Consultation on modern Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill begins

Consultation on modern Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill begins
Wednesday 2 September 2020

The draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 reflects the feedback of Aboriginal people across the State, industry and stakeholders.

Aboriginal people will be empowered to make agreements and negotiate outcomes in relation to activities that may impact their cultural heritage under new laws proposed by the McGowan Government.

The draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 reflects the feedback of Aboriginal people across the State, industry and stakeholders gathered over two years of consultation.

The Bill addresses the shortcomings of the antiquated Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 and removes the controversial Section 18 process that doesn’t give Aboriginal voices the opportunity to be heard.

A new approach to protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage focuses on agreement making and establishes a tiered approvals system that considers the proposed land use and the level of potential heritage impact.

The Bill reflects contemporary Aboriginal cultural heritage management principles and practices and includes:

  • early engagement and meaningful consultation with Aboriginal people in the identification, management and protection of their cultural heritage
  • a new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council to facilitate agreements between Aboriginal people and proponents, and provide advice and strategic oversight to the Minister on management of Aboriginal heritage
  • the creation of local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services to ensure the right people speak for country and make agreements regarding their cultural heritage
  • introduce measures to address unauthorised impacts and provide for new offences and penalties (up to $10 million); and
  • improve transparency in decision-making with reasons for decisions to be published and the same rights of appeal available to Aboriginal people and land users.

Over the coming weeks, briefings will be held with Aboriginal groups and industry stakeholders. Information sessions will also be held from September 21, 2020 in communities across the State.

Find out more on the Review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 web page.

Read the media statement.

Page last reviewed 2 September 2020
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