Overview

An overview of the operation of the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement.

Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement

The Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement (NSHA) was negotiated by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, the Noongar Agreement Groups and the WA Government to ensure compliance with the Act and Regulations when a planned use activity may adversely impact an Aboriginal site. The NSHA provides:

  • a uniform and efficient approach to the conduct of Aboriginal heritage surveys
  • streamlined land approvals in compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 and Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 1974
  • consistency with the WA Government's Aboriginal Heritage Due Diligence Guidelines 
  • all parties with a clear, timetabled framework about their various obligations
  • a process to ensure the submission of relevant site or Aboriginal object information for inclusion on the Aboriginal Heritage Inquiry System.

Operation of the NSHA

From 8 June 2015 (Execution of the ILUAs) the NSHA must be entered into by WA Government land users when an Aboriginal heritage survey is required in the Settlement Area and a pre-existing heritage agreement does not already exist.

The NSHA defines an Aboriginal heritage survey as a:

"survey conducted to assess the potential impacts of Activities on Aboriginal Heritage, whether or not conducted under this NSHA and may include anthropological, ethnographic or archaeological investigations as appropriate".

An Aboriginal heritage survey may be required because of a planned ground-disturbing activity, development or other land use activity that may impact Aboriginal heritage.

Noongar people can contact the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council for further information and involvement with the NSHA and Aboriginal heritage surveys.

Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 and the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement

The WA Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (AHA) and Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 1974 (AHR) were enacted to protect and preserve Aboriginal sites. Anyone who excavates, destroys, damages, conceals or in any way alters any Aboriginal site commits an offence under Section 17 of the AHA, unless he or she acts with the authorisation of the Registrar of Aboriginal Sites (Registrar) under Section 16 or the consent of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs (Minister) under Section 18.

The Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement  (Annexure C of the ILUAs) was negotiated by South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, the Noongar Agreements Groups and the WA Government to ensure compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act and Regulations.

The NSHA was primarily developed for use by the WA Government and industry, however other land users are encouraged to consider using the NSHA if their planned activity is within the Settlement Area and presents a potential impact to Aboriginal heritage. All land users who wish to use land for a purpose which might constitute an offence under section 17 of the AHA must exercise due diligence in trying to establish if their proposed activity on a specified area may damage or destroy an Aboriginal site.

Page last reviewed 22 November 2018
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