Another fund-seeking beat-up
This item says more about the pitiful state of aboriginal archaeology in Australia and the agendas of several participants than about the actual find.
Amongst archaeologists and prehistorians, the fundamental, unstated competition is to find the earliest example of something. To date, Australian archaeologists working in the aboriginal/Pacific island field have suffered from a massive chip on their collective shoulder because the archaeologists working in the 'Old World' of the Near East seemed to have all the earliest cool stuff- stone tool technology, pottery, agriculture, complex social systems and cities etc. So the local lads jump at any chance to claim a first, hence this claim about the earliest groundstone blade, and also the unfounded but vocal speculation by some Oz astronomers that the aboriginals were the 'world's first astronomers' (we can talk about that gem another time). The Jarwoyn people also have an interest in claiming such a first. One-upmanship exists among aboriginal groups too.
Grinding stone is not as important in itself, as it is for signaling use of the technological process and the potential for social development- if people are grinding stone, ochre etc, then grinding grain etc is within reach, so we have a prerequisite for agriculture. Problem is, there's no evidence that the local indigenes took this grinding any further. They remained hunter-gatherers, grinding wild grains when they were available, as hunter gatherers the world over tend to do. In any case, flaked stone tool technology, because it produces really sharp edges, is more significant for social development- think of grain harvesting sickles, for a start. Also consider the time factor- how long would it take to hand-grind a blade compared to making a blade by flaking? And how long will the blade last?
So, it's interesting, but not a world-shaker. Nevertheless, the publicity will be timely and useful when writing up the funding application to the Australian Research Council.