen in Fingal," Ms Walker said.

"We have generations of families whose relatives were in the cemetery and they said this has never happened before.

"This really struck at the core of what we hold dear.

"You disrespect one of us, you disrespect us all."

NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Victor Dominello said the attack on Fingal Cemetery was "abhorrent and reprehensible".

"In particular, any racist attack on a site that is the designated final resting place for people of any culture or heritage is disgusting and sickening.

"I stand with the families concerned and the local Aboriginal community in condemning those who may be responsible for this incident.

"I have contacted my colleague, the Minister for Police Michael Gallacher, and I am informed that the NSW Police have moved quickly to investigate the incident.

"NSW is a respectful and tolerant society and those responsible for such attacks must face the full force of the law.

"Aboriginal people across the state are no doubt profoundly dismayed by this event. We share their hurt and outrage."

In NSW's Legislative Council on Thursday MLC Walt Secord condemned the attack and called for harsher penalties for "racist graffiti".

"I would like to see NSW become the first State in Australia to have such an offence on the books," Mr Secord said.

"Daubing a racist slogan on a temple, church, synagogue, mosque or an Aboriginal sacred site is not expression, it is an outright offence - and has no place in this nation.

"It is simply disgusting."

Richmond MP Justine Elliot, who lives in Fingal Head, said she was "absolutely disgusted" by the racial graffiti and the damage caused to the memorial stones.

"Our community will not stand for these disrespectful acts," Mrs Elliot said.

A Tweed Police spokesman said investigations were continuing into the Tuesday morning attack on the Aboriginal burial site on Letitia Rd.

According to police, the vandalism occurred sometime between 7.30am and 9.30am.

Anyone with information about the graffiti at Fingal Cemetery should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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